Dating On the Dole

It's rough out there right now. Maybe you're unemployed. Maybe you're underemployed. Either way you're scrimping and saving and just trying to get by and you don't have the cash on hand for those extras.

This one's for the fellas-the single ones going on a lot of first dates and the ones in relationships who just want to remind their sweetie that they're special.

How do you win over that lovely lady without dropping a lot of dough?

As reported by the Huffington Post, unemployed men are having a hard time dating - and a lot of it is because they don't know how to plan a fun outing - where they can spend the time getting to know a woman and making her feel special - ithout dropping a lot of dough. Never fear, guys! Here are some cheap dates that won't make you look like a cheapskate (and I guarantee they have worked on women I know).

For every single one of these ideas, it's really the thought that counts!

Cook. Everyone loves to have something cooked for them. You don't need to take your girl to a fancy restaurant and spend lots of money. Think about the foods she likes and the foods you like to make. It doesn't have to be a gourmet meal. Something as simple as spaghetti and a salad with a glass of wine will go a long way to winning your lady's heart.

You can find a lot of great recipes and tips right here on AOL Food.

Too cozy for a first date? Picnic in a public space. If you're lucky enough to live in one of the warmer regions of the country, grab some bread and cheese, pasta salad, berries, a blanket and a bottle of wine and head to the park or the river or the beach. If you live in one of the colder areas of the country, lots of cities have great public spaces.

Take a Walk. For a first date, we often think of dinner and a movie. But for someone on a budget, that can add up fast-movies tickets for two, an appetizer to share, an entree each and dessert? There's no need, fellas!

Pour some hot chocolate or coffee into a Thermos and spend an hour or so walking through your town (make sure to tell your date that's the plan so she's wearing sensible shoes!). Check out public architecture, walk along the wharf. Talk about yourself and, most importantly, listen to what she has to say. If it's going well, reach for her hand. When you're too cold and your feet are tired, pop into a local coffee shop or diner and share a piece of pie.

You can find diner inspirations here.

Explore Culture. Go to the library. Or an open mic night. Or an art gallery. Lots of libraries offer movie screenings that are free and open to the public. Many museums offer off-peak nights that have free entry. Check out your local art galleries and hit up an opening or just wander through on a Sunday afternoon. These are great opportunities to start a conversation and really get to know each other better.

Several companies, like Target and Bank of America are sponsoring free museum admissions all over the country.

You can also check with your local Chamber of Commerce for a list of fun activities-many of them free-in your community.

You don't have to spend a lot of money to wow your woman; just impress her with a cheap date that feels anything but!

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