Cheap Dates

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One of the reasons that I like running with friends so much is that it’s a really cheap way to socialize.  Socializing can get expensive if you don’t plan carefully, can’t it? 


Diana, Nicole, and I really wanted to spend time together this afternoon, but I think no one was in the mood to spend big money.  So, someone suggested we all go for a walk.  It was a very cheap but fun date.


We walked with a goal in mind:  Great Harvest Bread!  The bakery is a little over a mile from my house so it was quite the stroll.


Charlotte is in the very weird transitory period between Fall and Winter.  Just when I think it’s officially Winter, we have an awesomely warm day.  Our walk today was a juxtaposition of seasons, too.  With one glance, you see beautiful flowers…


And in the other, there’s a bunch of dead trees and leaves on the ground. 


But it was warm and sunny out, so our stroll was perfect.  We stopped off at Starbucks for lattes.  I had a pumpkin spice latte with a vegan cinnamon roll.  They used applesauce instead of buttah and dare I say it – I actually LIKED the vegan, “healthy” roll better than the regular one.

photo (48) 

My cheap dates:

photo (50) photo (49)

Let’s see… what else have I done today?


I met up with DadHTP for a little bite to eat:


I ordered the arugula and asparagus salad, which is actually a lot denser than it first appears because there’s a ton of blue cheese and pecans hiding under all those greens.  Yum!


I obviously broke into that awesome loaf of Great Harvest Dakota bread for dinner.  And what is better than bread and soup?


That’s Amy’s Tuscan bean.  I liked it!


And two slices of the yummiest bread around.


A pan of baked apples is in the oven!  Mmmm.  I know what I’ll be snacking on later.


So – tell me.  What cheap dates do you have with friends or significant others to save cash?



  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations November 20, 2010, 4:59 pm

    Wandering around Target can be a fun cheap friend date.

    I went to an art sale with friends this afternoon and didn’t have to spend a penny. Did buy one photograph though, but it would have been fun just to look at all the paintings, drawings, pottery, and photography.

    • Caitlin November 20, 2010, 4:59 pm

      Haha I love wandering around Target!

    • Kristie November 20, 2010, 6:22 pm

      Hah, it’s never a cheap date for me because I don’t have any self control when it comes to Target! 😛

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations November 20, 2010, 5:01 pm

    Target rocks!

  • holly @ couchpotatoathlete November 20, 2010, 5:02 pm

    Cheap dates — window shopping at Mall of America, IKEA, etc. Taking walks at parks, playing games, or stuff like that. I like going out for coffee/dessert and just talking for a few hours.

  • kalin November 20, 2010, 5:06 pm

    if you’re near wineries that don’t charge tasting fees they’re free dates! (and at least around here, even when they charge it’s only $5)
    distilleries around here do free tours and tastings
    ….i’m a lush, clearly.

  • Dynamics November 20, 2010, 5:10 pm

    People watching. I love to watch people, kids and especially animals. How about the girl with spike heels on at the County fair. You can always tell those who are first time fair goers or girls who live in heels. Fun.

  • Bronwyn Coyne November 20, 2010, 5:22 pm

    My favourite cheap date with friends is to hang out together and watch Glee or Grey’s Anatomy. There’s chatting before, after and during commercials, and lots of cute guys (or great songs to listen to!) to look at the rest of the time. 😉

  • Caitlin November 20, 2010, 5:25 pm

    My bff and I swim together, which costs a little money, but is a great way to work out AND catch up. We also like to hike when we’re feeling cheap and tired.

    I love to drag people to Farmer’s Markets, street festivals, parks, free events, Target, Costco, etc. Luckily, I tend to live in very urban areas (Bay Area, NYC), so there is usually something (or many somethings) going on.

  • Kristina @ spabettie November 20, 2010, 5:26 pm

    I invite people over for an impromptu karaoke party!! 😀 that is ALWAYS fun!!

  • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks November 20, 2010, 5:26 pm

    When agreeable, sometimes my friends and I will go on a walk or easy hike.

    Tonight is not one of those nights, though. Tonight it’s Harry Potter in IMAX at $19/a person and dinner. Gotta make exceptions for Harry Potter!

  • Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun November 20, 2010, 5:33 pm

    Walks are a big thing with my friends & I. Or visits to the playgrounds since we have the kiddos. They distract each other and we get to chat. We also love having parties (sans kids – woo!)at each others’ houses every couple of months.

    Sounds like it was a great afternoon. And pecans + blue cheese are one of my favorite combos with greens.

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine November 20, 2010, 5:38 pm

    My boyfriend have cook-your-own dinner nights!! It’s sooo much cheaper than going out, and we always have more fun cooking anyway 🙂

  • ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska November 20, 2010, 5:44 pm

    Our favorite cheap dates are taco nights here at the house with friends, and hiking Flat Top here in Anchorage. It has beautiful views of the city and ocean, and is a 15 minute drive from our house. It’s something we do on every sunny spring/summer/fall Saturday or Sunday. It’s always refreshing to get a new perspective of your life from up there!

  • Kayla November 20, 2010, 5:46 pm

    One of my favorite things to do is to head to the coffee shop and grab a latte and just gab forever. Another favorite is winery tours/tastings, which often are under $10.

    I wrote this article about cheap date ideas back when the economy soured in the last community I lived. I know it’s pretty localized, but you could take these ideas and translate many to Charlotte.


  • Laine @ Beets, Butter & Mountaintops November 20, 2010, 5:47 pm

    We either do walks, yoga class or go for drinks – and since we both own our own businesses and inevitably talk about marketing and strategy and things like that the drinks are a business expense!

  • Melissa November 20, 2010, 5:48 pm

    I love to host potlucks. I can have a huge dinner party with all my friends, and I only have to provide the house and one dish! It’s also a great way to swap recipes. For a cheap date night with my boy, we like to veg to tv movies and home cooked dinners. Sometimes we even dress up just to feel fancy. If you really need more cheap date ideas, ask a local college student 🙂

  • Allie November 20, 2010, 5:55 pm

    Hiking! I think the privacy and beauty of being alone in a forest is so romantic 🙂 And I like being active with other people!

  • nicole November 20, 2010, 5:57 pm

    I’m just getting my bf into running so we will run 2-3 miles together and then head to the store to pick up ingredients for salads. It’s great because we don’t have to buy too many things and the run sets off our healthy day. It’s also really great because he’s a smoker but when we run he doesn’t want to smoke after… Either way I’m really proud of him for getting active and trying!
    I’m basically with you on the running/doing something active for a cheap date! It’s nice to do something active with your friends/significant others.

  • Rachel @ EatMoreMeatLess November 20, 2010, 6:10 pm

    So glad you made your way back to Great Harvest… it’s been awhile 🙂

  • Julia November 20, 2010, 6:13 pm

    Go to the coffee shop and talk for hours, go to the park and utilize the playground for workouts, walks, hikes, window shop, go to a picnic in the park, ride bikes, go to borders and read all the magazines and not buy anything…haha, cook together, go to a different part of the city and explore on foot, go to a gallery, go to museum on free days, go to free outdoor concerts, go to festivals… i am super frugal so all my dates with friends, and the boyf are free or close to free! you can have a lot of fun without spending money!

  • Sana November 20, 2010, 6:14 pm

    I love walking and hiking and taking pics. All for free!

  • Faith @ lovelyascharged November 20, 2010, 6:21 pm

    My forever roomie and I used to get a huge group of people and go to Downtown Disney for the evening, or get together a bunch of loose change and play a million games of Foosball or air hockey at a dive bar!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) November 20, 2010, 6:22 pm

    Hunni and I love to look around weird little local museums. You find some funny stuff in there.

    Also we go to the book store or library and pick out books to read together.

    And Wii games make great fun dates for next to nothing.

    Oh one more. If you are feeling weird…buy a funny outfit from a thrift store and take pictures of yourselves around town to make a fun slide show or photo collage. The memories are so worth it.

  • Jenny November 20, 2010, 6:27 pm

    Haha, looks like you ambushed your dad for that picture.

  • Lauren November 20, 2010, 6:35 pm

    Board game nights with friends – I love apples to apples!

  • Erin @ Bishella November 20, 2010, 6:38 pm

    I’m a big fan of cheap dates! If you’re lucky enough to have a walking mall in your are, they are a great way to get some exercise and window shop. Now that it’s getting colder, I’m starting to look for other ways to get out of the house and see people. I have a free pass for a hot yoga class so we’ll see how that goes!

  • Sarah November 20, 2010, 6:59 pm

    I live in Perth, Western Australia and it’s pretty warm all year round, though I complain a lot in the height of winter and the height of summer! Since our summertime highs can be over 105 degrees F (it’s dry though, not humid), the wintertime highs FEEL a lot colder than they are. The coldest days we get are still about 12C (53 F), but that feels FREEZING here. Most winter days are around 18 to 19 C (about 65 F), so it’s actually better to exercise outside in winter than in summer a lot of the time! In the summer I have to run very early or very late to escape the oppressive sun.

    I can’t even believe I complain about that…I grew up in Michigan. Horrible weather.

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) November 20, 2010, 7:11 pm

    Looks like a perfect fall day! So glad you had a great day Caitlin!

  • Kate @ Spoonful of Vigor November 20, 2010, 7:12 pm

    We’ve got a lot of local breweries here in Fort Collins, CO, and most of them offer cheap/free brewery tours throughout the weekend. Let’s just say I know New Belgium’s brewery like the back of my hand… 🙂

    • FoodCents November 20, 2010, 8:06 pm

      New Belgium is a little slice of heaven 🙂

  • maria @ Chasing the Now November 20, 2010, 7:34 pm

    video game nights at home are one of my favorites. or renting a movie instead of going to the theatre.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin November 20, 2010, 7:43 pm

    We just like to chill out and have a girls night, with a chick flick and some tea. 😀

  • Food & Other Things November 20, 2010, 7:46 pm

    I love going for walks with friends and family…window shopping is probably my second favorite free activity.

  • Lee November 20, 2010, 7:49 pm

    I actually went on a hour and a half walk with a friend today. It was nice.

    My husband and I have a blu ray player that has Netflix on demand so we often watch something in our “theater” for a cheap date.

  • Lee November 20, 2010, 7:49 pm

    Ack. I meant an hour. I hate bad grammar!

  • Ella November 20, 2010, 9:14 pm

    My friends and I are big fans of coffee dates. Or well all cook dinner together, one girl brings the pasta, one girl brings stuff to make a salad..etc. Its fun and a lot cheaper than eating out!

  • Kath November 20, 2010, 9:53 pm

    Greatttttt Harvesttttttttttt!!!

  • Wei-Wei November 20, 2010, 9:56 pm

    I love going on long walks with my friend. He was the only one who would do something like that with me…. all my other friends do Starbucks, eating at restaurants, going for a movie: I’m trying to save money so if I can just walk and talk with someone, that’s fine with me. Hehe…

  • Jenifer November 20, 2010, 9:58 pm

    Best cheap date ever is to pop open a bottle of James River’s Hanover wine and hang out on the back deck with my honey listening to a little blues. We usually end up making something yummy for dinner together which leads to another bottle of wine. : ) We go to a wine festival in the summer and stock up on it so it always reminds us of summer!!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey November 20, 2010, 11:06 pm

    I love renting a movie or having others over for dinner – cheap but fun!!

  • Nicole - yuppie yogini November 20, 2010, 11:07 pm

    Funniest picture ever of your dad!! Lol!

  • Deva (Voracious Vorilee) November 20, 2010, 11:13 pm

    We have a membership to the zoo here, and we go so often the membership really does pay for itself. Our favorite cheap date is to go to the zoo to walk around for a few hours and see the various animals. 🙂

  • eliza November 20, 2010, 11:33 pm

    ummm I love Target and TJ’s two buck chuck and oatmeal facials …all super cheap.
    also, snuggling on the couch too!

  • Heather November 21, 2010, 8:07 am

    $3 movie theater, Sundays mornings at my local bowling alley has $1 games and $1 shoe rentals, a weekly gym date (think side by side treadmills while watching a laker game), taco tuesday for $1 tacos at el torrito, I can go on and on.. but when all else fails it’s either a picnic during the day time or buy hot chocolate and walking around a favorite store at night time.

  • Jocelyn @ Enthusiastic Runner November 21, 2010, 8:17 am

    That bread soup looks amazing!! Another cheap date: go on a scavenger hunt! Looking for different items….you can find scavenger hunts online!

  • A November 21, 2010, 8:26 am

    My BFF and I are completely obsessed with going to the dog park inside of our local county park. With passes costing a whopping $30/year, and the added benefit of tiring the dogs out for the start of the coming week, we make an effort to go every Sunday. There’s nothing more fun than gabbing wiht your BFF and watching the dogs run around like fools. Seriously.

  • Danielle November 21, 2010, 8:53 am

    I am a little slow on the uptake here…but, my friends and I will have clothing swaps, game nights, and movie nights. Game nights and movie nights are fun because you ask everyong to bring a dish that everyone can enjoy.

  • Lindsay November 21, 2010, 9:54 am

    those pansies will stick around until march, even under the snow…I love NC winters!

  • Amanda @ Hungry Vegan Traveler November 21, 2010, 11:08 am

    One of my favorite nights with my good friends was when we played good ol’ fashioned charades. Only it wasn’t entirely old fashioned because we found an app for Charades where you just click ‘refresh’ and it gives you a new word/person/whatever. Also, there were some beverages. *cough*

  • Amber K November 21, 2010, 11:10 am

    OMG, I’m in love with baked goods made with applesauce. They taste soo moist and yummy.

    Trying to do cheap things with friends is always interesting. I don’t get together a lot, so usually we go out since it’s been awhile. And a lot of them aren’t really active. But I think I could try and wrangle some of my friends to do something active, maybe when it is actually warm again!

  • Jolene ( November 21, 2010, 4:43 pm

    I like having games nights with friends – it is free!!

  • Heidi - apples under my bed November 21, 2010, 5:08 pm

    my fav cheap date is having friends around for a pot of tea, rather than going out for tea (which is so expensive for just water + tea bag!!). unlimited tea & fun + couch = perfect 🙂
    Heidi xo

  • Jane November 21, 2010, 8:09 pm

    Netflix + dinner at home is a great date night for anyone (friend or significant other). TJs wine is a welcome addition 🙂

  • Sara @ OurDogBuffy November 22, 2010, 10:03 am

    Dinner and a movie at home = cheap date for me and mine.

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