As J. Lo so sagely put it: “love don’t cost a thing”. But where love might not, dating certainly does, and the reality is that you usually need a few of the former before you can progress to the latter.
If your heart just sank at the thought of splashing out, you’re not alone. Plenty of us aren’t rolling in cash, so if we need some dollar to impress, it would seem to count a lot of us out of the game from the word ‘go’.
Or maybe not. Although expensive dinners and tickets to see your beau’s favourite artist performing live might cost a fair bit, some of the best dates fit perfectly with that old adage that the ‘best things in life are free’.
If you’re struggling to see how, here is some date night inspiration for the next time you want to wow…
Take a walk
Yes, a romantic dinner is a nice way to get to know someone, but so is venturing into the great outdoors and going for a walk together. Absolutely free to enjoy, it offers a fantastic chance to talk with your date without the distraction of loud-mouthed diners and clinking cutlery. Choose somewhere with a beautiful backdrop and plenty of awesome scenery, and the ambience will be as good as it is in any Michelin star eatery.
Have a picnic in the park
If you fancy doing something with a little less physical activity involved, you can’t go wrong with a picnic in the park. Costing only what you pay out for the snacks and beverages you pack, this cute date idea is the perfect way to impress your partner without breaking the bank. Remember to take a blanket along so you have somewhere comfortable to sit, and then simply spend some time talking together over your homemade cuisine. It’s sweet, thoughtful, and costs next to nothing to organise.
Have a movie marathon
Going to the cinema is a go-to date night idea for many, but if you want to try the cut-price version, simply invite your special someone over for a movie marathon instead. Giving you a greater choice of films than you’d get at your local complex, it means you can select something that the two of you are guaranteed to enjoy, and you won’t have to pay for the privilege either. To complete the effect, remember to invest in some popcorn, snacks, and a bottle or two of wine, and have a big, cosy blanket to hand for cuddling up together on the sofa.
Or you could use your Cineworld Unlimited membership.
Take a drive together
Source: Max Pixel
If you’re not one for walking, you always have the option of taking a drive together. Giving you the chance to see plenty of beautiful scenery whilst you listen to some of your favourite tunes, being in the car creates an atmosphere that’s conducive to getting to know one another better. You can either drive at random and see where the day takes you, or else have a destination in mind, like a nearby beach you can explore at journey’s end. The best part is that even the worst weather in the world won’t ruin your plans.
Go on a bike ride
Another easy and economical way to get out and about and appreciate Mother Nature is by taking a bike ride together. This can be a really nice idea, and is something you can put a lot of thought into if you want to impress, so be sure to do some research beforehand and find the best places to visit. Think breath-taking backdrops and the quiet of the countryside and you won’t go far wrong. You could even take a picnic along and find a nice scenic spot to sit down in and enjoy it.
Visit a museum
Source: Max Pixel
If you want to show your beau you’re cultured, perhaps a trip to your local museum should be on the cards instead. If you and your potential partner bonded on Badoo over your shared love of history and learning, there are very few ideas that will beat this one, no matter how expensive they are, and it can actually be a really lovely and thoughtful way to show an interest in what your date enjoys. The best part is that most museums and English Heritage properties are either free or inexpensive to get into, so you won’t be required to splash the cash in order to have a good time. If you’re a student or OAP, even better, as almost all of these places offer discounts for people like you.
Cook for your crush
Why didn’t you think of this one yourself? There are few things more romantic than someone cooking for you, especially if they push the boat out and splash their (limited) cash on a bottle of wine or two as well. Much cheaper than a trip to a Michelin starred restaurant, dining at home is a great way to treat your partner, and will give you the chance to sell yourself by showing off your culinary prowess. Choose your ingredients wisely and you won’t have to spend a fortune, but you will be guaranteed to impress.
Take a look on Groupon
Source: Max Pixel
Of course, dating on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t spend any money at all – it just means you need options that won’t break the bank. One place to find these elusive destinations is on Groupon, which is filled to the brim with fantastic offers. Advertising lots of activities that you would never even think of if left to your own devices, this is a great way to gain inspiration at the same time as you economise. From cheap pony trekking to rock climbing at rock-bottom prices, you should be able to organise something that makes your enthusiasm for that special someone abundantly clear.
Create an at-home spa experience
One way to show your significant other you care is by arranging a couple’s retreat to a no expenses spared spa trip, but not everyone has the sort of budget needed for this readily available. If you don’t, but you still want to help your beau relax and unwind, how about recreating the experience in your own home? Draw them a bubble bath, light as many candles as you can lay your hands on, and offer them the best massage you can manage. They’re guaranteed to be overwhelmed by your thoughtfulness and romanticism.
Source: Max Pixel
There’s probably nothing in the world quite as romantic as looking at the stars together, and an added bonus is that it doesn’t cost a thing. If you want to do something that’s really sweet and simple, grab a blanket, wait for a mild night, and lay down together to see what you can spot. It’s the perfect opportunity to have a special conversation, so take the chance to tell your significant other exactly how you feel about them. Believe us when we say that a night like this will stick in their memories forever.
Book a brewery tour
Did you know that lots of breweries and wineries offer free tours? If not, this is another place to potentially take your date. Have a Google to see what’s available at your local, and as long as it’s budget-friendly, book your place and enjoy your day. The likelihood is that there’ll even be some free alcohol throw in, so this is one seriously cool yet super cheap option.
Do a hobby swap
Almost everyone has a particular passion in life, and it’s nice to date someone who shows an interest in what you enjoy. You can be that person, whilst still getting to enjoy some budget friendly time together. How? By doing a hobby swap. Spend the day teaching your date how to play Green Day on your guitar, and then let them show you how to explore the countryside on horseback. You’re pretty much guaranteed to have a whale of a time, and all without spending a single penny.
Get a taste of culture at your local art gallery
Like museums, art galleries are often free to visit, making them another great place to go on a money friendly date. Showcasing lots of amazing works, they’ll give you plenty of conversational material to talk about, to help you get the chat flowing easily and organically. Even if you hate everything you see, you’ll still be able to laugh about it together, before heading to a nearby bar for a drink or two to drown your sorrows.
Dating can be expensive, it’s true, but only when you fail to think outside the box, as these inspiring ideas have hopefully shown you. Proving you don’t need money to have a good time, they’re cheap, cheerful, and will give you plenty of places to go with your beau without ever having to dip into your overdraft. Which one will you try first? It seems to us that you’ll be spoilt for choice!