A good sense of humor is probably the most important aspect of this date. Once your companion realizes you're headed to the Dollar Store, there might be some initial resistance. For that reason, it's generally best to keep it cryptic about the destination address.
But fret naught, it's easy to overcome and I explain exactly how I conduct this outing.
Obviously, without a Dollar Store... this date pretty much doesn't work.
And of course, without your $5+, you'd otherwise be leaving empty handed.
Take your date by the hand, and walk each isle, suggesting items for one of their 5 and asking their opinion on each thing that catches your eye. At the end, ring up your purchase and go find something fun to do with the 5 items.
I almost made this mistake once and had to rush to make it with my date before they closed. So, lesson learned is check the store hours during the planning phase of this outing. 9pm was when the Dollar Stores closed for me, but Dollar Tree or Dollar Emporium or Dollar-Whatever you have in your area probably have different hours.
Better make sure there are at least a couple options in your area and you're not having to drive 45 miles each way to spend $5.
If you've never seen a a zombie movie before, you're going to need to be a fast learner.
Also, you'll probably need to grab a shopping cart (duh...) and maybe even a disguise (assuming you want to come back here and shop someday).
Pretty straight forward way to narrow down the "when" is: business hours.
Short of being a key-holding store employee, you will probably need to stick to the standard open-to-close times provided on their website.
But once you have that window figured out, you can further determine the best time. Weekend afternoons are AWAYS going to be busy, but they are also always going to have the 'Senior Buffet' aka the billion sample brunch. There will be no less than a dozen employees, setup & handing out food samples. While you're filling your cart with survival essentials, make sure to fuel-up with all the samples you can eat. Plus, this may possibly save you from having to pay for a real meal later. Always thinking...
Better make sure there are at least a couple options in your area and you're not having to drive hours to find a warehouse club store
What would your lives be like living in this display room? Does IKEA rent these rooms out after-hours to people? Maybe a new revenue stream for them...? Like an AirBnB, but IKEAirBnB. They can even provide a continent breakfast (only 1 continent). I don't know, but it's something you two can discuss..
Play it safe, go check their website and figure out when they close. Yes, I too like to live dangerously, but some things you just don't leave to chance...
To further drill down, what are you looking for? Relaxed conversation? A platform for people watching? If it's busy (like on the weekends or around "back to school" time), you will have a slew of interesting people to observe and create backstories for. Otherwise, if you want a little less chaos, you might want to stick to non-peak hours/days.)
Hopefully there's an IKEA location around you (you can use the "Find A.." feature to check). Assuming so, then this should be pretty straightforward.
If there is NOT an IKEA location close by to you... pick a different activity.
Using a free wedding registry service like Target.com's, head to a location and grab a hand scanner from the customer service department. From there, you and your date can roam the isles, scanning and adding the craziest items to your list in hopes that some rich wedding guest will buy it for you (or at least look at it and wonder "wtf?!?")
Whether it's a first date or the 14th, you get to image yourselves as if you were gong to get hitched (make up the reason) and now it's your chance to ask for all the crap you can't afford on your own!
I think Target's open til like 11pm in many places. But reglardless, it's probably best to check the store hours first before heading out there. Otherwise you'll have your first nearly-married-fight.
As you can probably tell.... I suggest Target. However, there may not be a location in your area and you can choose something like Bed Bath & Beyond or Macy's instead. All of them should have free services and hand scanners. (it's only fun if you get to goto the store and scan stuff with the laser thing).
Find a decent thrift store, a good day to go, and someone to join the journey.
You can create your own list of things to find, or you can use some of the items in here.
If so, you can pretty much go whenever you want then.
(best to have a decent escape plan or a getaway ride waiting if you are choosing to B&E)
Goodwill, Salvation Army, or any other Thrift Store you can find around your area.
There's no way you haven't heard of The Secret by now (or some variation of The Law of Attraction). One of the things they talk about is creating a Vision Board. Think of this like a grade-school collage project where you just cut out pictures of all the stuff you want and words/letters that have special meaning to you. This can be anything from serious to goofy, which is great--it doesn't pigeon hole yourself into some dry, boring blah thing.
So, grab as many magazines and old junk mail as you can, find some old newspapers or cool advertisement flyers and then start cutting up the pieces that make up your future fabulous life.
Depending where you end up going may further narrow down WHEN you do it.
If you choose to spread your art projects out over the tables of a local cafe, great. Figure out their business hours and least busy times, schedule it up & go!
Otherwise, if you plan to make things a little more private, one of your places is probably the ideal situation. As long as there's somewhere to cut, glue, and chat, you're golden.
Once you have your magazines and glue-sticks and such, you can pretty much just post up at someone house--or, if you're a real gangster, a 24-hour diner or Starbucks. Covering your table with magazine scraps and blobs of non-toxic glue are probably not in the restaurant's job description (though that might be nicer to pick up than half-finished pancakes or a picked-apart chicken sandwich.
But regardless of where you choose, as long as you keep it playful, it'll be a fun time.
The idea is pretty simple. You are trying to get the best deal for an item of your choosing. Whether it's a graphic tee or an old action figure, whoever can haggle for the biggest discount is the winner.
Take it a step further and whoever can find the best value, meaning what do you think the owner paid vs. what price did you pay at the garage sale for it?
Final game variation, whoever can get the MOST items for their money is the winner.
Usually, garage sales are linked to "nice weather". No one wants to be walking around in the rain from house to house in your ritsy neighborhood, trying to find bargains.
Most often, you can find listings for garage sales in the newspaper, Craigslist, or on Facebook. I remember when I was a child, we would have a neighborhood garage sale. All the houses around the neighborhood would collectively put up signs around the area and, on the agreed upon weekend, would open their garage doors to any roving weirdos who wanted to see their old stuff.
tl;dr check the newspaper, craigslist, or facebook.
Often times, homeowners will group together and host a neightborhood garage sale. You can pretty much bank on parking your car somewhere in the neighborhood and then walking from garage to garage as you play your games.
The rukes are pretty straightforward and simple:
Find each item on the list, take a picture of it, and text it to your potential-partner before they text you.
This game requires you to have exchanged phone numbers (scoooooore!).
As long as you start prior to last call (and you're a total night owl I guess), you can make this work just about anywhere. Obviously the easiest time to do this would be some sort of business hours that facilitate photo taking.
Example: If you're a shy person to begin with, you might not feel totally comfortable snapping random pictures. You might be the type of person who is constantly thinking, "...are people lookoing at me? Do they think what I'm doing is weird? Oh shit.. do they think I'm like a spy or something?"
So, if you're one of those people who (like me) is constantly "in their head" about stuff, you may want to choose hours/days that are traditionally not as packed. However, if you're a fan of people-watching, you may want to hit the peak hours where you have prime viewing.
The name sort of implies the location of the outing... so, if you didn't pick that up by now, well.. this one probably isn't for you (and this whole series of cheap dates probably isn't for you either come to think of it... no refunds, though.)
A ride on the bus isn't too terrible when you've got great companionship or at least some weird people to watch.
Take a nice loop around your city with your own (public) driver. And to further pass the time, there is a list of items you should be trying to locate.
Basically, if I-Spy was on the bus... which is what you'd be doing.
You get the idea..
I think the busses around me run until 12:30am most nights. Your town's public transit may differ, so besbest to check your city's website or transportation provider to get accurate times.
You can probably Google-maps the bus route around your city and see the approx. length of time it takes to make the full round.
Might want to get an idea of this beforehand, just in case...
Bus, subway, train, etc. Probably not a viable idea to play inside an Uber or Lyft... but if you've got the money to burn.. the private experience might be that extra wow factor that will really impress your date. However, considering this is CheapSkateDates, I don't think the private-cab thing is a smart way to redistribute your wealth.
You may consider what the safest route is, or secondarily--the most scenic route--to take.