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Dating in the Recession: Tips for (and from) Brothers

Although President Obama says that the receission is almost over, times are hard. Everyone is pinching pennies and trying to make things stretch and meet. Especially during this holiday season, the recession can be especially tough. To make matters worse, dating during the recession (coupled with the holidays) makes things especially tough. But it doesn’t have to be that way at all. But trying to tell that to men is like talking to a brick wall.

Recently, I encountered a guy who was in a financial bind. He had been unemployed for some time. I found it strange that I had to pay for my own lunch or suggested any dates . Finally, when he asked to go out again for lunch, he refused to pay and even asked me to contribute my very LAST amount of cash to lunch. I was hurt. I felt like I wasn’t worth the time or effort. He later told me that he was quite ashamed for his behavior , apologized and said he was “barely” making it. I felt horrible yet understood.. Had he just been honest with me, I would have understand and together we could have thought of some really great, fun, inexpensive and creative things to do. Had he taken the time to know me he would realize that spending ample amounts of cash on a date doesn’t impress me. Just be open, first and foremost.

Since I’ve been divorced, I’ve been on very few dates. The number one complaint of most men is that dating is expensive. Yet the best dates I went on didn’t cost much. $1 sushi and a matinee…free tickets to a sporting event, etc. Women may appear to be hard to please but we really aren’t. We love spending time at home but we don’t want to be relegated to the house due to funds. There has to be a balance of going out and staying in. Any real woman worth her grain of salt would understand. In talking to my girlfriends we all said the same thing. All that is required of a great date is effort and creativity. We aren’t asking for much.

Some date ideas that would work during this recession include:

It takes very little effort to pick up a some take out and a movie. But make it a “theme” night: Pick up some Indian food and rent some Bollywood.

Look for free shows and openings. Often emerging and independent artist have shows that are discounted.
Window Shop and have an inexpensive lunch in the mall.

Get more bang for your buck. Find a place that has dinner and an activity (i.e. Dave and Buster’s or Andretti's)

Instead of taking her to lunch, try packing a picnic lunch and bringing it to her office.

Coffee and a bookstore! Browse the books and drink a simple mocha! Hmmmm!

Bring out the kid in your(or competitive nature) and take some retro games (Connect 4, Battleship, etc,) or get intellectual with a game of Scrabble or Trivia Pursuit. Wanna be naughty? Some “Naked Twister” would do the trick. :)

Is the weather bad outside? Do an indoor picnic, complete with candles from the dollar store.

Can’t afford a massage and spa day? Pick up some inexpensive supplies and give each other massages and spa treatments.

It’s the holidays and you can’t afford a gift. Make something! Make a card..make a meal and deliver it.

Try cooking a new and exciting dish together.

Take an inexpensive class. Dance classes can be $10 per visit. Cooking classes can be $20-50 per couple. Not too expensive at all.

Go to the super early matinee (before noon). Most of those movies are $5 and grab breakfast! VERY simple and inexpensive (or make breakfast….)

Want to try a new spot but the dinner menu seems pricey? See if they have a lunch menu or special. Better yet, look in your local “Savvy Shopper” and clip coupons for new restauraunts you may want to try. Often times those circulars and newspapers have deep discounts.

Sign up for a site like or for discounted prices and deals!!

Be a tourist in your own city. Look up historical and cultural events

Get hot and sweaty and go to the Gym and work out together. If your apartment complex or job has a free gym, take an advantage of it.

Can't afford dinner? What about dessert? Go to a dessert bar or an ice cream shop!

Finally….Ladies, pay sometimes (Yes..sometimes..not ALL the time). In this day and age, don’t expect a man to pay for everything 100%. I am of the rule “he/she who asks pays”. There is no shame in that. And if YOU are struggling financially, be honest and upfront.

So what do the fellas have to say. Here are some quotes from some of my Brothas:

TJ: “Women don’t like be stationary. Sometimes when it’s not complex it’s not a quality date. Sometimes they fail to appreciate the simplicity of a date. A great recession date would be going to the park, having a picnic there, and research and see if there is a concert there….and you can have a walk. Low cost and simple…and women won’t be stationary.”

CW: “NYC in the summer time is recession proof. Free events all around just gotta find them. By winter, we need to be in my house, in front of my fire place, keeping me warm! *wink* “

JT: “My tip is there are always cheap dates that a man can impress a woman with parks,museums,CNN, Etc....especially in ATL.”

MW: “First thing, be upfront with the finances. If you wanna go out or someone wants to go out with you, let it be known if you can swing it. Find free things in the city paper. Transportation cost, food cost, meet somewhere economical for both parties or yourself."

JW: “One of my favorite, inexpensive dates is to go to the zoo. I go ahead of time and see what animals are there. I look them up and then when I take her, I can play curator/guide. I also love to just stargaze.”

What about you? What are some great recession-proof dating tips?


  1. I don't think money is the problem. It has actually been a crutch. In the past when things weren't as hard, guys could pay for a nice dinner and movie and be done. But now that things are tight, they have to use some creativity and imagination without throwing money at it and they don't know what to do.

    - Prettykittyinpearls

  2. summer in NYC IS recession-proof... the BEST place to date and that is why I DATE IN THE SUMMER IN NYC! :-)

    your list of ideas and tips is awesome. also, i grew up thinking that i hated window shopping, but that's because i went alone. one time i was going on a movie date with a nice fellow (we were young and broke... about 20 and in school) and we were WAY early for the movie, so we walked around the mall together eating ice cream and window shopped. just looked at things we liked, people watched, tried on a few things... pretended to be ring shopping at Zales even (so not my style) but we learned so much about each other on that "date" and were so tired from walking that when we finally got to the cinema, we asked for a credit to come back and see the movie another time. it cost us about $6 for the darn cups of ice cream, and it was PERFECT!

  3. I believe that women are understanding and would much rather go on creative dates then those boring dinner and a movie dates. Also, if a man is dating a woman that does not understand that the country is in a recession and is not willing to get with the creative program than that woman may not be the woman for him..

  4. I agree with what other commenters have said...with me its not about money it is about being creative!! Think outside of the box!!! You can look in your city newspaper and find free winetasting events, festivals...I don't some guys want to take the time to woo a lady.

  5. These are awesome tips. You're so right - dating does NOT have to be expensive. Its all about being creative and stepping outside the box.


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