Romancing your special someone can be expensive, especially if you’re heading to five-star restaurants or going on vacations abroad on a regular basis. Even the classic dinner-and-a-movie date can be a real bank breaker. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to keep to your budget when out on a date, and we’ll even throw in some low-cost dating ideas to get you started.
Budgets Are Romantic?
Let’s begin by stating the obvious: Mastering your financial situation is sexy. Don’t believe me? Budgeting means you know where your money is going, which in turn gives you the freedom to spend money where it’s actually important. Think about the alternative. If you spend money without care or consequence, there’s a good chance your other necessary expenses will be neglected. So yes, that moonlit fancy and expensive dinner may have been a blast for the evening, but neglecting bills can have long-lasting and very stressful effects. Drowning in your finances is not sexy. A budget gives you control over your money, which is much better than your money controlling you.
And if you’re worried about the budget getting in the way of your romantic spontaneity, make a place in your budget called “Romantic Spontaneity.” Set aside money every month to treat your loved one to something special.
Bad Date, Good Date
Before you start budgeting for your dating life, take some time to consider what would make this time special. It’s easy to get caught up in the perception that a date has to be expensive, but is this really the case?
During college, I was once set up on a blind date with a woman from the next town over. I thought I’d take her to an expensive dinner, to a movie and then out for ice cream. I felt pretty confident that these three activities were the formula for a perfect date.
But it was awful – like “send in the clowns” awful. I ran out of things to talk about before the breadsticks were served. We had nothing in common; she was preoccupied with her phone, and I got nervous halfway through and started making grand statements about politics (not recommended first-date material). We ended the night awkwardly and never talked again. In total, I spent about $100.
A few months later, I went out with a different woman to a local pizza joint, where they were having a special on $5 pizzas. We had a pepperoni pizza, shared a medium lemonade, and then just talked for a couple hours about anything and everything. That was it. No pomp and circumstance. And it was an amazing date.
At this point, you could be thinking, “Well, if you’d taken the second woman to the movies and the fancy dinner, it would have been just as good – if not better – of a date.” And you’re absolutely right. It’s so much more about the person going on the date than the cost of the activities. Sure, throwing in some cash for something special can be a great way to treat your date, but the amount of money you spend shouldn’t be the highlight of the date.
It’s time for us to shake off our preconceived ideas about the dating scene. An expensive date has never been the equivalent of a good date.
Financially Savvy Dates
There aren’t many strict rules when it comes to dating, and you can do just about anything with your special someone. Here are some romantic date ideas to help you along the way! Consider these as building blocks for the perfect date. For extra romance, incorporate your own unique flair.
- Go to a poetry reading and dress the part. Buy a coffee; snap your fingers.
- Play miniature golf.
- Have a picnic in your local park. Make the food; don’t just buy fast food.
- Do a service project together.
- Take a hike on your nearest trail. Make it a contest: The person who spots the most animals first wins.
- Swing by your local arcade and play all the fun games. Pool your tickets and win a prize.
- Enjoy a nice game of bowling.
- Go to a country-western bar and learn a line dance.
- Throw a blanket on the ground outside and watch the stars.
- Try a ridiculously tough recipe, film yourself making the dish and pretend it’s a cooking show.
- Have a game night! Make it a double date, bring a few board games and whip out the queso and chips.
- Watch a marathon of your favorite show while coloring in a coloring book.
- Go to a flea market/garage sale. See who can get the best bargain.
- Take a class together. Most state extension programs have inexpensive/free self-improvement classes.
- Check out a local museum.
- Make a campfire. Nothing says romance like s’mores!
- Take a crack at karaoke. Or watch other people sing karaoke.
- Check out the endless date ideas on Groupon.
- Take a brewery or winery tour.
Can you think of any financially friendly date ideas? Let us know in the comments below. And if you’re still searching for that special someone, take a look at these tips for using dating apps.
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