When it comes to first dates, there are a few obvious no-no's. Don't pull out a wad of coupons. Never pay the tab with rolled quarters. And don't expect the girl to pay her own way. While you had a quick shower and shave, gargled a mouthful of Listerine, and put on a clean shirt, she has likely had her hair done, gel nails applied, bought a new outfit, and the shoes to match. So, unless your date shows up in a pair of sweats with a gnarly case of bed head and broken nails, going "Dutch" on a first date is forbidden.
So how can a man of limited means devise an inexpensive dating experience without appearing cheap? It is easier than you might think.
1. Be her Mr. Thoughtful
It doesn't take a whole lot of ingenuity or romantic sensibility to shower a woman with lobster and caviar. All you need is room on your credit card--and women know this. Women are much more impressed by a man's ability to create a unique experience focussed on her and the things that make her the happiest.
Find out as much as you can about her hobbies and interests before the big date and design a date around one of those. If she loves baseball, take her to a game. Rather than fork over big bucks for a Major League game, opt for tickets to see one of the team's Triple-A Minor League affiliates for a fraction of the price. If she's a bibliophile, you can take her to a book signing or a charming old book shop. Not only will you devise a one-of-a-kind dating experience without breaking the bank, but you will likely dazzle her with your thoughtful side.
2. Be her Mr. Attentive
The whole point of a first date is to get to know one another better--and women love a man who listens. If you want to impress the girl seated across from you, ask her questions about herself, listen attentively to her response, and show her that you are genuinely interested in her as a person. This will win you huge points--and being attentive doesn't cost you a cent.
3. Be her Mr. Lunch or Mr. Brunch
Dinner is the most expensive meal of the day. Factor in the wine, appetizer, and dessert, and you can no longer afford this month's car payment. Plus, the evening meal is fraught with pressure.
Opt, instead, for the casual comfort of the breakfast, brunch, or lunch--three much more budget-friendly dining choices. If you really enjoy one another's company, these "early in the day" options allow you to spend more time together going for a walk, visiting the farmer's market, or watching the buskers in the park. And, no matter how good that order of waffles and Canadian bacon tastes, refrain from requesting a doggie bag on the first date.
4. Be her Mr. Resourceful
Online coupon sites offer great deals on tickets to special events, classes, tours, and top-notch restaurants. Check out what social coupon sites like Living Social or Groupon have available in your area and you may just find the perfect option for your upcoming first date. Just remember to choose an option that will allow you to use a discount without your date being aware of this fact.
5. Be her Mr. Prepared
A great way to date without breaking the budget is to budget for dates in the first place. If possible, maintain a personal budget for dating by including an allotment for dating within your entertainment budget.