Posts Tagged ‘ summer ’

Free Date Nights: Part 1

Think it’s hard to plan a fun or romantic evening without dropping a lot of cash? Well, we have lots of suggestions for FREE and Cheap things to do for all different types of daters. Whether you’ve just met someone new or you’ve been married for two decades, whether you like adventure and unusual dates or you prefer a romantic evening at home there is an inexpensive date for everyone to enjoy.

Part 1 is a listing of Free Date ideas for new daters

If you’re just getting to know each other it can be especially hard to get together in a budget, but don’t be intimidated. Here are some ideas for free dates that will allow you to really connect and learn more about the person you like.

  • 20 Questions & Truth or Dare – playing ice breaker games is a great way to get to know someone quickly. Take turns asking 20 questions about the other person that they have to answer. Try to make most of them open-ended to get a good discussion going, then add in some “what is your favorite…” to get to know their likes and dislikes better. If you are more adventurous, you can play Truth or Dare. You still get to ask the questions, but get some fun dares in along the way. Make sure not to dare anything that will embarass the other person. You can turn this into an outing by walking around town or the park and playing while you walk. It will give you more opportunities for dares (“I dare you to take off your shoes and run through the fountain,” “I dare you to ask that guy with the guitar to play your favorite song.”) and it will let you people watch along the way.
  • Teach Each Other Your Hobbies – do you play an instrument? Are you crafty? You can spend an afternoon teaching your guy to knit or teaching your girl to play the bass. This lets you talk to each other about something that you’re passionate about and what your history is with your hobby. You’re sure to get close and to have some laughs during your instructions. Make sure to keep it light-hearted and fun – you’re not a professor! Enjoy spending time with someone new and doing what you love. Maybe your date shares the same hobby as you, too.
  • Take a Hike. If you like to be outdoors – and you know that your date does, too – plan a local hike. Tell your date to dress casually and head to a local scenic point. If you’re not sure where to go, check your city’s resources to see what parks, bike and walking paths are in the area. If you both own bikes or rollerblades, you could try that, too. Many cities also have free Frisbee Golf courses at local parks. If you both have dogs, invite your date (and her dog) to join you at the local dog park where your pooches can play together, or go on a run with your pets.
  • Explore Your City. If it’s great weather, but you aren’t particularly “outdoorsy” – take an urban hike! Become a tourist in your city. Walk downtown and look at the architecture; sit on a bench and watch the people passing by; walk down to the river and feed the ducks. Many cities have free brochures of walking tours with information about historical spots. Point out your favorite building, or talk about your memories of particular spots.
  • Share Your Childhood. If you’ve lived in your city all your life or close to where you grew up, take your date on a tour of your childhood. If you live a short drive away, drive past the home you grew up in, the schools you attended, and the playgrounds you used to play at. It can conjour up a lot of neat memories for you to share and help your date to learn more about you.
  • Rainy Days. If the weather is poor, don’t cancel your date. It’s a perfect opportunity to stay in. If you have a library card, you can rent DVDs free of charge from your local library branch. You can both go to the library together and each choose a film, or you can choose the movie and fix your date dinner to go along. If you choose a foreign movie, you can pair the cuisine to the film location.
  • Free Summer Events. Many cities have a variety free events during the summer. Do a little research (online or in the local paper) for upcoming events near you. There may be free music at a shopping center, free movies screened in the city park, or free fireworks near the water. Many events are series that repeat on particular days throughout the summer. If something free is happening on a Wednesday night that sounds fun, don’t wait for Saturday for a date! Sometimes it can seem more spontaneous to go out during the week, and make your date feel like they couldn’t wait to see you. They don’t need to know that you’re saving money by taking them out on a different night.

Check the blog again tomorrow for more low-cost date ideas.

In the meantime, feel free to add a comment! Are you dating someone new and trying to find creative ways to save money? Post your inexpensive dating ideas here – we’d love to hear from you!

Save Money on Gas with these Tips

Money-Saving Tips at the Fuel Pump

Money-Saving Tips at the Fuel Pump

We all know that gas prices go up in the summer right at the time when more people are driving for summer vacations or short getaways. With the July 4th Holiday Weekend upon us, this is the perfect time to remind drivers how they can easily save money at the pump.

  1. Keep your car properly maintained and tuned. A poorly tuned car can use more than 25% more gas. Get your oil and filters changed when recommended. For cars that are in good shape, you can extend the recommended 3,000 mile oil changes up to 5,000 miles without harming your gas consumption.
  2. Shop around for the best deal when getting oil changes. Look in the yellow pages for coupons, check the back of grocery store receipts and mailers for coupons, but don’t assume that the coupon will give you the best price. Most coupons are for national chains that will still be more expensive than local auto service stations.
  3. Check your tire pressure weekly. For every pound of underinflation, you can lose up to six percent in gas mileage, so if your tires are five pounds underinflated, you’ll use up to 30% more gas. Many gas stations have free air and tire pressure gauges that you can use.
  4. Don’t top off your tank when pumping gas. On a warm day, gasoline expands and can overflow.
  5. Don’t warm your car up by letting it idle. The engine warms up faster when driving than it does when idling, and idling wastes about a quart of gas every 15 minutes.
  6. Save gas by turning your car off. If you will be idling for more than 30 seconds, you can save by turning off the engine. When you turn on a car, it uses a little bit of gas. However, when the car is idling, it uses a fixed amount of gas over a period of time (especially with the AC on). If you are at a long stoplight, in a slow drive-thru, at an ATM, or waiting to pick someone up and will be stopped for more than 30 seconds, you will waste less gas by turning off the car and re-starting it than you would by idling during that time.
  7. Turn of f your A/C. Park your car in the shade if you can, so you won’t have to keep the AC working as hard when you go somewhere.¬†Roll down the windows just a tiny bit, so the air can circulate through your car while you are parked (might not be a good idea in areas with a high theft rate).¬†Turn off the AC 5 minutes before you reach your destination and don’t keep it working until the last second.
  8. Reduce Weight. Driving around with unnecessary items in your car will increase the drag and reduce your gas mileage. (A spare tire and jack are NECESSARY – just get rid of the bags of potting soil, cinder block, or clothing donations you may be lugging around with you.)
  9. Make sure your gas cap is secure. In the US every year 147 Million Gallons of Fuel are lost due to evaporation.
  10. Practice gas-saving driving habits. Your car uses more fuel when you accelerate. Try to accelerate gently, watch the traffic ahead to anticipate slow-downs and braking, maintain your speed on the highway, and practice reducing speed by keeping distance from the car ahead of you and lifting your foot off the gas pedal instead of applying the brakes. And if possible, drive below the speed limit. Use overdrive gears and cruise control when appropriate to improve your gas mileage.
  • It takes 20% more gas to accelerate to normal speed from a full stop than it does from four or five miles per hour.
  • It takes 20% to 30% more gas to drive at 70 mph than 50 mph.

And the best gas-saving tip of all… Car Pool, ride your bike, or take public transportation whenever possible. I know this is a difficult tip for many people to follow, but suggest “shopping outings” with friends or neighbors and carpool to the grocery store. You can save gas by trading driving each week. The small savings will add up if you practice it regularly.

For many more fuel-saving tips, visit the following resources:

How to Vacation When Your Budget doesn’t Allow Travel.

Vacation at Home without breaking the bank

Summer Fun can be Cheap

Everyone wants their family to have fun during the summer. If you can’t afford to take your kids on a week-long vacation to Disneyworld or the beach, you can still have a good time without overspending and make it a summer that they will remember.

For much less money than flying or driving your family cross-country for a summer getaway, you can explore your own backyard by becoming a tourist in your city. With a little effort you can get out of the rut of watching TV all summer and being immersed in your daily routine and instead see the adventures around you with new eyes.

Your town may have certain days during the summer that offer free admission to the zoo, museums, arboretum or botanical gardens. By doing things close to home, you can offer your family an entire summer’s worth of adventures instead of just a week away. Your kids will enjoy spending more time with you and being able to do many different things. When staying close to home, it is possibly to make every weekend a “staycation.”

If you have a camera, let your child take photos of the places you go. There are always coupons for photo processing that will let you print pictures for pennies. If you don’t own a camera, buy a disposable and let your child take a few photos at each place you visit. Give them a notebook that they can journal in. At the end of the summer, they can turn the journal entries and photos and create a scrapbook of their summer fun. They won’t feel left out when they go back to school and the teacher asks everyone, “what did you do for your summer vacation.”

Resources:

  • Do an internet search for your city or county to find the official government website. On the website for your city, you should be able to find links to interesting events and free summer activities.
  • Do an internet search for “your city” + day trips. You can find interesting places to explore with your family that are a short drive (2-3 hours at the most) from your town.
  • Visit your public library and/or bookstore and ask if they have a “local” section. Many times there are books featuring day trips, hiking trails, outdoor excursions, and interesting locales that are near you.

Do’s

  • Encourage your kids to help you plan where to go. Get them excited about vacationing close to home by getting them involved in the process.
  • Pack a lunch. If you’re taking a short drive for a day trip, or visit to the arboretum or park, pack a cooler with sandwiches, snacks, and drinks. Eating out is expensive, and food kiosks at the zoo or other spots can be particularly pricey. Make it fun by having a picnic outdoors on a bench or under a tree. Don’t forget to pack plates, plasticware, and a trash bag!
  • Explain to your children why you can’t take a traveling vacation this summer. If they understand that money is tight they will be less likely to pout and more likely to get involved with the summer plans.