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Soulmates on a Shoestring

Looking for love? Aren't we all? Finding someone to tug at your heartstrings doesn't have to break the bank with these great dating ideas.

1. Put yourself in low-cost, singles-rich environments.

Mates’ parties, the local pub on a Friday night, singles events arranged by websites like Meetup.com: these are all places you can go without spending much, or any, money and be confident about running into lots of fellow singletons.

2. Work it.

Even if you’re not the type to date workmates, use work events like Friday night drinks to meet someone outside your department. And conferences are the perfect opportunity to meet people from other organisations. The best bit? It's all on your employer's tab! Doing volunteer work for a cause you care about can also be a great way to meet potential 'friends' who share your values.

3. Check out free dating sites.

Cynics argue you get what you pay for, but there’s no denying that Tinder and similar websites like Plenty of Fish have revolutionised the dating scene in recent years. It might not be fair, but ladies can usually use fee-charging dating sites for little or no cost. And yes, there are plenty of stories out there of people who find love this way.

4. Take a holiday.

OK, this one isn't completely without cost but it's entirely possible to go away for a few days, recharge your batteries and enjoy some summer (or autumn, winter or spring) lovin' - without breaking the bank. Buy a ticket to a multi-day event such as the Deni Ute Muster, hit up the hip camping (or glamping) sites that have a reasonable number of nature-lovers, or get a mixed bunch of friends (and friends of friends) together to hire a house on the coast for a weekend of partying. Even if you don’t meet the love of your life, you’ll still have a good time.

And when you've scored that first date, reinvent the usual suspects.

Forget the clichéd restaurant. Why not invite that cutie you’ve had your eye on around for a home-cooked meal? Chances are you’ll have a better date night whipping something up in the kitchen than sitting across from each other in a noisy, crowded restaurant paying a fortune. (But if they don’t offer to bring the dessert or wine, retract your invitation immediately).

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