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These are great quick date ideas for maximizing fun and frugality. Some are even free! Usually the more cost-effective a date is, the more quality time you spend together. Expensive dates tend to have distractions and attractions that take time away from you and your mate and focus more on the things you are paying for.

Is it really worth it? Sometimes, but often it’s not.

The dates below are great ways to save money and spend time together. Some of them involve using things you already have, like fuel in your car, food in the cabinets or other things at home, but the point is that you should be able to do these dates without coming more than $10 out-of-pocket.

1. Low-Rollers

Average cost: $0-$10

This is also known as the “spend as little as possible” date. On this date, you will be the opposite of a high-roller; you will be a low-roller. The goal is to do as much as possible, while spending as little as possible. You can find great coupons and gift certificates online at places like restaurant.com and groupon.com. Use gift certificates that you may already have. Opt for the free things that allow you to spend quality time together, such as walks, hiking, house hunting (unless you actually buy a house, then it turns into a high-roller date!) or looking at Christmas lights. You will find that this is often times more fun than expensive dates.

2. Dollar Date

Average cost: $2-$10

Lest we forget the dollar movie theaters. They are still very much alive in many towns and if you have one, you should use it! I’ll admit that movies aren’t the best dates for interacting with your date, but occasionally I think it’s a good idea. Dinner and a movie? Make dinner at home with things you already have. Use coupons and gift certificates to make you meal as cheap as possible.

3. The Frugal Photographer

Average cost: Free

This seems to be a popular idea, but that’s because it’s a great idea! Find a great location, or two, or three! As many as you want, really. Take a camera and take pictures together. You can take pictures of nature, each other or old structures downtown. You can save the pictures and later have them framed for the memories. This is a really great way to spend time together and keep some of the memories. It’s also great for a picnic if you go somewhere scenic!

4. The Aluminum Chef

Average cost: Free

Maybe we can’t afford to be The Iron Chef for under $10, but we can be The Aluminum Chef. This one is simple. Cook together! Use things you already have at home and make a full meal. This works great for just the two of you or the whole family. Make an appetizer to eat while the main course is cooking, then make a desert! Cooking together is a great way to spend quality time with each other and create a wonderful free (or, at least, already paid for) meal. This is one of my personal favorite quick date ideas.

5. Game Night

Average cost: $0-$10

Playing games together is a great way to have fun, spend time together and save money! Pull out the board games or break out the Playstation. Either way, you are doing it together and that’s what makes it fun! For dinner you can buy a frozen pizza to cook while you are playing games. Just pretend like it’s delivery and if it’s Digiorno, it shouldn’t be hard to pretend.

Cheap dating is much easier when you are in agreement with your mate about saving money, but it can still be done without feeling cheap if you are the only one trying to save money.

Quit spending all of that money on dates and you can not only improve your wallet’s health, but improve your relationship’s health by spending quality time together. Remember, it’s not about the money, it’s about the memories!

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