Inexpensive Ideas for Dates

Let’s face it, a lighter wallet can be troublesome and awkward when you’re planning a romantic evening. It severely limits your options and you there’s a risk of disappointment when you stick to a simple (and cheap) routine for your date night. With a little bit of creativity though, you will be able to turn that simple couch movie into something amazing. You won’t need to have a lot of skills or money in bank for these simple, inexpensive ideas for dates.

Go on a Picnic Date

All you need is a comfortable blanket, a packed lunch and some drinks – that’s it. Of course, you also have to consider in the weather factor. No one likes to stay outside during a typhoon and it won’t be romantic when you’re both under the sweltering heat. Once the weather permits it, you can go to park or any secluded spots you know of. For food, you can make simple sandwiches and bring fruits for dessert. If your budget allows it, you can also bring champagne or a bubbly beverage, so you can make it feel a bit classy. Just remember to engage in conversation; otherwise it could be a very pleasant yet boring date.

Teach Her Manual Driving

Some women who don’t know how to drive a manual transmission car always wish they knew. If you have a manual transmission car or if you have access to one, then you’re all set. All you need is a wide enough space or a big parking lot for her to practice in. Last but most important thing you need to bring to this date is a huge amount of patience. Women like it when they feel empowered or if a guy empowers them; but they hate it when you constantly nag or get upset with every little thing.

Cook Together

This is one of the many activities you can enjoy at home. For expense, the ingredients which you both use will be the only thing you need to buy (or the Chinese take-out later). You can start off by learning how to cook each other’s favorite dishes, then you both try them at the same time. Keep in mind that although it’s better to be honest, always consider your partner’s feelings and eat their dish with a grain of salt.

Go Shooting

A rifle range might not sound very high on that dating list, but its uniqueness and ruggedness make it a very good surprise. There are a lot of shooting ranges out there that let you borrow their guns without a fee, all you need to pay is the bullets or magazines. To make things interesting, you could have a friendly competition and compare targets after. The loser will buy the next round of magazines or ice cream after.

Take Advantage of the Indie Scene

If there are a lot of independent or new artists in your area, chances are that they are dying for an audience. A simple internet search will let you know if there are any gigs happening in your area. To get to know each other’s music tastes better, you can alternate who chooses the music genre. If you also want to maximize your savings, you can bring a flask of booze.

Enjoy a Flea Market Together

Instead of going to the mall or some pricey outlet store, you could go to the flea market instead. You’d be surprised at the fun things you never thought existed and you might even find a bargain or two. Plus, you’ll also get to know each other’s awkward hobbies or embarrassing collection in the process. The good thing about it is that you won’t feel bad if you don’t buy something and if you do want to buy something, the price is very cheap.

Indulge Your Sweet Teeth

If you or your partner enjoys dessert and treats it like the best part in the meal, you can both go to a chocolate or cookie factory tour. You can search for factories in the area and call them up if they do tours. Some can do tours, but only for group tours. If that is the case, then you can bring in another couple or two, and make it a group date. You’ll expand your knowledge regarding sweets, and you can enjoy the free treats as well.

Have a Potluck

If you want to invite your friends over but you’re a bit short on cash you could suggest having a potluck dinner instead. You and your partner could cook the main dish while the other couples could bring appetizer or dessert. This will give you the chance to show off your culinary abilities, and in the event wherein your dish will be inedible, it will give you a lot to talk about during dinner.

Have a Zoo Outing

You can kick your animal instincts up a notch by going to a petting zoo together. You can bring a picnic basket to enjoy that homey feel together (and save money). You could even bring bread, so that you won’t have to spend on anything else except for the entrance fee. As a bonus, you could jump in the shower together after – to get rid of the zoo smell of course.

Play 20 Questions

Even if you’ve been going out for years already, there’s still a huge area about your partner which you may not know about. Prepare open-ended questions, so that the answer will not be a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Just a word of precaution though, some topics might be sensitive for your partner so while you are making your questions, you should establish some ground rules like which topics are okay and which should be avoided.

Take a Hike

If you or your partner is physically capable, try going on a hike together. All you need is a good amount of time and your hiking wear. While hiking, don’t forget to chat each other up or you’ll defeat the purpose of the date. For a dating bonus, you could also spend time watching the stars or the sunset together.

Take Community Classes Together

This is a very good idea if you want to learn a new skill and meet new people. Community classes also offer a wide range of classes from karate to cooking, so you’ll never run out of options. The best part about this is that they are free or cheap so you won’t have to worry about long term expenses. Aside from learning a new skill together, you could also treat it like play time and get to know about your partner more.

Whether your wallet is dipping low or if you’ve simply run out of suggestions, there are a lot of ideas on how to have inexpensive dates. These won’t strain your wallet or relationship, but they let you and your partner know about each other more as well as let you enjoy your time together.

How to Improve Your Memory

Many people confuse being forgetful with just plain inattention. To cite some familiar examples, ‘forgetting’ where you left your keys, your cell phone’s location or where you placed your handbag isn’t the same as forgetting your first telephone number decades ago, your 3rd grade math test score, or what your best friend’s first address is. First, we are going to point the difference between the two sets of examples, then we will move on to how you can improve your overall memory.

Short-term Vs Long-Term Memory

If you noticed, the first set of examples talk about things you may have done just a few minutes or hours ago. When you come home, you slip into something comfortable or prepare to relax. During the process, you might have placed your keys or wallet somewhere you couldn’t remember. The problem with short-term memory is that inattention will force you to ‘neglect’ those memory cues. It’s not that you forgot where you placed them; the problem was that you never really bothered to notice since your mind was somewhere else.

The second set of examples talk about something ages ago that you are sure to forget. For this group of examples, the main reason why you forgot about them is that you didn’t really bother to think about it and it just got buried under other more important information. Unless you always think or refer back to your first phone number, there’s very little chance you’ll still have it in your memory.

Your Brain Potential

There’s an age-old adage that says “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” When it comes to the brain, it doesn’t hold true. Keep in mind that the human brain has an astonishing ability to adapt and change – even in our golden years. We simply think that learning is only applicable for young people, but that’s because during the young or formative years, the brain absorbs information easily. With the right stimulation, you brain can adapt to absorb new information.

Exercise and Sleep

Similar to how an athlete needs sleep and a strict diet to perform his or her best, your brain’s ability also relies on getting the right nutrition, healthy habits, and a good night’s sleep. For exercise, it’s not only limited to shaping your muscles. When you exercise, there is a healthy oxygen flow to your brain and this will keep it well nourished. Aside from a healthy oxygen flow, our body also releases certain chemicals that help protect your brain cells.

If you do not get enough sleep, tasks involving problem-solving or critical thinking can be difficult. When you’re studying, balancing your finances, in the office, or even out in the convenience store, lacking in sleep can make simple things difficult for you. Another reason why sleep is important for your brain is that it helps with consolidating your memory. Memory consolidation is the process when a short-term memory (like the notes you just read a while ago) will be placed in the long-term memory of your brain, so that you can recall it easily when you need it later on.

Brain Exercises with Friends

Improving your ‘memory muscle’ isn’t limited to crosswords, chess, and other mental puzzles. Research shows that social interaction or having activities with friends will benefit your brain more. This is because when we’re interacting or meeting new people, we have to remember names, appointment schedules, and our brain experiences new things in a new environment. Lastly, frequently socializing with friends can significantly slow down the rate in which your memory declines.

Simple activities like joking around or laughter can also help your brain. Other emotional responses like being angry or focused only use specific areas of your brain. In the case of laughter though, it engages multiple regions across your entire brain. Plus, listening to other people’s jokes and trying to figure out punch lines stimulate the same areas of your brain that are responsible for learning and creativity. That’s one more reason to goof around with friends and have fun.

Avoid Stress

Aside from the physical wear and tear that stress causes, you can also see how people can’t focus on their daily tasks and their attention span becomes severely limited. With chronic stress, it can physically destroy brain cells and damage the region of your brain responsible for creating new memories and in the storage of old ones. This means that remembering the tasks you outlined last week can be difficult to remember and even processing new information like the new guidelines for your company might be too difficult to comprehend for you.

If you find yourself under a lot of stress for long periods of time, try to meditate for a few minutes. Meditation has been scientifically proven to improve focus, concentration, and learning skills. Another benefit for meditation is that it creates more physical connections between your brain cells. The result of this would be that your mental acuity and memory will be sharpened.

Drink in Moderation

Talking about memory and alcohol, a lot of people completely disregard the notion of drinking alcohol or wine before studying or an important event. Of course, that belief is not without basis as a hangover will remind you. We’ve heard about people who have fuzzy recollections or lost their memories about what they did the night before. Even simple mental tasks like counting backwards or reciting the alphabet can become tricky under the influence of alcohol.

However light to moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to boost memory. As strange as it may sound, studies focusing on older people have shown that light to moderate drinkers are less likely to suffer mental diseases when they get old. Since we’re talking about alcohol, always remember that there are certain risk factors involved, so you should be well aware before you make it a ‘light’ habit. If you’re not a drinker in the first place, then we’re not telling you to start as well. Just keep things in moderation that’s it.

Visualize and Associate

Remember the saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words?’ If you need to remember a specific date, object, or process, then visualizing it and what happens along the way of that process can help you understand the entire material and can facilitate absorption.

When you need to remember large numbers of groups or objects, it can be difficult to remember it individually. What you can do instead is picture out how those numbers or objects are related to each other. Make up a crazy story if you like. It sounds bizarre and weird, but it’s also fun (you don’t have to share it with everyone anyway). Visualization is the root of many memory tips. You can even practice using it on everyday lists or small objects until you get the hang of it.

Your memories are one of your most precious possessions and old age is no excuse to let go of it. There are many more ways on how to improve your memory, we’ve just covered the basics so that you’ll get your mind healthier and maintain that state of mental health as you grow old.

Guide to Basic Etiquette

With the fast paced society, a lot of people tend to forget the common courtesy or basic etiquette. Whether it’s in the movie theater, church, a date, or when you just hang out with friends, there are still common courtesies that need to be followed. While some people might think that courtesy is old-fashioned or just showing off, proper manners speak a lot about your character and influence how people treat you in return. It is more important that you follow common courtesy in a business relationship to let the other party know that they are dealing with a well educated professional. Listed below are some common practices to help refine your social grace and improve other people’s impression of you.

Proper Greetings

A simple “please” or “thank you” can really do wonders and can even brighten another person’s day. It will show that you are considerate towards other people. Even if you think that the other party is being rude, it is generally in your best interest to be polite rather than stooping low to their crude level.

Cap Courtesy

For men (and some women), you should always remove your cap when you go indoors. When someone doesn’t remove their cap even when requested, it will seem suspicious and downright rude. Of course, a baseball cap is commonly used when your hair is a bit messy and you need to keep it in place. However when you go indoors, it is imperative to remove your cap no matter how messy your hair is.

Door Holding

When people talk about holding the door open for someone, you might generally assume that it only applies for men. It’s not entirely wrong, since men are still expected to hold the door open for ladies, allowing them to enter or to exit first before the man. On the other hand, ladies are not entirely exempted from this gesture as well. If there are in the presence of elders or if someone is carrying a lot of things, then a lady can open the door for that other person. When a gentleman has a passenger in his car, he should always go around and open it for her.

Avoid Tardiness

Nothing is more insulting than keeping the other party waiting for you. It shows that you’re not good at keeping your appointments and you will even give the impression that that appointment isn’t very important for you. Whether it’s a get-together with friends, a date, or a business meeting, always show up before the appointed time. If tardiness is a reoccurring issue for you, make it a point to set your alarm earlier or make use of multiple alarms.

Discreetly Groom Yourself

If you have something that needs to be picked, scratched, fixed, or any other forms of grooming, don’t do it in a crowd. Not only does it show that you are unprepared, but it can also show that you are inconsiderate for the other party. In these situations, it’s best to hold if off until you arrive home or until you have access to a comfort room. For ladies, it’s acceptable to quickly retouch lipstick without the aid of a mirror – discretion is key here.
It’s not okay however, when you use a compact and/or other form of make-up paraphernalia for an extensive retouch on your face. For both genders, you should avoid nail-clipping and/or nail-filing in public.

Use Gum Minimally

The only reasons for you to chew gum is when you have an offensive breath or dry mouth. If you really need to chew it, do so in the car during stop signs or when you’re not busy. If you need to chew it in public, chew it discretely, don’t smack it, or play with it.

Silence Your Phone

When go to a public place, you should set your ringer to vibrate. If you’re not expecting any important calls then you don’t have to pick up. That’s the reason voice mail exists. If you are waiting for something important, then you can have yourself excused politely and go somewhere private to take the call. Since you’re there on another business, don’t stay too long on the phone and keep your companion/s waiting. If you think it will take too long, then explain the situation to your caller and tell them you will give them a ring back at a more convenient time.

Avoid Touchy Issues

It is basic courtesy to keep your conversation topics at a safe range. Topics about finances, personal beliefs, or political views should be avoided unless you have a very intimate relationship with the person. Touchy topics have a very high tendency of leading to an aggravated or a heated argument. When that does happen, you don’t need to shout or use vulgar language to get your point across.

Restaurant Seating

If you’re in the company of the opposite sex in the restaurant, the lady chooses the seat and the man assists her. In the event when the table is located in the corner or near a wall, the woman faces out and the man faces in. Of course, he would want to look at the most beautiful thing in the room. In case you’re eating with someone of the same sex, then the guest gets to choose the best seat. For close friends, any seating goes.

Speak and Listen

This basic courtesy shouldn’t even be listed here, it should be common sense; but people seem to forget this fact. This is even why many relationships dissolve in a matter of seconds. When you other party speaks, you should listen. If they have a habit to drone on for hours, then you can softly interject when they pause in their speech. Never cut someone off mid-sentence. In the same situation, when you speak, you should give your entire idea, don’t stagger or beat around the bush. It makes the conversation lengthy and boring.

Meal Mishaps

Accidents happen, more so when we’re nervously eating in an important setting. However when these happen, don’t make a big fuss over it and distract the other patrons. If the accident is minimal or it only affected you, then move on with the meal as if nothing happened. On the other hand, if you spill something on another customer, you should apologize profusely and offer to pay for the dry cleaning; it’s basic courtesy. In the event when you spill something or make a mess on your host’s table cloth, you should talk with the host in private after the meal and offer to pay for cleaning. If the host insists you don’t need to, don’t force the issue. However, it would be beneficial to send a new table cloth or wine with a note of apology. Little acts like these are after all the foundations of etiquette.

Outdoor Settings

If you’re in a picnic, it can be easier to forget table manners; you can’t put your elbows on the table after all. Even if this is the case, never forget that you should still make other persons feel at ease during the meal and that you shouldn’t damage or soil another person’s clothing.

Common courtesy should be similar to common sense, however many people disregard this and they even insist on their own crude methods. A well educated person will read more about basic etiquette guides that can help you with your personal and business relationships. It affects our daily life after all.