I just bought $200 worth of meals at great New York restaurants for $16.50. Seriously.

The website offers discounted gift certificates at establishments around the country–usually $10 for a $25 credit. Now, it is offering an additional 80% off with the code “FUN.” That means meals for just a few bucks…

Recession Lesson Numero Uno: A great date isn’t about the amount of money you spend, but rather the thought you put into creating a day or night filled with fun.

A date’s purpose is to get to know someone. And while you don’t want to come off a cheapskate, if the first impression you make is that you’re the kind of chap who thinks with his wallet (among other nefarious things), you have a better chance of finding a suitable mate by clubbing them over the head and dragging them back to your cave.

Exciting, inexpensive outings can happen anywhere, anytime. To prove it, here are eight high-octane adventures in cities that span the nation.

New York City: Samurai Sword Class and Sushi

Wax on. Wax off. And learn some kick-ass street-fighting skills while you’re at it…

money-cash-and-pill-bottle-medicine-150The cost of medical care can be astonishing in the best of times. In a down economy you feel the pain even more—especially as policies change. For example, doctors may require you to pay up-front for services, then collect from your insurance company. Or, they may charge you for the remainder of their fees not fully covered by insurance. Then there are the health insurance companies, which are more prone to question, delay or deny insurance coverage for treatments.

You don’t have to feel helpless in the face of these challenges. Armed with some knowledge and the willingness to argue for your rights, you can keep those costs from killing you.

Be proactive: Before having a procedure, get preauthorization or clearance from the insurance company. This way you know what to expect in terms of coverage and payment responsibility.

Know your rights: Say you see an in-network surgeon at an in-network hospital, but have an out-of-network anesthesiologist. Often insurance companies will reject or limit coverage, claiming that you did not use an in-network provider…

barbecue-grill-150Here comes the sun, and we’re all dreaming of pearly beaches and swaying palm trees. Summer frolicking doesn’t have to be expensive: Here are a few ways to enjoy the summer without digging too deeply into your pockets.

Plan a potluck barbecue:

Fire up the grill and have your friends over for a barbecue extravaganza. Cut down on costs by having each person bring something. Assign menu items like main dishes, salads, desserts, beverages, along with stuff like napkins and cups to make sure you have enough of everything. Turn ordinary hamburgers and hotdogs into a special treat by creating a topping bar that boasts snazzy items like fruit salsa or unusual hot sauces. For an inexpensive dessert, cut peaches or mangoes in half and put them flesh-down on the grill; then serve with a scoop of ice cream.

Take a hike:

Some parks charge entrance fees, but lots of prime hiking spots are free. Grab a good pair of shoes and a few friends and take off on a nature-lover’s adventure. Your city likely has nearby trailheads that can be accessed for an easy day hike. Spectacular parks around the country that you can access for nada include Great Basin National Park on the Nevada/Utah border, the Buffalo National River in Arkansas (fees only apply to camping), and Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve. There are plenty of choices for sturdy backpacks that won’t break the bank. At $75, the Teton Sports Wilderness 55 is a bargain, boasting a rainfly for the top and zippered side pockets…