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Frugal Romance in the Winter

Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tip for January, 2000

Well...we have to re-write the old Steve Goodman song, "The 20th Century is Almost Over"--now it'll be "The 20th Century is Really Over." I choose not to bother with the debate over this year or next year. I've never been around in a year ending in two zeros before, and that's good enough for me. Welcome to the new year, decade, century, and millennium. May you be healthy, in good spirits, and financially secure. And I'm deliberately a few days late just in case anyone's computer or ISP needed a few days to get over the excitement.

This month, a reader suggestion: frugal wintertime dates

First of all, get out of the idea that a date has to be at night. Lots of great dates for the daytime simply aren't available at night. Not in any way trying to be comprehensive, here are some ideas to jumpstart your imagination:

Libraries and bookstores (read romance-inspiring books out loud together--Shakespeare, anyone?). And while you're in the library, borrow a great video for free so you have something to curl up together at night.

Museums--many ask for a voluntary contribution (and no one says you have to give the suggested amount, as long as you give something) rather than a fixed admission price, and still others are entirely free.

Factory Tours--not only do you learn a lot, but often there are free samples at the end, especially in touring any kind of food processing plant: wineries, bakeries, chocolate makers...

Now, in the evening, what can you do besides watch that borrowed video? Games like Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit are popular around here. Also charades, acting out scenes from a play, reading a book together out loud, planning a vacation together, looking at old family photos.

Looking to go out on the town? See if you can get into a rehearsal for a community theater production. Many are quite good, and rehearsals are often free.

I have a special fondness for poetry readings, because my wife and I not only met at one, but during the first three years of our relationship we probably attended about 100. In fact, when we moved to Western Massachusetts and couldn't find a reading series we liked, we started one!

Become coffeehouse volunteers or usher for a theater company.

Anyway, the list goes on and on. If you want more frugal dating ideas, my book, The Penny-Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook, includes a full chapter.

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