Let's face it the economy sucks. We are forced to pay a higher cost for things that we use on a regular basis. So how does a man keep the lady, or for some of my friends; ladies happy when you're living on a tight budget? Here are some places that you can go to entertain your GF without looking like el cheapo.
Panera Bread - If you live near a mid-size city, you probably have one of these spots close-by. If you haven't yet done so you should check it out. You Pick Two® is a deal that gives you the option of ordering two of three options, 1/2 sandwich a bowl of soup or a salad. Unless your GF is greedy---most aren't, you may be able to split this up; i.e sandwich for you, soup or salad for her. Add two large drinks and you're eating for two for less than $10. Healthier and heartier than you local McDonald's! Free wireless internet too.
Take her to the park! Most ladies love donning those chic expensive sunglasses, the park is a perfect place to take your lady when the weather is nice. You will be able to show her your attentive side because you will have no choice but to listen to her.
Whole Foods Market - If you're fortunate enough to live near one, check it out. They have great health food options and have tables where you can sit and eat.
Go ethnic - Whether it's Indian, Caribbean, Chinese or South American, it is not the traditional American dining experience; which will surely show your girl that you have some culture. It's also usually a hell of a lot cheaper and more interesting that Applebee's or TGI Friday's.