Dates aren’t cheap. We all know there’s no such thing as a free lunch — and the same seems to be true for just finding a date these days. Free dating has become something of an oxymoron.
There’s a huge number of dating and matchmaking services that offer to hook you up with like minded or at least likely sources for good dates. Unfortunately, they can be pretty expensive. As well as it is reported to work in terms of matchmaking, eHarmony is an expensive service. It is difficult to estimate the exact cost of their matchmaking, as you have to get pretty involved with the site before they reveal the cost, but there is a monthly charge for certain member priveleges that rivals my monthly cellphone bill. Similar online dating sites, like Match.com, also charge pretty hefty fees just to match you up with potential dates. Add to this the cost of actually taking these dates out — dinner and a movie is not as cheap today as it was even five years ago — and you’ve spent a pretty penny just for a first encounter. Free dating may seem impossible, but there are ways to meet potential dates without draining your wallet.
How to Find a Free Date
One way to access free dating is to circumvent the ‘rules’ imposed by dating services that charge money. I am NOT suggesting you break any rules or laws, but having browsed eHarmony, I see members have found ways to meet people without spending the money for certain member priveleges. As an example, on one popular dating service, you can be matched with any number of dates, but must pay before you get their contact information. Easy way around that without breaking the rules? Simply post your phone number or your email in your free profile. Plenty of members on the dating site I’m referrring to (the most popular on the web) are already doing this, and reaping the benefits of free dating through an otherwise expensive dating service.
More good news — there are free dating services on the web. Plentyoffish.com, based on the “Plenty of fish in the sea” expression we all heard from our mothers growing up, is a matchmaking service based on mathematical algorithms that were rewarded with a Nobel prize in mathematics (believe it or not), and there is no charge. The site claims to have made millions of matches — 18,000,000 dates will be made this year according to the site’s administrators — and at no cost, this is one free dating / matchmaking option that doesn’t require you to bend the rules. There are plenty of fish in the sea, after all, and you don’t have to pay a ton of cash to meet them. Free dating is as close as your web browser, just point it to Plentyoffish.com and start fishing.
Social networking sites, like Facebook and Myspace, cost you nothing and are a viable way to meet free dates. Myspace and Facebook even allow their members to notate if they are looking for dates, friends, networking, etc — so you know upfront if a person you’re interested in is looking for a date. Build your profile, make some friends, and start looking for people to date in your area. Before you know it, you’ll have plenty of free dates lined up. Another bonus — social networking sites provide details like photos, education, philosophical and religious beliefs, etc — all upfront without having to dig. You can basically be your own matchmaker and set up your own free dating service.
Free Dating Ideas
Now that you’ve met a few people and set up some dates, hopefully all at no cost to you, its time to look for ways to take these people out and show them a good time at no cost to you. That’s right — a first date doesn’t have to cost you a dime. Free dating gets more difficult as relationships get deeper, but a first date is a perfect chance to set up a no cost meeting. In fact, many first date ideas that cost you zero are more romantic than those that will have you reaching for your debit card. Here’s some free dating ideas, perfect for first or early dates.
1. Take a walk
If the city you’re meeting your date in is big enough to have a “town square” or a particularly hip neighborhood, you can simply suggest a nice walk. This will give you and your date a chance to meet, look one another over, and talk — all at no cost to you. Free dating can be as easy as taking a romantic walk with your new friend.
2. Go to an art gallery or museum
Many sites that showcase art offer free or “donation accepted” nights every week — some are free all the time. Do a little research, and set up your date at an art gallery or museum on their free night. Not only will your date think you’re highly cultured, but you won’t have to drop a dime out of pocket. A great free date is a stroll among beautiful works of art, getting to know your new acquaintance, and saving money in the process.
3. Cook a meal at home
If you and your date are comfortable enough with meeting in the home, free dating could just mean cooking your date a meal from the food you already have in the house. Cooking for someone is not only romantic, its financially sound, and you can match what you cook to your new date’s likes and dislikes. Homecooked meals usually taste better and mean more to someone than something bought in a restaurant anyway, and this is one free date that will really impress your new lover — as long as you know what you’re doing in the kitchen.
Now you’ve got the tools for free dating. Before you spend an arm and a leg (and a toe and a finger and an eye) on a date, consider your free dating options. Search for a potential date using any of the above free dating methods, and set up a free first date. Be creative, and remember — you don’t have to advertise the fact that you’re going on a free first date. Once you decide that your new date is worth pursuing, you can start spending your hard earned cash. But why put up a ton of money just for a dud date? Free dating is the new black — and the internet is a great resource for finding that first free date.