Because you don’t need to break the bank getting your romance on.
Organise a picnic
The sunset picnic is a cliche for a reason — the relaxed vibe allows conversation to flow as freely as the bottle of wine in your basket, which doesn’t cost the $13.50 a glass that it would have at a fancy bar. It doesn’t take all that much prep, either — just pick up some triple-cream brie, aged prosciutto, and a nice wine (in a bottle, not a box — you’re not that cheap) down to the park with a blanket and music and voila. And that million-dollar view? Doesn’t cost a cent.
Cook her dinner
Another one out of the DIY file that saves on the dinner bill — and that’s not the only plus. Firstly, it earns you stacks of brownie points for effort. Secondly, it shows her you’re a sophisticated modern man (or well trained by your mum, at least). And most importantly, that one-on-one time is more intimate than any candlelit restaurant.
Visit a second-hand store
Okay, okay, a trip to the thrift shop doesn’t scream sexual tension. But it’s original, it’s certainly cheap, and it provides no shortage of talking points to get to know someone. ‘My brother used to have a T-shirt like that’, ‘I remember reading that book in high school’, ‘Those teacups are just like the ones my nan has’, ‘That hideous plaid wool jacket reminds me of the hobo who used to live at my old train station’. Convos for days.
Take in a scenic walking trail, share one of your favourite sports, ride a nice bike path (or hire a tandem to layer on even more cheese) . . . there’s loads of ways to get nice and sweaty together (get your mind out of the gutter). Not only does a solid work-out get those endorphins buzzing, it forces you both to let your guard down when you’re hanging out as a couple of puffed, blushed, sweaty messes.
Check out a museum
Keep cultivating her belief that you’re a refined urban gentleman with an afternoon of culture at an art gallery, which is usually cheap or even free to enter. And don’t worry if you don’t know what you’re talking about — just confidently repeat words like ‘placement’ and ‘juxtaposition’, and keep of couple of names handy (“Ah yes, this reminds me of a Matisse I once saw in Paris”).
Embarrass yourself at karaoke
Cooking, running, BS-ing about art . . . we need a bit of fun on this list. Show her your not-so-serious side by enjoying a drink (or eight) then belting out a tune at a karaoke bar. Nail it? Props for your pipes. Can’t hit a single note? Props for having the guts — and the sense of humour — to have a crack.