A lot of first date advice is not up for debate. Things like opening the door for her and pulling out her chair are simply things a well-mannered man would do. However, when it comes to the amount of money that should be spent on a first date, there are different ways to look at it. Some would say as cheap as possible is the way to go. Others would suggest that you make a big impression by taking her to an expensive show, restaurant or event. I believe there is a happy medium.
First you need to understand what you're trying to accomplish on this date. If you want to impress her by dropping a couple hundred dollars at a fine dining establishment then that is fine. I'm sure she will appreciate your generosity. Just realize what precedent you're setting and what type of image you're projecting. Fancy restaurants are great, but wouldn't you rather hold off on that until you decide if you really like her? Plus a slow-paced dinner could get very awkward if things aren't clicking. If you take her to a show then all the attention is directed away from you. That is exactly what you don't want on a first date. If you want to get to know her and see if she is worthy of future dates then I advise a stripped-down approach.
Please note that if you already know that you like her then this first date advice is not for you. This is for the guys who meet a girl and ask her on a first date without knowing much, if anything about her.
I think a great first date can be had for $50 or less. The best place for a first date is either over cocktails and appetizers at a strategically chosen location or coffee and dessert at an equally well considered venue. I give two options for those who don't want alcohol involved. Either option will work. Just ask her which place she would prefer. You want the setting to be relaxed and classy. There shouldn't be a huge amount of noise or distraction. After all this is about getting to know somebody so make sure the location is conducive to conversation. She will be impressed if you can find a place that is new or unique, and you'll be ecstatic when the bill comes.
Remember that you don't want to look cheap by taking her somewhere that costs nothing but you also don't want to look like you are trying too hard by throwing money around. Sure, you can have a date that is practically free or you could wine and dine her for a nice chunk of change. Save those dates for later in the relationship. if it gets to that point.
This is the perfect medium. You accomplish everything you want to on a first date. You impress her by your knowledge of the local scene, you don't spend excessively, and most importantly you get to know her.