Walk through park

The Best 7 Secrets to Dating on a Budget

24th November 2021

Many people think that to be the top dog of the dating world, you need a combination of lavish gifts, expensive dinners and luxurious weekend getaways. If you’re dating regularly, dinners, drinks, Uber rides, and various outings and events all quickly add up. But the truth is, you don’t need those to enjoy yourself and impress that potentially special someone. Last-minute trips to Paris are not the standard.

Dating is all about the company, plus the thought and effort you put into your date. It’s all about you having fun and, let’s face it, being able to enjoy a date on a budget just proves that you’re both good company and super creative.

Here are seven ways you can impress your date without it costing an arm and a leg, whatever you’re interested in.

Grocery shopping is as much a necessity as sleeping is. As an inevitable part of any Brit’s weekly routine, you’ll probably find that you head to the shops way more than you actually need to. With tempting after-work belly rumbles calling you into your nearest convenience store and telling you you need that £5 snack, or the “I forgot the milk” panic after a large supermarket shop, it’s time to cut down on the supermarket visits and save some money.

So, if this sounds like you, and you’re ready to quit the unnecessary shopping trips, then read on. This guide will detail how you can shop smarter at the supermarket, and make the most of your money.

1. Look out for free activities

When it comes to cheap dates, social media can be your best friend. Possibly the greatest resource for discovering free exciting events in your area can be found by heading to the search bar and type in “events near me.”

Facebook especially always has your back. Simply head to your events calendar - and even if you have nothing scheduled - it will provide you with upcoming events nearby, and filter them to ones that Facebook thinks may be up your street.

You’ll be surprised at what’s out there for little to no money, too. From outdoor film screenings to mini day festivals, there will always be something going on. Why not head to your calendar today and get a feel for what’s on in the coming weeks? Chances are there’ll be something cool that both you and your date will enjoy - it’s also a really thoughtful move, too.

2. Plan a night in

While perhaps not best for a first date, nothing says “I’m really into you” more than inviting your date round to your place for dinner and wine. This just screams commitment (in a good way) and lets your date know that you’re 100% interested in just them - you don’t invite any old date round for a candlelit romantic dinner, do you?

Preparing and cooking a meal together is also a fun and intimate experience for new couples. It provides a basis for building memories together that only you two can share, and provides opportunities for future stories and plenty of laughter.

Whether you’re cooking a casual mid-week dinner that can be enjoyed snuggled up on the sofa, or you’re going all out with the crockery you only use when your Mum comes round for Christmas, a home-cooked dinner date can save you the pennies while still providing a special, romantic experience.

Seeing someone’s home is also a raw, vulnerable way to get to know someone. Show off your interests, not your bank account.

3. Make the most of nature

One idea is to watch the sunset. Sunsets and romance go together like fish and chips. How many times have you seen a couple post a sunset photo on Instagram and thought it was cute, and how many times have you seen couples snuggling up to one another as the sun goes down? And from there, you have another romantic date idea: stargazing

While not everyone has the luxury of heading to the beach to watch the sunset or the stars, (but if you do, take note - it’s as romantic as you can get) there are other alternatives that can make the moment just as special. Do you live near a hill that you can climb together? Do you live in the countryside? Do you live in a bustling city that feels magical when the sun begins to set?

Wherever you live in the world, there’s nothing more beautiful than watching the sunset or stars cosied up to your loved one.

Why not elevate these moments with a picnic? You can never go wrong with an old-fashioned picnic in the park (weather permitting): good food, good company, fun, and laughter. You can organise a great picnic for just under £25 - much cheaper than a fancy meal out. You’ve also got the spot for as long as you want, unlike a busy restaurant that wants to host as many guests as it can in one night.

If you want to push the boat out, you can even make it boozy, too. Supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi have made it so easy for young couples to drink and dine on a budget. For the second year in a row, Aldi’s best-selling Organic Prosecco has been awarded two silver medals at the Drinks Business Organic Master. (If you didn’t know, that’s a big deal - it’s a win-win, really.)

4. Look for coupons and offers

As with any money-saving strategies, websites like Groupon deserve a quick browse if you want a fancier date idea. Usually they’ll have plenty of discounted options for dinner for two at nice restaurants, but you might stumble across some more unique ideas. Likewise, searching the web for coupon codes, two for one deals and discounted gift cards are great ways to save money.

Meerkat Movies, anyone?

Brunch date

5. Happy hour

Need we say more? Happy hours are your friend if you think the date could use a little icebreaker and liquid courage, so make sure you know when and where all your locals have theirs. Who knows, you might even impress your date by being a happy hour expert. Las Iguanas has been known to do 2 for 1 cocktails all day every day, and Slug & Lettuce usually has deals on selected cocktails - both are popular chains with bars around the UK.

6. Budget

If you’re actively dating, it may be worth either creating a dating budget or adding a dating budget to your existing budget. We’re all about budgets here, so here are a few reasons why budgeting is important. Compared to other budgets, it can be particularly hard to stick to when you just want to impress a potential love interest, want to break the tension with an extra drink (or two), or see where the date takes you.

The trick to keeping on budget is...

7. Be honest

Talking about money is one of the hardest things to do, but it can also be one of the most beneficial. Just remember, anyone who only likes you for your bank balance isn’t worth dating, so it’s not worth sacrificing your hard-earned grocery money for your pride. Honesty is a fundamental pillar of any relationship and being upfront can actually be attractive and avoid the awkwardness you’re surely expecting.

If you’re not quite there yet, simply suggest date ideas that match your budget and let your date figure it out themselves based on that.

As the Beatles once said: money can’t buy me love. A date can be absolutely anything, so stop stressing about taking your date out for an expensive meal, and take note of some of the tips above. Or, if you’re committed to a meal idea, check out these ways to save while dining out.

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