By Cory Reynolds

Dating can be stressful and expensive in the best of times.  With the economy in the dumps and extra money being harder to come by nowadays, searching for that special someone seemingly got much harder.  Daters are not the only ones feeling the pinch, however.  Many locals businesses that thrived on expendable income and romance are feeling it, too.  Almost every business is trying new things like coupons and specials to bring in some of that lost revenue, so the economy is actually a good climate for those that do a little extra work to find some deals, and those that are looking to cut down on dating costs.  Here are five ways that you can do it, too:

Check Groupon

Groupon is one of the best things ever to happen to daters.  From restaurant specials and farmer’s markets, Groupon has really leveled the playing field when it comes to savings.  Finding a 75% discount on a flight simulation may not seem like a great idea to do solo, but if you are paying pennies on the dollar, it could really be a memorable experience.

Date during off peak times

Another way that businesses try to rake up business is to offer specials during off peak hours.  Movie theaters, dining and theme parks offer great deals if you choose to go during the week, or during the day.  Instead of waiting until Friday or Saturday to go on a date, consider seeing a movie earlier in the evening on a Tuesday, or even going on a Sunday afternoon.  Another advantage to going during off-peak hours is that there will not be as many people around, and you will be able to enjoy whatever you are doing without the throngs of people getting in the way of romance.

Related: First Date Outfit Ideas: Dinner and Movie

Go Dutch

Splitting costs, especially earlier on in a relationship, can help with dating costs, and no unneeded pressure is placed on either dater.  There is nothing wrong with today’s modern woman paying her own way to the movies or to dinner and most people understand about being frugal.

Get outdoors

The typical dating traps like dinner and a movie are not only clichéd, but they can be expensive, too.  There are tons of great things to do outdoors that are free to see.  Being outside is almost guaranteed to be good for conversation and takes pressure off the moment.  There is hardly anything worse than sitting over a costly dinner with a glass of wine and straining for conversation.  Doing an activity outdoors can save not only money, but also win you points for being unique as well.

Related: First Date Oufit Ideas: Outdoor Festival

Cut your date short

Your date has gone well, you have impressed one another, and you two have really clicked.  It is still early on in the night and that twinkle in her eye says she is hoping for a nightcap or drinks after dinner or that long walk through the planetarium.  One way to save is to cut the evening short, and call it a night.  Alternatively, consider finding a park bench near a lake or the beach, or even a table at a Starbucks.  If you can save on drinks, or paying more to spend more time together, you have that little bit of extra cash for next time.  If you decide to call it a night, then you will also help to build suspense for the next date.

Cory Reynolds is a writer for classesandcareers.com — a site with great information about online classes.