5 Money-Saving (But Fun!) Summer Dates

If you’re single like me, you know dating has its seasons. And summer is a great time to look for love while also keeping an eye on your wallet.

That’s because summer offers some unique dating opportunities, and it’s a traditionally lazy time – especially after July 1, which is the end of the fiscal year for many professionals. So don’t be boring and offer a dinner and a movie. Be creative and research what’s available near you for little or even no cost…

1. Let your city take care of it

Municipalities often entertain their residents for free, especially over the summer – mostly free concerts but also free dance lessons and more. Your city should have an events calendar with details, whether it’s Chicago or Broward County, Fla. Find yours by using this very complicated Google formula that we’ve devised for you: “[City or county name] + calendar of events.”

2. Get some exercise

Stroll the nearby wilderness together at a local nature preserve or park (but if you’re thinking about a serious hike, follow these summer hiking safety tips). If you’re more comfortable hanging out first among friends, reserve a field for a pickup game of softball or soccer. Don’t know where to go? Look up your city’s Parks and Recreation Department website for ideas. St. Louis, for example, breaks down where you can go for different types of sports, from archery to football.

3. Sit under the stars

Hey, it’s summer. Grab a $10 bottle of wine and sit outside with your date under the stars, staring at the natural (or, if you live in a big city, man-made) beauty of the night. This is a good time to steal that first kiss, especially under a full moon.

Worried that inexpensive wine might ruin your image? We looked into that in No Economic Hangover Here: We’re Spending More on Booze. Turns out price has little to do with how much she/he will enjoy the wine…

Of Wine.com’s list of its top-selling wines of 2010, the top two – Stump Jump Shiraz 2008 and Cristalino Brut Cava – cost less than $10 a bottle. And only two in the top 10 cost more than $20 a bottle.

4. Drip drop

Do you live by any body of water? Those tend to glisten at night under the stars and during the day under the sun. In other words, they’re pretty. Take your date and lose yourself in the hypnotizing effects of reflective water. It shouldn’t be too hard to find public access to these either, and they’re always free.

5. Bark!

Do you and the object of your affection have dogs? Take them for a walk together or to a dog-friendly park. To find your local dog park, just search for it on your city’s website – some even have entire sites devoted to their dog parks, like New Orleans. And don’t forget to bring bags to pick up after you pet. Nothing is more unattractive than a dog-owner who doesn’t.

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