By TAMAR CASPI
Maybe you've held on to your job during this economic downturn, maybe you've had to dip into your savings or maybe you've even had to move back in with your parents as you try to save money. It doesn't matter how the recession has affected you, if you're single and dating then you're not going to stop going out no matter how hard your wallet's been hit. But whether you're dating for the fun of it or seriously looking for someone to share the rest of your life with, the type of dates you're now going out on have to change because of the financial mess.
In the long run, a J*Date membership isn't expensive and is worth keeping. Think about how many drinks you'd have to buy at a bar in one month for yourself, your friends who you dragged out with you, or the girls you're hitting on. J*Date is definitely cheaper than all that fuss. Instead, save your money for an actual date with a great girl you met on J*Date. And the longer a membership you sign up for, the less expensive it gets month by month.
Once you're on a date, you're going to have to cut corners. There are a few ways to save money without it being too obvious. Besides, would you really want to date the type of woman who is easily impressed by valet parking or an NIS 800 bill? Trust me, the woman will be more impressed by the smooth ways you're being financially responsible, because chances are she's going through the same thing.
Apart from finding free street parking (don't drive around in circles though - that's a big turn-off - and don't park on the sidewalk and risk getting towed), you can also find really amazing hole-in-the-wall restaurants that won't break the bank. Do your research, ask your friends, be imaginative. Do you really have to go to the hottest, newest restaurant on Rehov Ha'Arba, when you can instead go to a quieter, tastier place on Basel? Propose splitting an appetizer and the dessert, it's romantic and subtle.
LADIES ALSO need to be conscious of their spending. You don't need to buy a new outfit for every date; instead, use your closet - and those of your friends - wisely. Be aware that a man taking you out on a nice date in these times is an exception, not the rule, and be appreciative. Offer to split the tab no matter where your date takes you, be prepared to actually pay up, and don't judge the man for accepting your offer of going dutch right now. Realize he's only trying to be fiscally responsible - a trait you actually should be looking for in a man, recession or not.
There are so many things you can do on a date besides going to a restaurant, a bar or the movies. Daytime dates can be just as romantic, and tend to last longer than a night dateâ€¦ or can even turn into one. Packing a picnic for the beach or a hike in the mountains is sweet. Israel is chockful of perfect daytime date venues.
Use our beautiful country for your love life's benefit! A few hours in the car on the way to the Arava is a great time to get to know each other better, and a few hours walking on the tayelet is perfect for hand-holding and talking. Doing something physically challenging, like climbing up Har Arbel, is a great way to build trust.
If this is your third or fourth date, make it a night-in and cook a homemade meal. If you wouldn't know what a cookbook looks like if it hit you in the head, then simply Google your date's favorite meal and follow the recipe step-by-step, or ask your Mom for a few tips.
Even simpler, have your date over for dessert and rent a movie. Light some candles, grab a blanket and get cozy. Nothing is better. My friend Hannah perfected a dessert recipe while on a student's budget at university. It includes items you probably already have: Frozen waffles, ice cream and chocolate syrup. Delicious, fast and easy, and your man will probably think you should apply for culinary school afterwards. Just pop the waffles in the toaster, put a scoop of ice cream on top and drizzle the syrupâ€¦ voilÃ !
Since this recession doesn't seem to be ending anytime in the near future, we all need to make lifestyle changes. It's not gonna be fun, but in the end you'll feel rewarded. Not only will you have accumulated funds in a savings account, but you'll have landed a significant other who appreciates your responsible ways. It's a win-win situation.
The recession is a great opportunity to get back to the root of it all: spending quality time with someone, having deep talks and experiencing new adventures together. Even if you're not having any financial problems at all, you can still change the way you date for the better by remembering what really matters most when you're looking for love: Conversation, chemistry and connection.
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