Everybody around you is talking about the recession. You heard through the grapevine that your company is planning to do another retrench exercise. It’s time to tighten up on your spending. As you know, dating is about impressing.

So how do you cut down on your spending, and yet not come across as a cheap date? Here are 6 creative date ideas that you can implement to recession-proof your dating!

1)      Play tourist: Tired of the same old hangouts? Always going to the shopping centres for coffee or dinner? Break the routine. It’s time to play tourist. Grab a copy of the local map, and go off the beaten track. Bring your camera along and take lots of photos of what you see and of each other!

2)      Be a volunteer: When you give, you will receive. What better ways to impress your date by showing her that you have a BIG heart? Look out some local charities and see how you can help out. If both of you are animal lovers, head down to SPCA and help them out for a day. Or you could visit an old folks’ home to bring some cheer to the elderly folks. Take this opportunity to get to know your date better, as you see their compassionate side.

3)      Visit the flea markets: Women love to shop! Offer to drive your date to one of the flea markets in town, and spend time exploring the various booths with her. She will be really impressed to finally meet a guy who is willing to shop with her!

4)      Move that dinner date to picnic under the stars: Rather than the boring (not to mention expensive) dinner date, move it one notch up by dining under the stars! Romance her with your prepared picnic basket of champagne and strawberries. Do remember to bring along insect repellent to keep the mozzies away.

5)      Cook up a storm: They used to say, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” In today’s world, I think the same applies for women as well. Rather than pay hundreds of dollars for a 3 course dinner, why not cook your own dinner? Your date will definitely be touched by your culinary efforts.

6)      Watch the sunset together: Stroll down the beach together, hand in hand. It’s beautiful. It’s romantic. It’s sweet. And most importantly, it’s free.

The key here is to be creative and innovative. Put some thought into it, and think of something that you’ll both enjoy doing. The more personalized the experience, the better it is. The great thing about being on a budget is that you are forced to think out of the box, and this will make the date a unique experience! And when it is an all new experience for her, it would make the date, and you, more memorable!

Happy dating!

(Note: First appeared in New Man Malaysia Oct 2009)

Extra link for the brave ones: Poppers Amazon.