Lunch menus are always cheaper. McCormick and Schmick's even offers 10 lunch entrees for less than $10.

McCormick and Schmick's also offers personalized menus. When making a reservation, tell the host that it is for a birthday, anniversary or special date of any kind and the menu will reflect the occasion. For example, "Happy Birthday, Jen." Just imagine how he or she will feel if you take that extra time to make the date special.

Applebee's and TGI Friday's are other great chains that offer inexpensive entrees and other special offers.

And why not grab a movie after eating?

Redbox DVD movie machine

No. 2: Rent a movie

Checking out a good flick at the matinee is always a good deal.

But if the matinee hours have passed, make it a Redbox night. Redbox is a self-serving DVD vending machine that provides movies for a little more than $1 a night. The company has more than 28,000 locations across the country. They are typically at grocery stores and drugstores.

Buying a cheap pizza or putting together a meal with food already in the refrigerator can make for an enjoyable evening indoors.

If there is a little more money in the budget, pick up a drink of choice.

Keep in mind the type of movie you select can set the mood. If it is early in the dating process, consider comedy or action. Be sure to ask what types of movies are preferred.

If staring at a TV screen for more than an hour watching a movie bores you, what about using the TV to play games?

man and woman playing game of chess

No. 1: Play some games

A fun-filled cheap date of video games, board games and cards can be a big hit.

Nintendo Wii provides an opportunity for an exciting and maybe even competitive date.

And if not video games, what about a competition involving the most popular board game -- Monopoly, Risk, Scrabble, backgammon, checkers and chess are other options.

Even UNO is a good game to play. But don't just play the games. Make the games interesting by incorporating possible wagers to share personal interests and information so that you can learn more information about a suitor.

So whether it is mustering up enough courage to use a coupon, enjoying time in the park, hitting a happy hour, grabbing a movie or playing games, creativity can make dating cheap.

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