1. Hit the Happy Hour Circuit—Take advantage of happy hour and you could save up to 30% or more on food and drinks. You could also take a tour of a few different happy hour spots. A free mobile app called "Happy Hours" shows food and drink specials in over 100 cities.
2. BYOB Wine--If you choose to dine with wine, avoid ordering by the glass. Restaurants tend to charge the full retail price of the bottle for a single serving of wine. So go to restaurants that haven't gotten their liquor license. That way, you can BYOB without a corkage fee. Another tip is to skip the Chardonnay. It's America's favorite white wine and very overpriced. Try a dry Riesling or a Grüner-Veltliner instead.
3. Try Something Un-Comfortable--Doing something outside your comfort zone can help the chemistry. The trick is finding a low-cost activity. When couples do things together that are challenging and exciting, it improves the quality of their relationship.
4. Take in the Arts--If you need inspiration, a new site called HowABoutWe.com offers singles and couples unique date ideas based on your location and preferences. Free-to-the-public museum nights, screenings or art openings.
5. Cook Up a Challenge--It could be taking an art class, sailing or taking a trip together. Cooking is a great activity because there's the shared creativity of looking up the recipe or inventing a new dish. So don't just make dinner, create an adventure!
6. Plan a Zero Dollar Blow-Out--If it's a special date like a birthday or anniversary and you want to go all out, you can still impress for less. Put clues around your home or neighborhood leading up to a fun scavenger hunt or try a surprise hike to a romantic lookout.
7. Discounted Movies--Check out warehouse clubs like Costco where you can buy discount movie tickets in advance.
8. Take Advantage of Off-Season Discounts--If you're looking for an overnight date, consider a B&B during the off-season, when rates drop to as low as $60 a night. You can also check out wineries, where tastings are affordable.