15 (Frugal) Ways to Date Your Mate

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Maybe you have a date with that special someone on Valentine’s Day or a romantic dinner with your significant other. Whatever the situation, below are some ideas for a great cheap date with your honey that will save you lots of cash without skimping on the romance.

  • Eat a simple, nutritious dinner at home, and then go out for a truly decadent dessert.

  • Pick wildflowers together.

  • Go for a bike ride, hike, or run together.

  • Pack a picnic lunch and go to the park or the zoo.

  • Take a class together in something fun and creative: glass blowing, pottery, drawing, creative writing, or photography.

  • Browse in a bookstore together.

  • Attend a local high school or college sports game.

  • Take a road trip to a nearby town, or even another neighborhood in your own city. Stroll around, talk with locals, have a drink at a local café.

  • Read aloud to each other from a favorite novel, poem or short story.

  • Attend a theater performance by your local college or community group.

  • Go to a flea market or garage sale.

  • Attend a local lecture on a subject of interest to both of you.

  • Send the kids out to someone else's house and stay in and cook together.

  • Visit a museum on a free or pay-what-you-wish day.

  • Have a water balloon fight in the park. Or play on the swings.

You might also want to check out NYC on the cheap and healthy.


Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.

NYC on the cheap and healthy

by Loni Markman, MA, CHHC

I don't know about you but I LOVE going out to eat. I am a total foodie, however, at times it is to my detriment. The restaurants we choose are not always the healthiest no matter what the price is. Recently, a friend turned me on to this great book turned website turned mobile app called Clean Plates which consists of a continuously updated collection of the healthiest restaurants in town – nutritionist-approved - ranging from all price points. I found some great affordable options that I wanted to share with you! Check out some of my favorite healthy and inexpensive restaurants in NYC.

  • Souen - SoHo, Union Square, East Village: Macrobiotic / asian / sushi restaurant with gluten-free, flexitarian, naturally-sweetened, vegetarian, & vegan options.

  • Dig Inn Seasonal Market - Locations throughout NYC: American restaurant + juice bar with organic meat who's philosophy is based on real food and real quality. Delivery available.

  • Bareburger- Locations throughout NYC, Brooklyn and Queens: Organic meat and options for vegetarians as well. Gluten-free bread is available and still delicious. Offers delivery as well!

  • Candle Cafe - Upper East Side + Upper West Side: New American/Asian Fusion plus a delicious juice bar with a variety of options for those in need of gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, etc.

  • Peacefood Cafe - Upper East Side, Upper West Side: Cafe/restaurant with gourmet vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, and raw options. Delivery is also available upon request.

Going somewhere special? The following choices are a bit pricier but worth it - healthy picks that don't sacrifice taste:

  • Lupa Osteria Romano - Greenwich Village: Mario Batali's Old Italian restaurant creates traditional Roman dishes while supplementing with local, fresh ingredients and organic meat. Their extensive wine menu is an added bonus and never pretentious. Amazing for a great date night.

  • Blue Hill- West Village: Treat yourself to Dan Barber's farm fresh New American gourmet restaurant with organic meat and local fresh food. Here it is all about knowing thy farmer. Great for a fine dining experience.

We may all love to eat out, however, the cost can definitely add up. Most people don't really realize how much they spend dining out each month and would be shocked to find that they could probably hire a housekeeper or a gardener for that same amount! Here are three great rules to follow to keep costs down when you eat out:

Tip #1: Write it down. Take one week and write down how much you spend eating out. That includes all those coffees, soft drinks, things from the vending machines and snacks you buy throughout the day. Be sure to write down the amount of anything that goes into you and your family’s mouths for an average week. I’m afraid you may be unpleasantly surprised.

Tip #2: Cook or Assemble. I'm sure you're staying " but I don't have time to cook" well think about this... for the amount of time it takes you to get that cafe/restaurant, wait for the server to come over and take your order and then wait for them to prepare your order, you could have probably cooked one of these simple healthy meals. Don't like to cook? How about assemble? You don't need a pot or pan to eat at home.. chop up some red peppers and hummus for a healthy snack, or place it onto a bed of arugula with beans, tomatoes, and onions. No cooking involved, just assembling.

Tip #3: Eat Half and Save. It is no secret that portions in America are super-sized. Take advantage of this by only eating half of your meal - save the rest for the next day. You can always mix it up by using the ingredients from your meal to re-create something new. For example, I'm a big Thai food lover and I always save half to make stir-fry in the wok with quinoa for dinner the following night!

Join me over on my blog and let me know your favorite places to dine out on the cheap and be sure to take advantage of my complimentary Awaken Your Positive Body Strategy Session.