Dating is expensive. It’s easy to drop $100 on just the car-share ride and dinner. But there are plenty of ways to keep romance alive without dropping a lot of cash.

1.Take a staycation

It’s OK to date yourself. If you can manage to leave your kids for a night, and you have $50 to blow, sneak a little me time in a tiny 

house in someone’s Oak Cliff backyard. Our neighborhood’s AIRBNB offerings include a Shasta trailer in the Bishop Arts District for about $69 a night or a guesthouse with pool access for about $90 a night. You can also live your best Euro-trash life and stay in a Gucci-themed “penthouse” for about $70a night. If Oak Cliff is too close to home, venture across the bridge to the Lower Greenville area, where there’s a 1980s-themed AIRBNB that features a Ninja Turtles arcade, Nintendo and all the junky cereal you could want for a little over $100 a night.

More info:

Also try: Downtown hotels

This will cost you more, like $100-$300 a night, but there’s cable TV, room service and a pool.

2. Watch a bad movie on VHS

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Such classic titles as “Geteven,” “Empire of the Dark” and other films that rate below three stars on Rotten Tomatoes show up on the big screen during Tuesday Night Trash at the Texas Theatre. The theater reserves every first and third Tuesday to showing terrible movies on VHS. They’re fun; they’re funny; and best of all, they’re free.

Where: The Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd.

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Also try: Top Ten Records, 338 W. Jefferson Blvd.

Be on the lookout for live music events at Top Ten, which often feature avant-garde and experimental acts, usually for $5-$10.

3. Wednesday night jazz at Revelers Hall

Photo credit: Danny Fulgencio

This is tricky because if your partner is a big drinker, it will not be a cheap date. Otherwise, there’s a $5 per person cover charge, and y’all can practice your swing-dance moves and people-watch while nursing fancy cocktails.

Where: Revelers Hall, 412 N. Bishop Ave.

More info:

Also try: The Wild Detectives,
314 W. Eighth St.

Watch for live-music events at The Wild Detectives, which often have a local or multicultural bent and typically cost less than $20 for entr

4. Find a happy hour

Did you know that happy hour is not even common in many other cities? You are so lucky to live in Dallas, where discount-drink time sometimes goes until 7 p.m. Sip handcrafted cocktails at Tiny Victories, when they’re half price from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. If you really want to get down, try El Ranchito, where enormous margaritas cost $4 during happy hour (3-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday). They also offer a $5 plate of plain chicken nachos during happy hour, plus the free chips and salsa, a jukebox playing ’90s R&B and very entertaining regulars.

Also try: Monday-night sushi at Zen, 380 W. Seventh St.

They say you shouldn’t eat sushi on Mondays, but honey, you should if it’s half price. A limited number of rolls and nigiri costs $3-$5 each all night on Mondays.

5. Roller disco

Photo credit: Danny Fulgencio

Southern Skates Roller Rink is cheap because your tax dollars subsidize it. The City of Dallas owns it, and the park and recreation department runs it. The rink has limited hours. Open skate only happens on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, and otherwise it’s available to rent for private parties. But on Thursday nights, it’s adults only skate from 9:30 p.m.-1 a.m. It costs just $5 for entry and $3 for skate rental.

Where: Southern Skates Roller Rink,
2939 E. Ledbetter Dr.

More info:

Also try: Red Bird Skateland,
1206 N. Duncanville Road

Adults only skate is from 8:30-9:30 p.m. Thursdays. Admission costs $3 and includes skate rental.

6. Go hiking

Photo credit: Danny Fulgencio

Photo credit: Danny Fulgencio

Twelve Hills Nature Center is the small-but-mighty preserve on the edge of the Kings Highway neighborhood. With a half-mile unpaved path, it’s perfect for a sunset walk with someone you’re getting to know. It also features semi-private nature nooks where you can have a picnic on a blanket and maybe even a bit of a make-out sesh. Look for more events here this spring. The nonprofit that runs the park is planning free events such as educational nature walks.

More info:

Also try: Cedar Ridge Preserve, 7171 Mountain Creek Pkwy.

This hiking trail on the edge of Duncanville features several miles of trail, including one quarter-mile trail that is wheelchair accessible.