Dating can be costly, but don’t let this put you off, because it’s more than possible to have great dates without breaking the bank. We often fall into the trap that we can’t have fun with our significant other without spending a bunch of money, but that’s simply not true. Whether you’re on the hunt for your perfect partner or are looking to inject some romance into an existing relationship, here are some ideas for dating on a budget.
Eating out can make a big dent in your budget, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy good food and drink. Here are some tips for taking your date out for drinks or a meal without spending a fortune:
- Happy Hours: Look for restaurants and bars that have “happy hour” deals. If you time your date to coincide with one of these, drinks and meals tend to be half-price, so you can enjoy some good savings on your food and drink. If money or time is tight, you can often get a couple of drinks and food each for around $20. For example, McCormick & Schmick’s, a popular seafood restaurant chain, has $2.95 burger and fries during its Happy Hour and it’s a ton of food!
- Wine Tasting: This can work well if you both enjoy drinking wine. For something in the region of $5 each, most wineries will let you sample up to five different wines. Some wineries even offer free wine tasting sessions.
- Candlelit Dinners: If you’d rather stay in, why not cook a romantic dinner for your date? Most of us can cook at least one dish, even if it isn’t anything particularly fancy. Add a touch of extra romance with candles and soft music.
Picnic in the Park: If you and your partner enjoy the outdoors, taking your date for a picnic in the nearest park can be really romantic and can be relatively cheap too. If you stick to simple snacks like sandwiches or cheese and crackers, you can keep the costs down. If you want to spice things up more, try introducing a bottle of inexpensive wine or a bottle of something non-alcoholic. If you live near a beach or can travel to one, this idea can become even more romantic.
Other Date Ideas
Because you won’t always want a date to revolve around food, here are a couple of alternative date ideas:
- Local Music Shows: Most big or medium-sized cities will have a local music scene that can be tapped into for dates. Because the artists will not be well-known, show tickets can be bought for as little as $5 each, and if they go on to become stars, you’ve got the added bonus of being able to say that you saw them before they were famous!
- Museums and Galleries: Visiting a museum isn’t everyone’s idea of a great date, but it’s a good option if you both enjoy culture. Many museums have free or inexpensive entry, but you’ll have to pay to get into others. Sites like MuseumStuff can help you locate museums that are local to you. If art is more your thing, try an art gallery instead.
Dating can become expensive, especially if you’re going on regular dates to feel your way into a new relationship, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t work it into your budget if you’re selective about the type of activities that you choose as the basis for your dates. It’s likely that you’ll have to make some compromises to avoid overspending, but this doesn’t need to stop you from having a great date. Let us know your tips for dating on a budget!
(photo credit: Kristian Gimring)