How are you doing on the top ten list? If you're not doing at least six of the ten, resolve to make improvements. Choose one area at a time and set a goal for incorporating all ten into your lifestyle.


Don't Date Your Way Into Debt
From Deborah Fowles

Ideas For Fun, Creative Dates That Don't Cost a Lot of Dough

Dating is expensive. If you're single and seeking the company of the opposite sex, you can kiss a lot of money goodbye before you find Mr. or Ms. Right. Even after you've tied the knot, "dating" can help you keep some fun in your relationship, and you don't have to blow your budget to do it.

Is dinner and a movie your standard date? At $8 a pop for admission, $4 for a bag of popcorn to share and $6 for two drinks, you're looking at a minimum of $26 for the movie and $30 and up for the simplest of dinners. Can you afford to do that week after week? And do you really want to?

Try being creative. It's true that the best things are free (or very inexpensive). What's more romantic (and cheaper) than star gazing? Spread a blanket on the beach, or in a park, or even in the back yard and watch the night sky.

If the weather's too cool to lie around outdoors, try star-gazing at the local college observatory. If you're lucky enough to live in or near a college town, there are plenty of other free and interesting events like concerts and plays put on by students, or music laser light shows at the school's planetarium. Check the college's Web site for a list of events or ask to be put on a mailing list.

Enjoying the great outdoors together is one of the best ways to get to know somebody or enjoy the company of someone you already know. Picnic at a local park. Go hiking, biking, tubing, canoeing, or kayaking.

Check out your local library for a schedule of special author book readings or talks. Attend plays performed by a local theater group. Browse antique shops. Go to local craft fairs or arts festivals.

Attend a wine tasting at a local wine store. Browse the exhibits at the local museum. Tour a local brewery. Take a cooking class together. Have a karaoke party. Bake together. Plan a scavenger hunt and invite your friends (or not). Plan a road rally (a type of scavenger hunt by car). Do volunteer work together.

The list of possibilities is endless. Come up with ways to spend quality time together without busting your budget, and score more points with your date than you possibly could with the standard movie and dinner date or dancing at the local bar.