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Plan the perfect date on a budget.

It’s date night and, while you want to show your sweetheart a good time, you also want to show your wallet some love. So how do you strike a balance between fun and frugal?

Whether you want to make a great first impression with someone new, or enjoy a night out with your longtime love, the important thing is to focus on how you’ll spend your time together, not how you’ll spend your money.

Check out these 10 budget-friendly date ideas that are high on romance and low on cost:

For sports enthusiasts

  • Sweat it out: Exercise isn’t just good for your health — it can be good for your love life, too. So go for a run, bike ride or hike, or if the weather cooperates, skating or sledding. It’s an inexpensive (or free!) date that’s sure to get your hearts racing.
  • Have a rocky romance: Rock climbing can get your adrenaline pumping, which in turn may send sparks flying. It’s a perfect activity for two because one person spots the other, which builds trust and may bring you closer. You can find indoor rock-climbing facilities across the country, and get high on romance for as little as $20 for a day pass.

For a little friendly competition

  • Bowl a perfect strike: Bowling brings out your inner child, while also adding a little old-school romance. Rates will vary depending on day and time, but many facilities charge $25 and up for a lane, which may include a pair of rental shoes. Plus, many lanes will offer deals, coupons and discounted rates at certain hours.
  • Putt-putt for love: Mini golf is as fun for adults as it is for kids. If you want to set a romantic mood, try glow-in-the-dark mini golf. There are lots of great outdoor and indoor mini golf places across the country, and most cost as little as $6 – $10 per adult.

For the cultured couple

  • Master the art of dating: Strolling hand-in-hand through an art gallery or a museum can be an incredibly romantic way to spend an afternoon or evening. Many galleries charge around $20 per adult, and will often offer discounted or even free admission on certain days, so check websites for special deals before you go.
     
    Tip: If you need to brush up on your knowledge, visit a virtual museum first.
     
  • Put on an act: You and your date can enjoy great theatre at a fraction of the cost by checking out local venues or plays in the park. You can find tickets for as low as $20 if you’re willing to forego the best seats, and some productions, such as Shakespeare in High Park in Toronto, simply ask you to pay what you can by making a small donation.

For the foodies

  • Get cooking: By dining in, you can save money, lighten the mood and heat up the kitchen. Start by browsing cooking sites for the perfect date-night recipes, make a list and start your date at the grocery store. If you want to hone your culinary skills, consider taking a cooking class together. Loblaw’s President’s Choice®* Cooking School offers a variety of themed cooking classes at locations across the country for just $35 a class.
  • Hit up food festivals: Nothing brings people together quite like food. There are many great food and wine festivals across the country year-round, with focuses changing based on seasons, locations and local harvests. It’s a fun way to spend quality time together without taking a big bite out of your bank account.

For the young at heart

  • Find animal magnetism at the zoo: It’s not just for kids. The fun you’ll have is worth the price of admission, which shouldn’t be steep — especially if you go on a discounted or free day. Start by checking out the top 10 zoos in Canada.
  • Be a little picky: Local produce can make for a fresh date idea. Apple or strawberry picking (depending on what’s in season) can be a labour of love. Head to a local farmer’s market or nearby orchard for a fun, inexpensive excursion. All you need is some fresh local foods, good company and great conversation.

 
If all goes well, find out how you can Say “I do!” for less, or read up on 7 ways to save as a wedding guest.
 
 
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