Who says you have to be rich to plan a perfect night out with your sweetie? The next time you're feeling romantic, pick from one of these cheap and fun date ideas. You'll only need a little bit of cash (and maybe a little bit of love) to have a great time.
1. Make Dinner Together
If you've got time, start this date out at the grocery store. Pick up dinner fixings, then go back to one of your houses to prepare and eat. Spending time in the kitchen together is a great way to get to know each other - and if the dinner actually turns out good, that's just icing on the cake. Plus, if your parents are home, this is a slick way of showing them what a good, wholesome couple you are.
2. Go for a Bike Ride
Biking's a cheap, fun way to get your adrenaline pumping, and it's great for shy people because there's no pressure to talk the whole time. Pick a pretty route along a lake or hiking path, or just a quiet residential area by you. Plan it so you end up at an ice cream shop or lunch spot so you can cool off and chat a little.
3. Sing Karaoke
Once you've done karaoke in front of someone, there's really nothing left to hide. Check to see if there are any karaoke nights in your city that allow teens. If there aren't, pick up a copy of Karaoke Revolution American Idol - it'll set you back less than 30 bucks (including microphones).
4. Check Out a Weird Museum
Sure, every town has an art museum - but where's the fun in that? Oddball museums are way more likely to kick-start a conversation. Plus, lots of museums offer free admission on certain weekdays. Check your city guide to see if there's anything fun in your area, like:
5. Go Bowling
Bowling's an underrated sport. You can do it in all kinds of weather, you don't have to be all that athletic, you barely sweat and if you show up late enough on weekends, there are colored lights and kitschy music. (Plus, how funky are those shoes?) And if you're terrible at bowling, the ego boost you'll give your date will just make them like you more.
6. Have a Picnic in the Park
Throw some sandwiches, cookies and sodas into a bag (or get more sophisticated with some prepared snacks from Whole Foods), head to the park and lay down a blanket in a shady spot. Don't forget to bring stuff to do when you're done eating. My top picks: flying a kite, playing jai alai (easier and more fun, in my humble opinion, than frisbee), playing one-on-one basketball or just people-watching.
7. Play Miniature Golf
After all these years, is there really anything more fun than putt-putt? It's the classic cutesy first date for a good reason: it's competitive but too whimsical to take seriously, you're surrounded by people having fun, and the snacks for sale nearby (pizza, milk shakes and chili cheese fries) are cheap and perfect for sharing.
8. Go for a Nature Walk
Pick a pretty place in your town: maybe there's a beach, a path through the woods, a mountain trail or an arboretum. If you're not sure where to go, check your city guide. Bring some light snacks from home and take a nice, slow-paced walk, enjoying the scenery together. If you want to make it more interesting, bring a camera and see who can take the best pictures, or make it an earth-saving mission and collect trash along the way.
9. Have a Board Game Night
Board games bring out the competitive edge in people, which makes them perfect for that flirty ribbing that powers first dates. The best board games are made for more than two people, so consider making this one a double date. My all-time favorite date games:
10. Go to a Roller Rink
Even if you're only a so-so skater, a roller skate date is almost always a winner. First of all, it's romantic: hand-holding is totally inevitable, especially if one of you isn't so hot on your feet. Second of all, with the high speeds and constant threat of collisions with 7-year-olds getting your adrenaline pumping, you'll both have an unforgettable blast.