Don't have a lot of money but still want to impress? Well I think it's not always the thought that counts but the effort and there are a lot of things that can be done on a tight budget and a little ingenuity. Remember that making a date with the apple of your eye, even if it's a long term thing is the same as making a date for a business meeting, you must be present and bring your A game. All these suggestions work best as surprises.
1 Your Favourite Busker
I know, I know, sometimes there is nothing more annoying than buskers but I bet you all have that one guy or gal that impresses you every time. Go up to them and ask when and where they will be performing. If you feel financial ask if you can offer them something extra to play a special song or dedicate it to your lover. Take a nice bottle of wine and some pizza or fruit and water even and surprise your partner with an afternoon or evening session watching your favourite busker. If you are an exhibitionist and you think your partner will enjoy it, take some deck chairs and set up a spot. You don't have to sit in front of the performer, just out of the way somewhere you can see and hear and have a little smooch when the love overflows. Don't forget to tip your busker generously and I bet it's far cheaper than a show, movie or restaurant dinner.
2 Home Cinema This not suggesting pj's and whatever is on TV! Even though some relationship time can be very well spent this way, it is not a date. To make it special, borrow a movie, my suggestion is something they have mentioned they wanted to see or a favourite movie from your childhood that you want to share with them. Clean the house, make sure you've got good lighting, and get dressed up. A snack bar can be effectively created on very little. Popping corn that you do the old fashioned way on the stove is really cheap, not to mention much more delicious than microwave popcorn and you can create sweet and savour flavours all from one packet. Fruit is better and less expensive than lollies and for an adult treat open a whole tub of vanilla ice cream and pour sweet liquor over the top.
3 Night Picnic This can be done at a park, in the backyard or even in the house. The essentials are a rug and candles. Tealights are cheap and often come in their own holders, check out Ikea. Multiples of anything is good, cushions, candles, pot plants, etc. The food is less important than the set up; the most important thing is that you are prepared. Have something to eat and something to drink it can be a simple as fried rice and green tea.
4 Get Snap Happy Create some memorable romantic moments and have a visual reminder to keep forever. Get your partner to dress in something they look great in and you get dressed up too, you both may however need some sensible shoes as well. Go for a drive to somewhere remote and picturesque, a conservation park, reserve or plantation. Take your camera and set up some shots of them looking gorgeous. This will focus all your attention on each other in a positive way and give you something to look back on literally and mentally. If you don't know much about photos brush up on your skills by reading some free downloads or go to the library. There's nothing like discovering a hidden talent in your partner to make you warm to them even more. If you are city bound then abandoned buildings or construction sites make great backdrops although I strongly encourage you NOT to enter a dangerous area, nothing like getting told off or breaking a limb to ruin the romance.
5 Storytelling This one is completely free. There are a few ways you can approach this. Traditional storytelling is always a winner and you can choose whatever literature you like. Read an old favourite, something you both like but haven't read yet, these dates can go on for months if you are using a novel and going through chapters like a TV show. You can read fairytales or the Karma Sutra, you can take the book or iPad anywhere you like or both jump into bed for the old school story time feel. If you are not a reader then ask a librarian for suggestions or your geeky, bookworm friend. The second way you can approach this is a story swapping night. Come prepared with a few tales from your past, things that are memorable, funny, sad, whatever and take turns in swapping tall tales from the history of you.
Ugh! Are you serious? I've been on many a "cheap date" and although the guy tries to dress it up as "romantic quirky" I know it's a cheap cop-out. Even worse, it sets the tone for all of your dates so be prepared NOT to be spoiled or treated like a Princess - EVER!!
Great ideas! For those of us who have been in a relations ship for many years it is not about the money, we can make or buy a dinner anytime. The effort that is put into these ideas shows your love - well done!