Dating on a Budget

By Katie O'Shea, February 11, 2016

When it comes to date night, it can be hard to think of ways to have fun without spending a lot. However, there are plenty of creative ways to plan dates without big price tags.

To get started, create a monthly dating budget. Based on your other financial priorities, you can decide on an amount that you're comfortable spending.

Next comes the date planning. To help you stay within your dating budget, we've made a list of some cheaper alternatives to popular date activities:


Instead of having dinner at a fancy restaurant, you could:

  • Find a less expensive place - Search Yelp or other restaurant ratings sites to see if you can find some good, budget-friendly restaurants near you.
  • Check the specials - Even pricey restaurants may have special discounts for happy hour or on certain days of the week. Some restaurants may have their specials listed on their website or on Yelp.
  • Go with a coupon - Lots of restaurants post deals on Groupon, LivingSocial, or other deals websites. See whether there are discounts being offered for restaurants in your area. Looking on these sites may also give you some good date ideas for the future.
  • Go dutch - Splitting the bill could help ensure that neither you nor your date goes over budget on dates.
  • Make dinner - Cooking dinner at home can be a fun way to bond - not to mention less expensive.

Instead of paying an arm and a leg for concert tickets, you could:

  • Go see an up-and-coming band - Just because you haven't heard of a band yet doesn't mean it's not good. Check your newspaper or online concert listings to see if you can find some good deals. You may even stumble upon a new band or genre to enjoy.
  • Look for an outdoor concert - Sometimes you can find cheap tickets for outdoor concerts. See if there are venues near you with outdoor concert spaces. Some allow you to bring in food from outside, giving you another chance to save.
  • See if you can win tickets to a show - Lots of cities have opportunities to win tickets to concerts. Radio stations and websites that list things going on in your area may be good bets.

Instead of going on an expensive trip, you could:

  • Take a quick road trip - Plan a road trip without a large price tag. To save on food and accommodations, you can stick to a day trip and pack a picnic. Travel apps like Roadtrippers can help you plan a fun and interesting route.
  • Be a tourist in your own city - Explore your own city using online guides or a guidebook from the library. For added fun, bring a disposable camera to capture the memories.
  • Go camping in your house - Go camping - without even leaving your driveway. Set up a tent in your backyard or in your living room. Make a campfire and cook s'mores.
  • Go on a bike trip - Whether it's around your neighborhood, through a park, across your city, or beyond, a bike trip is a great way to help you spend time together enjoying your surroundings. You could also follow it up with a picnic!

Instead of spending on movie tickets, you could:

  • Have a movie night at home - Rent a movie (or series of movies) and cuddle in the comfort of your own home. You could make an evening of it and pick a theme for food and movie - for instance, you could watch a French movie and sample French cheese.
  • Go to a drive-in - Enjoy a movie and the outdoors together - plus, save money by bringing your own food.

There are lots of other ways to have fun and inexpensive dates - these are just a few ideas to get you started. Whatever you end up choosing to do, remember that spending money is not the key to building a connection with someone special. As you get to know your partner better, you'll be able to come up with more simple and thoughtful ways to bond. Just focus on your partner and the fun will follow!


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of OneMain. The information in this article is provided for education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. The information in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial, legal or any other advice. The information in this article is general in nature and is not specific to you the user or anyone else. The author was compensated by OneMain for this post.

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