It’s a common misconception that the only way to get her attention is to wine and dine her. So get set to run up a bill. Even for those who’ve made peace with the fact that we won’t be able to compete with the guy in the fancy suit taking her to the swankiest restaurant in Ontario, the issue of paying for dates can be tricky. When can we expect to bring up the cost of dining out? At the beginning of the relationship? Far enough into that, how do we break with a pattern we have set? Should we even bother bringing it up at all? It’s not the easiest financial time for most people. But that doesn’t mean she would be any more open to spending more of her money than needed, right? So what’s a guy to do?

The next time you’re browsing online personals, try pretending you’re in a romantic comedy or chick flick. What would you do to get the attention of the girl of your dreams? The most common thing to do according to the movie theatre is to show her something new and different. Take her somewhere she won’t forget not because of the money involved but because she didn’t know about it. That’s always how the less well-off guy gets her attention on film and in our experience, it works well. We almost put a caveat in there about the upper class. But even women who run high society can enjoy something they didn’t expect to live up to their tastes.

Find the Hole in the Wall Restaurants

Can’t afford the five-star prices? Then find the holes in the wall. Skip the chain restaurants and go straight for the parts of town that only locals know. Skip the uptown sushi place. Instead, find the convenience store run by the old Japanese couple that cooks in the back. Bypass the Italian restaurant that has its own commercials. Go to the mom and pop joint they squeezed between a Laundromat and a thrift shop.

Do your research. Go online and look for suggestions. Poke around town and stop in for a bite to eat at different places as you get the chance. Ask coworkers where they go. Talk to people who have lived in the area longer than you to find out where they go for lunch and dinner.

Above all remember to go there first before you ever plan to bring someone back with you. Reviews and accolades only mean so much in the end. Make certain that there’s something there you’re interested in eating too. Go try it out to make sure it’s living up to the hype. Then bring her into the local best. It won’t ever be the Ritz, but that sort of in the know information can impress a girl all the same.

Play Tourist in your Local Area

Another great tip for dates whether you found them in a bar or from, say, Canadian online personals is to take them on a tour of the local area. Every major metropolitan area and even many large towns have a tourist trap or two. They even have an information center you can check out to find what tourists come to look at when visiting. Chances are locals haven’t been to historical or tourist attractions like a visitor. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance she doesn’t even know what they are. Can you name any? Neither could we when we first started looking.

This all goes back to the same idea of showing her something new and different. Well, new to her at any rate. Chances are if it’s maintained for tourism, it’s actually pretty old. More than likely, it’s also pretty cheap. There’s usually a few free locations at least. Look for trails to walk, down which you’ll find the old historical sites and bits of information along the way. So invite her into town and take her on a walk once you know enough to sound halfway intelligent while you’re doing it. Don’t ruin the moment because you didn’t prepare in advance.

Find the Obscure Shops and Thrift Stores

Nothing says you were planning a day in, say, Ontario around her like mapping out all private, non-franchise stores. This is actually a pretty good choice all around. If she already likes to shop – with her card, of course – you’ve given her the holy grail of shopping: a chance to find something unique. If someone else can’t run out and buy it, no matter how cheap it actually was, you scored with this date idea.

If she’s artistic or likes crafts, take her to the antique stores. At the very least you can window shop and learn more about her tastes. That’ll help when it comes to finding the perfect gift for the next occasion. There’s also a pretty good chance that you’ll find something low priced as well. If she’s into sewing and crafts, head to a thrift store instead. It’s a costume designer’s paradise. Many areas even have places that give away unused ends of the fabric. Toss it in a search engine to see if you’re close!

Don’t Forget About the Wonders of Nature

Then, of course, we come to the options for the outdoorsy girl. Unless your idea of a good time is climbing a mountain or canoeing, chances are she might enjoy nature with the same sort of calm wonder as you prefer. Nature-based recreation can be a great idea for the athletic but low on cash. Every city or town has some biking or hiking trail available or other nature parks nearby. Driving or catching a bus to the nearest park shouldn’t be too difficult no matter where you are.

If you, your girl, or both aren’t that athletic, there are still ways to enjoy the outdoors. Ice skating in an outdoor rink comes to mind in the colder months. Why not try a good old fashion picnic? You can find directions for what to put in the basket on the first page of the search results from any engine. Even if you met her through browsing Canadian online personals, anyone taken out for a picnic on a nice day is going to remember that date for a while. It seems cliché, but remember how few people do that these days. If you want to score some charm points, do something old-fashioned, even if it’s no longer popular.

So look into the trails, the parks, the vistas and the various events held by towns and cultural centers. There’s bound to be something in the great outdoors to suit her tastes.