Feature photo by John Picken

I have been married for a little over two years and, yes, I still go on dates with my husband. Just like most young couples, we don’t always have a ton of money to spend on fun things to do. Whether you’re married or date regularly, I have put together some cheap yet fun things to do in the city and even at home! Being creative is defiantly key. From your first date and beyond, keep reading for great tips on how to save money and make that one-on-one quality time together really special.

Thank God summer is here! More sunshine means more things to do outside, for either very little money or all together free. On a recent date with my husband, he suggested we watch the sunrise on a bench down by the lake together. Talk about romantic and it didn’t cost us anything! Watching the sun come up adds a bit of sweetness to serenity. So next time grab your sweetie, a blanket and maybe some coffee or tea, snuggle up, and enjoy the morning.

This is great for a first or second date! Get a jar or something that will be able to hold lots of paper, cut the paper in to medium size squares. Write a question on each piece and let your date do the same. Turn on the radio, kick back, and take turns pulling out a question to ask and answer. It’s an awesome way to open up and get to know someone.

Get a jelly jar, or coffee can and get ready to pack it full! Maybe you had an amazing day and you have little reminders such as a key chain, menu from a new or old restaurant, your favorite lip gloss that landed you a kiss, or ticket stubs to a Cubs game. Whatever it may be, have your date add to the jar with his or her favorite things as well. Write a note and put the lid on. Plan on the both of you (or just maybe you depending on how well the date is going) on opeining it in a few years, or maybe not at all. Pick a great spot to bury it.

I’m not saying bungee jump, or play tag in traffic. Though some would find that daring and funny, I’m trying to direct you to less dangerous situations. Wait until it gets dark outside and either turn off all your lights in your casa or go sit outside. Taking a walk through the woods would be ideal for this, unless you’re like me and fear talking trees (but thats a whole other article!). Be sure to bring a flash light and start telling the scariest stories you know. You could also go to a half price book store and find cheap books on haunted places that will make you wet yourself (but I don’t suggest wetting yourself on your first date). This is a good way to get a girl or guy extra close to you while you scare them half to death.

I love getting read to. It must be left over from being a child but they’re nothing like laying in bed or taking a bath while my husband reads to me. If this is a first date, I’m not sure how well it would go over asking them to read to you while you take a long, hot bath but you can choose your favorite books and go to the park on a beautiful Chicago day to read to each other. At the very least, you won’t run out of things to discuss post reading if your date is an English major!

Spend time together making it or go to a restaurant and order something sweet. Sit and people watch or go down by the lake for a dessert-only picnic and share it, feed each other, drink from the same cup with two straws. Any way you slice it, it’s romantic and won’t leave you broke!

THE WILLIS TOWER (Formerly the Sears)

How great is it that we have the Willis Tower? Play tourist in your own city and visit the masterful skyscraper. If you’re scared of heights don’t let that stop you. Hold on to your date and take a chance! For dates and times visit.

We live in the greatest city in the world! There will always be new and creative ways to spend your days and nights in Chi-town. As long as you have an open mind and willingness to have an adventure, you can always find something to do to match your budget. Now go out and have a great date!

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