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So, you’ve finally managed to not be single for the holiday season. Good for you! But have you ever noticed that when you first start seeing someone, your bank account really starts to dwindle?

In our society, dating has become more about money and less about the quality time spent together. But sometimes, unique date experiences, when well-thought out, mean so much more than money. Here are six organic winter date ideas that won’t break your bank.

Connect in the kitchen.

One of you are hopefully a decent cook. Even if not, it’s about the experience, right? Use a cookbook to make fun, Christmas dishes and desserts. Or just grab your favorite cookie dough (Nestle Tollhouse, there is no competition), and bake some cookies to indulge in. Or just eat the whole roll of dough raw, that’s a bonding experience in itself.

Drive around and look at Christmas lights.

Christmas lights are fleeting nowadays, but it seems like every town has that one neighborhood that’s known for their expansive collection of lights each year. Drive through with some Christmas jams in the background and a couple of Starbucks drinks (or full Chipotle burrito bowls, we don’t judge).

Hotel hop.

Similar to Christmas-light sightseeing, but accelerated. Fun fact: You don’t have to book a hotel room to visit a hotel. Hotel hopping is one of the best date ideas ever because it’s absolutely free. Most major towns have at least one bourgie five-star hotel that decks their halls—literally.

Spend an evening scoping out the lobbies of popular hotels in the area. Check out the festive decor and grab a free cup of coffee or hot chocolate from the lobby as if you belong there.

Free day at the museum

Almost every museum has a day during the week where admission is completely free. This is a fun, free date year-round, but most museums are planted downtown in major cities, which are usually decorated extravagantly for the holidays.

It will also give you a space to escape the cold, and museums are effective in sparking interesting conversation. Some museums even have restaurants inside along with movie theaters for limited-time exhibits. Take a stroll and be a tourist in your own city.

Have a Game night.

Game nights are fun for everyone, even if it’s just the two of you. Break out the old Scrabble board and impress your date with words like “quartzy,” or spend 10 full hours together on a never-ending game of Monopoly.

Christmas movies and chill?

Gather a few close friends and drink hot chocolate together while you watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas for the hundredth time.

Serve together.

This time of year, charities need volunteers more than ever. Consider a date where you each buy toys for underprivileged children to donate, serve food together at a homeless shelter or if you want a real laugh, go caroling together at a nursing home. You could also choose a local charity together and reach out to ask how you can volunteer. According to science, giving back to charity isn’t just good for your conscience, it’s good for your health too.

We all face pressure to impress our dates sometimes with extravagant dinners and fancy theme-park adventures, but that’s not always feasible, especially when it comes to the busy winter months. Odds are, your date will find that the quality time and effort put into these dates means so much more than just another Cheesecake Factory dinner and an overpriced movie.

Love & Money content is created in partnership with brightpeak Financial

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