With the current state of the economy, many modern men would love to know the secrets to keeping their relationship exciting without having to empty their wallet.

The good news is that if you use the following date ideas, your woman won’t know that she’s been on a cheap date and you won’t look like a cheapskate!

Here are 20 date ideas to help you get started.

First Dates

1. Head to a flea market or night market: You can have a lot of fun going through other people’s unwanted products without spending a lot of money.

Plus it will give you an opportunity to laugh with your date about the odd things you’ll find (toilet seats turned into bar stools anyone?). You might even discover that your date has hobbies or collections that you didn’t know about.

2. Get groovy: Head to a thrift shop (secondhand shop) and take turns trying on truly tasteless outfits. (A Hawaiian print shirt with checkered shorts and knee socks, perhaps?)

3. Cruise for some brews: Many local wineries and breweries hold tours and tastings for little or no money. It’s a great way to spend the afternoon and enjoy some free wine or beer. And, if you like, you can always pick up a bottle or two of her favorite to enjoy when she comes over for a visit.

Second Dates

4. See a concert or play: Colleges, universities, high schools and community theaters are a great way to see a play, concert or musical for free (or for very little money).

5. Get active: Any time of year – there is always something you can do outside.

Swimming, skating, building a snowman, bicycling, sledding, hiking, walking along and kicking the autumn leaves (or rolling around in them), heading up to a mountain chalet for a coffee and cake, or just having a relaxing walk through a park or botanical gardens. A world of possibilities awaits you once you step outside your door and into the great outdoors.

6. Have an indoor picnic: Get some drinks and snacks and stretch out on a blanket in your living room. Play some music or, if you have any musical abilities, play some songs for laughs. Don’t try to be romantic – just do the whole thing for fun and laughs.

The best part about an indoor picnic? No ants, no flies and you don’t have to worry about getting caught having sex in public!

7. Talk to the animals: Most women love animals and it will only cost you for admission and maybe some food for the animals in the petting zoo. You can pack a pre-made lunch (I’d ask her to make it if she likes cooking and preparing food) or pick up something at the zoo.

Bonus: You’ll both come back home stinking of animal smells so it’s a great excuse to shower together!

8. Test your haggling skills at a yard sale (garage sale): Be sure to buy her something silly that she thinks is cute so that she can think of you whenever she sees it.

9. Be quiet: Libraries are great places to visit because you can take out books, music and movies all for free. Turn it into a bit of fun by seeing if you can be in there together for an hour without using words to communicate with each other.

10. Go to an ‘open mic night’ at a local pub: Watch other people perform. You’ll see anything from poetry to music to comedy or perhaps you might want to head to a karaoke bar.

Admission is usually only the cost of a couple of drinks. Who knows, you might discover the ‘next big star’ or a cool band you’d both like to see again.

If you’re brave enough, take a turn at the mic yourself, or get up to sing a duet with your girl.

11. Pimp your pad: Almost every bachelor pad can use a ‘woman’s touch’. Ask for her help in rearranging your small furniture items or picking out some inexpensive accessories.

You may need to do some heavy lifting on this date, but she’ll be very flattered that you admire her taste. Plus, it’s a good excuse to get her over to your house if you’re finding that to be a difficult thing to do at this stage in the relationship.

12. Play tourist in a nearby city: Find a map/guide and explore places in your city that you’ve never been to or don’t know much about.

Driving out to a little town, a beachside village or something like that can be a great bonding experience. Take turns asking local shopkeepers what they recommend you check out, or if they know of any cool places away from the main tourist attractions.

Any Dates After That

13. Pretend to be house hunting: Come up with fake names to give the real estate agent and start exploring people’s homes at open houses.

You can comment on their taste in furniture, argue over where you’re going to put ‘your’ coffee table and disagree over paint colors.

Women love exploring other people’s homes and should your relationship progress, it will give you some insight into whether the two of you could find a home that you both would enjoy living in.

14. Explore a used book store: Pick funny/wacky/weird books for each other or find one that you would both enjoy and then head back home to take turns reading from it to each other, while drinking some wine or your having some tea and biscuits (just for fun).

15. Forget the fancy club: Take her to a local pub (a good one) for a couple of beers and a game of darts or pool (snooker). Challenge the locals or each other to a 3-game duel. Just be sure to play fair and if you happen to lose, be a good sport.

16. Go to a free art show or gallery opening: If you are seriously interested in art, you can genuinely discuss it.

However, if you’re like most people – it will be more fun to pretend to be pretentious art connoisseurs and discuss the questionable value of the work exhibited or for sale. (But if the artist is nearby, be kind. They tend to be very sensitive people).

17. Volunteer for a day: Find a cause you both care about and spend a day volunteering together. It will give you both a good feeling and you’ll be helping someone who will benefit from the time you generously donated.

18. See an outdoor show in summer: During the warmer months, many cities and towns hold outdoor concerts. Admission is often free so all you’ll have to bring is a blanket or chairs to sit on, snacks and beverages (and maybe some mosquito repellent).

19. Go fly a kite: Buy one or make one (instructions can be easily found on the Internet) and have an enjoyable afternoon flying a kite on a windy day.

Then, have some lunch and go for a short walk around wherever you are (e.g. park, beach). Don’t try to be romantic or overly serious about this – just do it for some relaxing fun.

20. Host a potluck dinner party: If you’ve been dating a while and have mutual friends, invite them over for a ‘potluck dinner party’.

This is a dinner party where each guest who attends is asked to bring food or drink to share with the other guests. Ask your friends to bring the appetizers, snacks, drinks or dessert and you and your girl can cook the main course together.

After dinner, you can all play a silly board game, charades or, if the conversation is going well – just keep chatting and having a laugh. See, you don’t have to empty your wallet to keep your woman excited and having fun in your relationship.

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