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Cheap Date Tips and Ideas

Recession-proof your love life with these inexpensive and romantic date night alternatives

Out: Amusement and game arcades.
In: Board games, playing cards, badminton, croquet and other family entertainment using equipment you probably already have hiding in your closets and garage.

Out: Expensive sightseeing tours.
In: Self-guided walking tours. Contact the local chambers of commerce wherever you go. Many have free maps for area walking tours.

Out: Clubs with cover charges.
In: Free amateur nights at clubs and poetry readings at coffeehouses. They can be a lot more entertaining than the pros.

Out: Workout dates at the gym.
In: Romantic walks and bike rides in your own neighborhood.

Out: Carryout dinner and a rented video.
In: Slow-cooker dinner made at home and a video borrowed for free from the library.

Out: Caribbean cruises.
In: Local canoe, kayak or paddleboat rentals.

Out: Full-priced dinners and drinks at a restaurant.
In: Two-for-one and other restaurant deals available via coupons or customer loyalty programs.

Out: Mall shopping.
In: Mall walking while window-shopping.

Out: Lattes while shopping at the bookstore.
In: Coffee at home with books borrowed from the library. It's more relaxing, too.

Out: Greens fees at the golf course.
In: A putting and chipping contest in the backyard.

Out: Fly/drive getaway weekends and fancy hotels.
In: Hike/bike getaway weekends and camping out.

If you're still not convinced that cheap can be fun and romantic — and maybe even sexy — prepare to take solace. I saved the best news for last: In the survey by ING Direct about which words people associate with dating someone who's "frugal," the most popular answer by a wide margin (49 percent) was "smart."

Jeff Yeager is the author of The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches and The Cheapskate Next Door. His website is www.UltimateCheapskate.com and you can friend him on Facebook at JeffYeagerUltimateCheapskate or follow him on Twitter.

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