Guest columnists and contributors are generously sharing their talents and insights while I’m taking some time to care for my new baby. Today’s post comes from Michelle Yoon who blogs at “through the saving glass.”
With frightening unemployment rates, a crumbling stock market, and Steve Jobs leaving Apple, the economy is in a scary place. Yet, a dieting bank account doesn’t have to mean a lackluster dating life, and budget constraints sometimes unleash the greatest creativity. Here are five frugal date ideas that aren’t lame and go beyond the usual “rent a movie” cheap date idea suggestion.
1. Cook dinner in… Iron Chef style.
Making dinner can get pricey, especially if you’re trying out a recipe that requires exotic spices you’ll most likely never use again. Instead, have an Iron Chef-inspired showdown in your rendition of Kitchen Stadium. The idea is that each person cooks a dish, but only uses the ingredients in his or her cupboard. It costs no money, and it’s a great way to get rid of the chicken thighs buried in the back of your freezer. Who knows? Maybe pairing Ramen noodles with Dijon mustard and breadcrumbs will be a pleasant culinary surprise.
2. Stage a couples photo shoot.
Gone are the days of couples in uniform outfits posing on the beach to showcase their undying love. Instead, try coming up with a fun story, dig up props from the garage, find costumes from your closet, and bring a friend who has a digital camera. This zombie engagement shoot is proof that couples photos don’t have to be lame.
3. Plan a garage sale.
Most people have a steadily growing inventory of useless crap: the H&M dress you bought for a bachelorette party two years ago; magazines of yesteryear; remnants of potential hobbies that never came into fruition (tap dancing, badminton, knitting anyone?). Gather all your stuff and organize a garage sale with your honey. (FYI: Actual garage not needed). Make posters, spread the word online, and become entrepreneurs for a day. Who says you need to spend money on dates? Make money on yours.
4. Make care packages.
With the holidays just around the corner, what’s sexier than spreading some cheer to strangers around the globe? Stop by your local dollar shops and grocery stores to amass everyday goodies like candy, magazines, and small toys, and make care packages for children in third-world countries or soldiers stationed abroad. Try Operation Christmas Child to fill shoe boxes for a child, or Any Soldier and Give 2 The Troops for soldiers.
5. Host a game night.
Ah, remember the days of Monopoly, Super Mario Brothers, and Hungry Hungry Hippos? Bring out those old Nintendos and Jengas (if you haven’t sold them on ebay yet), and relive the last few decades. Or try poker, Scrabble, Taboo, etc. There’s nothing that ignites the amorous competitive spirit as much as trying to figure out if Colonel Mustard did it in the billiard room with the candlestick!
* Originally from Seoul, Korea, Michelle Yoon migrated to the not-so-dirty south for college. In between perfecting her fake southern drawl and late-night runs to Waffle House, she nabbed a degree in English and Women’s Studies. Her interests include quoting incessantly from Forrest Gump, hoarding Sour Patch Kids, and daydreaming about Roger Federer. Michelle blogs at “through the saving glass.”