Life Relationships Budget romance: Hot dates for under $30
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Budget romance: Hot dates for under $30

dating etiquette in 2019
Here's how to have a romantic day out, without breaking the bank Photo: Getty
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Are you missing the heady days of the honeymoon period? You need to mix up your routine. Ordering the green chicken curry week after week at your local Thai restaurant isn’t going to cut it. We crave the excitement of new experiences to stay emotionally engaged.

The good news is it doesn’t take much effort – or money – to mix up your date nights. Just a tiny bit of novelty goes a long way to reinvigorating your connection to your partner. Check out 10 great date ideas for under $30.

Drive-in Movies
A nice twist to the usual overpriced popcorn/3D extravaganza that is the movies. Find your closest drive in and pile into the car with a blanket, pillows and a stash of movie snacks. Look for Cheap Tuesdays and bargain double features.
We suggest: Mainline Drive In, 588 Main North Road, Gepps Cross, SA, 1300 4 WALLIS.

Rowboat Date
Spend an afternoon floating around on a quiet waterway together in a vintage rowboat or a kayak built for two, available for hire at historic boathouses. Take some homemade scones and a thermos for an afternoon tea picnic when you’re back on dry land.
We suggest: Studley Park Boathouse, 1 Boathouse Road, Kew, VIC, 03 9853 1828.

Pool at a Seedy Pub
Forget being fancy; sometimes for a great night out, you just need a happy hour and a pool table. Raid your coin stash and go break balls at your nearest pub or dive bar. Don’t forget to place saucy bets on the game outcomes.
We suggest: The Cricketers Arms, 106 Fitzroy Street, Surry Hills, NSW, 02 9331 3301.

Breakfast
Often, half the cost of going out to dinner is the wine tab. Skip the expense of a big night out by heading to breakfast instead. It’s an excellent way to try some of the fancier restaurants in town on the cheap – eggs can only cost so much, after all.
We suggest: Sayers Food and Wine, 224 Carr Place, Leederville, WA, 08 9227 0429.

Comedy Club
Laughing equals endorphins, equals bonding, equals a wonderful night out that’s also a de-stressor. If you’ve had a long week, take the pressure off date night by watching stand up comedy acts where you can focus on the jokes rather than each other. And don’t sit near the front, unless you’re a masochist.
We suggest: The Rhino Room, 13 Frome Street, Adelaide, SA, 08 8227 1611.

The Bookshop Date
A great conversation starter, no matter how long you’ve been with your partner. Head to a bookstore-café together and pick out your five favourite books of all time. Have your partner do the same, then sit down over a coffee to talk all about the books in front of you and why you love them.
We suggest: Ampersand Café Bookstore, 78 Oxford Street, Paddington, NSW, 02 9380 6617.

Midnight Picnic in the Backyard
Head to the markets to gather together everything you need for a rustic picnic. Back home, raid your cupboards for tealight candles, fairy lights, cushions and old sheets. Make yourself a tent fantasy in the backyard and surprise your partner with a picnic out there after dark. Dreamy.
We suggest: Your place.

Driving Range
Go hit some golf balls! A couple of clubs, a bucket of balls and a little bit of know-how can yield a great night out on the driving range. You do have to be patient with golf if you’ve never tried it before. Coerce the guys in the pro shop for tips if needed.
We suggest: Riverlakes Aquatic Driving Range, Gleneagles Avenue, Cornubia, QLD, 07 3287 6588.

Watch a Sunrise
When was the last time you sat to appreciate a sunrise? Climb out of bed early and find a great viewing location to watch the glory that is the sun waking up. Rug up in blankets and take coffees with you. Find a bakery on the way home and snaffle some fresh croissants for breakfast.
We suggest: Nobby’s Beach, Nobby’s Road, Newcastle, NSW.

Dessert Only
Eat dinner at home and then whisk your partner out the door and treat them to a decadent serving of dessert at a gorgeous restaurant or café. You get all the benefits of getting out of the house together and spoiling yourselves… without the expense of a full meal.
We suggest: Om Nom Dessert Bar, 187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, VIC, 03 8080 8807.

Emma Merkas is a relationships expert and the co-founder of $30 Date Night, the largest collection of cheap date ideas on the web.

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