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Cheap dates aren't necessarily bad

Dating is a fun part of our culture, but contrary to popular belief, it doesn't have to come with a big price tag. There are any number of dates available for less than $10.

One fun idea begins with a trip to the grocery store. Each person gets five bucks and 10 minutes to find their dinner. While racing through the aisles, you can split up and fend for yourselves, or pool your money and go big, but don't forget silverware, because you'll need it once you get to the second half of your date — a picnic in the park.

There, you're allowed to use napkins — if you remembered to grab some earlier — and your favorite Frisbee becomes your plate! Depending on the park, your activity can include throwing the Frisbee-plate around and hiking. If you're not an active couple, you can always bring a deck of cards and play your choice of games. If the weather gets in your way, you can always make your picnic a tailgate party, or bring a sled along.

After all, if the point of a date is to have fun, and to get to know someone, you don't need to spend a fortune to do it!

— Emma Sheffield, junior,

Olympus High School

My idea for a date, $10 or less, would be going to McDonald's or Wendy's and ordering a few things off the dollar menus, then taking your food to a place with a pretty view for a picnic.

— Carrie Lyman,

senior, Kearns High School

On Saturday, Feb. 1, I went on a "disaster date." It cost about $20, but could have been cut down to $10.

First, we went to eat dinner, which cost about $10. Then we went to a movie, which we ended up walking out of. (The movie was $10, but since we walked out, you could just cancel that out of the total). Then, we were going to go to a comedy club, and had an hour to spare, so I drove down some side roads, and broke the ignition key to my Jeep. So we were too late for the comedy club, and just went up to Sugar House, and looked at all the nice old houses.

Everyone else who went thought the evening was extremely fun. Because everything that went wrong was my fault.

— Ryan Lee Rieger,

junior, West Jordan High

It's Friday night and you're getting ready to go out on a date — so that means you have to empty your bank account, right? Wrong!

It is quite easy for teens to go on a fun and memorable date without spending more than $10. A classic and traditional date is to go see a dollar movie and then go out for ice cream afterward, or to go to someone's house to eat pizza and watch a movie.

Another idea that doesn't cost a thing and is a big hit with teens is to play "Left/Right." This is a game where you are in a car and use your intuition, and "feel" whether to turn left or right when you come to intersections. A bonus is that the chances of getting lost in Salt Lake City are slim, and while on your expedition you will definitely find some new and interesting places that you never knew existed.

It's also fun to take a camera with you, to take pictures of the places you visit, and that way you don't feel like you're just out driving around aimlessly. These pictures will trigger memories of your special date for years to come.

— Brooke Niemeyer,

junior, Cottonwood High School

My friend and I have a goal to go on at least 100 dates before we get married. I'm on number 19, and she's on 28 or so. Therefore, we like inexpensive dates.

During the summer, one of our favorite things to do for a date was to go to a nearby park with cereal, milk, bowls and spoons. We would eat and talk, then play on the playground.

Just hanging out together is much better than any expensive date, like a movie, where you don't even get to know your date.

— Michelle Glauser,

senior, Olympus

My suggestions for a $10 date are:

— Play video games.

— Work a volunteer job at a state event or concert (to get in free).

— Go to a park and swing; play on the playground.

— Play the "shopping-cart game:" Each couple must put 15 items in their cart, then meet up with the other couple and switch carts, and the first to put everything back — no cheating! — wins!

— Progressive dinners, and you can do things at dinner like tying together your fork and your date's fork with a string, eat blindfolded, eat only finger foods or play the copying game (one person sneezes, everyone sneezes, coughs, etc.).

— Play games like Uno Attack! Truth or Dare Jenga or Twister.

— Make a dutch-oven dinner and hike in the mountains.

— Go sledding, tubing or ice blocking.

— Have a theme date (for a "Mexican" themed date, buy sombreros and wear them all night, etc.).

— Do a video-camera scavenger hunt.

— Do a survey at the mall.

— Play "fugitive" at night, which is kind of like cops-and-robbers, with one group in a car and the others running for their lives from point A to point B, trying not to get caught.

— Mallory Hill,

junior, Murray High School

If you are a Utah high school student who has a suggestion for a $10 date, please e-mail it to or write to the Deseret News, attention: Susan Whitney.