Romance On A Budget

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Romance On A Budget
Cheap dates that keep love alive.

If Hollywood is to be believed, dating is a grandiose practice replete with lavish meals, fine wines, and front-row seats to the Broadway show (or opera or concert or art opening) of the season. For those of us who don't make millions, though, such refined romance is just that: the stuff of movies.

Living on a budget doesn't mean you have to sacrifice romance—just change how you envisage it. All that stuff Richard Gere and Julia Roberts do is quite nice, of course; but romance, which is simply the passionate affection that lovers feel for each other, can grow over steak au poivre in a fancy French bistro or a strawberries and sandwiches picnic in the park. What matters is not the money behind a rendezvous but the authentic desire to treat your special someone to something, well, special.

But we also recognize that you probably don't have time to reconceptualize the world around you and uncover romance where you least expect it. Luckily, YourTango exists for just that purpose. We've come up with dozens of one-off ideas that will foster romance with your special someone—without burning a hole in your pocket.

Find the Freebies. You can mimic that Hollywood-style date—for free—if you just know where to look. Check out your local arts weekly, for example. Parks often feature free music and theater series during the summer. You and your man can sway together to the sounds of a soul singer at a sunset concert in the park, or snuggle as you watch the repertoire theater's Saturday afternoon performance of A Streetcar Named Desire. Museums and galleries, too, host monthly open houses, which frequently include romance-inducing glasses of wine and high-end hors devours. And by getting dressed up to attend cultural events, you'll make the night feel special and distinctive, a million-dollar evening (and you're the only one who has to know it was free).

Next: Get more bang for your buck, take a "staycation" and more...

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