When you're single and broke, it's not going to kill you to pass on an expensive dinner and settle for Ramen noodles. But if you're in a relationship and try to serve up those same frugal noodles, you may be dining solo again.
That's where we come in. We've got some date ideas that will help you spend some quality time together -- without emptying the bank.
- Art galleries- Whether you're a fan of modern photography or art deco, there are plenty of options all across the state to pick from. The New Britain Museum of American Art is full of amazing work, and is home to the "Museum After Dark" parties. Hartford's Wadsworth Atheneum always has a calendar filled with events. Also in Hartford, you can check out Real Art Ways, a gallery filled with local art, cinema, and all sorts of fun events. Students in New Haven will tell you the Yale University Art Gallery is quite the draw. In New London, the Griffis Art Center features local and international artists. For more arts and museums across the state, click here.
- Local sports- You don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy the bonding of a game together. And unlike going to a major league game, you can enjoy the experience in Connecticut without shelling out a small fortune. For starters, how about minor league hockey? Near the shoreline, you can check out the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In the state capitol, the Hartford Wolf Pack always make for a fun time. How about something just as inexpensive, and a little more wild? The CT Rollergirls boast themselves as "Connecticut's first and only all-female flat track roller derby league". The games are fast, the impact is high, and the excitement is unbeatable.
- Dinner Discounts- Sure, you can hit up the typical chain restaurants for $9.99 promotions. But why not kick it up a notch? Pick up an Entertainment Book for your part of the state, which is chock full of BOGO deals at mom and pop restaurants across the state. It's also got tons of other discounts for everything from shopping and travel to events and attractions across the state. There's also a website loaded with Connecticut restaurants that will sell you $25 gift certificates for $10. Click here to check them out. Bonus - once you sign up, you'll get all sorts of additional discounts in your inbox. We picked up some $25 gift certificates for as low at $3. We're not advertising for either of these companies, but we found they'll save you a boatload of money.
- Tasting the State- First, a disclaimer - we recommend you either designate a driver or break these up into a whole bunch of weekend trips. Ok, now that the legal jargon is out of the way, we can tell you how much fun the Connecticut Wine Trail is. So it's not Italy or even California, but it's packed with fun wines that will delight your taste buds. Geographically, the trail of 19 different vineyards is divided into those in the East and West. You can try all of the different wines at each vineyard for less than $10, and many of them let you keep the glass as a memento.
- Scrap-booking- Granted, the thought of scrap-booking is enough to make many guys cringe. But look at it like this - you get to see some cool places across the state with your loved one and demonstrate your high-tech photography skills. (Or something like that.) First, hit the web and plan out your drive. Whether you are looking for pictures along the shoreline or up in the mountains, there are websites that will help you map out your trip. Click here for a some route ideas or here for some scenic picks across the state. Then pack a lunch, gas up the car, grab a camera, and hit the road. Make sure to bring extra batteries.
If you don't feel like doing the scrap-booking itself, there are plenty of places where you can load your pictures and designs and buy a scrapbook made for you. On the web, we found Shutterfly and Smilebooks. Locally, a company called Kolo will also do it for you. But if you're looking to really keep the costs down and make the date worth while, pick up a blank book and make it together.
Love our cheap date ideas? Think we're losing our minds? Use the space below to tell us which ideas work or don't work, and offer up some of your own!