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Great Dates that Don’t Break the Bank

Since the guy usually pays (Who Pays on a First Date) it’s only fair to offer some inexpensive date ideas so he doesn’t go broke.  (The woman could also offer to contribute by bringing the picnic or snacks.)  So, here are some of my favorite low-key dates.
Coffee makes a great first date.  It’s quick.  It’s casual.  And it’s pretty low-stress.   There are other people around, which is important in the beginning.  And you still have a chance to talk and get to know each other.
A Hike
Once you know each other better, a hike can be really nice.   You can pack a picnic or bring some some snacks to share.  You’ll have each other’s undivided attention.  There’s lots of time to talk.   And there’s often an opportunity for chivalry.  I fell in love when my husband carried my small dog over a stream on our third date.
A Walk by the Water 
If you live near a lake or the ocean, it’s very romantic to walk by the water.  You can hold hands and chat.  You’re out in nature.  And there’s usually someplace to grab something to eat or drink.
Local museums can be really nice.  You walk around together and “ooh” and “ahh” at the art.  You get to see each others’ different interests and tastes.  Sometimes, there’s mini-movies or interactive exhibits.  And there’s usually an inexpensive place that has pretty good food.
Live Music – Coffee House
Some coffee houses have live music on the weekends.  It can be a little noisy.  But, it’s a relaxing way to hang out together and talk between sets in a low-key setting.  The music gives you something new to talk about. And if you want to talk while the music’s going, you have to lean in close.
Concert in the Park
A lot of towns have free concerts in the park during the summer.  You can bring your lawn chairs or blanket and a picnic if you want.  It’s a nice way to get outdoors and be with people and still be together.  There are usually listings on the city’s website with dates for the different types of music (ie. oldies, swing, rock, pop, jazz)
“Old Town.”
Does a local town have a downtown or main street that’s kind of cool?  These are great places to window shop, hang out at a bookstore and grab a cup of coffee.  You get to see which book section they like?  Is he a motorcycle magazine guy?  Does she prefer self-help or relationships?  Do you both gravitate toward the travel section?
What’s important is —  choosing something you’ll both enjoy, where you can get to know each other better, to see if you like being together!

Vonda (“Vondie”) Lozano, Ph.D., is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Hypnotherapist. She’s been featured in Cosmopolitan, the Wall Street Journal and on KABC Talk Radio. Vondie offers hypnosis, counseling, and workshops in Ventura. Nearby cities include Camarillo, Ojai and Oxnard.

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