Being single and dating is awesome. You get to meet loads of new people, do new things, socialise, and so on. It doesn’t even have to be about looking for your soulmate; it could be about looking for a Netflix buddy instead. It doesn’t matter. But, what if you don’t have the cash to spare? What if wining and dining a potential bae is more of a hassle than anything else?
The truth of the matter is that there are some seriously great expectations when it comes to dating. People often think that they need to splash the cash if they want even the hope of a second date. Well, that notion kind of sucks. Why should romance be about spending all your hard earned cash on someone you may never see again? Why should you plunge yourself deep into your overdraft just for a peck on the cheek?
If you’re hoping to save yourself some pennies while still impressing the ladies (and men) out there, you’ve come to the right place. Here at 10ways.com, we’ve got something of a passion for scrimping and saving. Forget what cheesy rom-coms tell you, you don’t have to spend a fortune to date someone. (Side note: If your date expects you to spend all your money on them, they may be in this for the wrong reasons!) Here are just 10 cheapskate ways to save money when dating!
Here are just 10 cheapskate ways to save money when dating!
Warning: With all first dates it’s important to inform friends/family of where you’re going and ideally with whom and when you will be back. Don’t give out tons of personal info before/during or after the date. Meet in a public place for first dates or until you get to know them better.
1. Wine and dine for less
Ah, the classic date. There’s nothing quite like taking that certain special someone out for a deluxe meal and buying them a few bevvies. Here’s the thing, though: restaurant food is anything but cheap and cheerful. When you take someone out to a fancy place, you need to expect to drop at least £20 per head and that’s if they order from the low-end of the menu. Heaven forbid they go for the steak! You could end up having to whack it all on your credit card by the end of the evening, which is never a bright idea.
So, how can you save money on this date night? Well, there are many coupon deals you can use that will get you 2-4-1 meals so that you end up spending just a little less. If you invest in a TasteCard (which is currently on offer for just £29.99), you will get access to loads of meal deals and the like from places such as Strada and Ask Italian. If you don’t want to pay anything upfront, you should try O2 Moments instead. Right now, they’ve teamed up with Pizza Express to offer £5 main meals.
Remember, those are just two cheeky little dining deals you might want to use, but there are many out there. Take a look at coupons online and see what you can find!
Some Pro Dating Tips:
- If you’re ‘treating’ your date but using vouchers consider paying away from the table, especially if you get nervous when it comes to questioning the bill/T&Cs or using vouchers etc.
- When requesting a table try and get a table that isn’t two chairs sat opposite each other, sitting directly opposite someone you barely know can be quite daunting. If you sit corner to corner with someone you can both look at each other but more importantly can look out at others (a great conversation starter if you get stuck).
- Not got O2 Moments yet? Here’s how to get it for free: 10ways.com/save/general-saving/o2-moments-explained
- Sign up for a TasteCard here: tastecard.co.uk
- Learn about the wine list and how it’s priced to get you to pay more
2. Take a FREE class together
Those who learn together, stay together… Or something like that. No matter where you are in the country, there’s bound to be a few free classes that you can join together. The truth of the matter is that dating does not have to be expensive. When you’re doing something interesting with your partner, it’s better than any fancy date! You could check out some local yoga classes or maybe even join a book group.
So, where can you find these free activities? Well, community centres, sports centres, gyms, churches etc are a great place to start. Many of these tend to a tad old-fashioned, and so might not be online. Pop into the actual buildings and see what they have on their notice boards! You may also want to check the Gumtree Community section or Meetup to see whether anything interesting is happening near you.
Remember, anyone can post on Gumtree so you need to be ultra careful about who you do and don’t trust on there! If something seems amiss, it probably is. When you find a group on there, look for their official website or Facebook group before you go along.
3. Pick some flowers before your date
Sometimes, it really is the little touches that matter the most. Most people just don’t go the extra mile when it comes to dating, which means that they leave no impression. Wouldn’t you rather be the guy or girl that turned up with flowers than the one who was forgettable AF? Of course, buying flowers from an actual florist or even a supermarket is an expense that you just don’t need.
Why not head into the country and pick some flowers before the date? We don’t want to sound all ‘flowery’ but throughout the year different flora bloom in the UK. If you head outside, you should be able to find loads of nice flowers. Pick a bunch and tie them together with some ribbon for an ultra romantic (and FREE) present. Oh, and don’t go pinching flowers from people’s gardens because that is naughty!
4. Head out on weeknights
Most people tend to plan dates at the weekend because it means they can get hammered. Well, the main problem with that is that it can cost a small fortune to go out on a Friday or Saturday night. If you want to save yourself some cash, you may want to go for a mid-week date instead. Why? Well, because there are loads of deals you can grab during the weeknights that are just not available at the weekend.
Whether you’re going bowling, having a meal, or going ice skating, there are loads of mid-week deals to entice you out. Here’s a secret: companies want you to go out during the week because it’s when they’re quietest. It’s well worth checking out what deals venues near you have so that you can cut the costs of dating.
5. Take a hike… literally
Okay, now might not be the best time but when the summer comes around again, you might want to break out this idea. Hiking might not sound like the most romantic date idea, but it does mean that you get to spend some quality time with the other person. Here in the UK, we’re honestly blessed with some of the most jaw-dropping landscapes on the planet. It would be something of a crime to let that go to waste!
Plan a day date for this one because no one wants to hike in the dark!. First of all, you will want to find and download a route online. You can find loads of local routes on the National Trail website. Next, make sure that you have decent shoes, warm clothes, and, most importantly of all, a whole load of snacks. It’s time to get walking.
Pro tip: Don’t go out of your comfort zone and end up being one of those couples that get stuck on a mountain and search and rescue have to come and find you.
6. Make a meal from scratch
If you honestly cannot afford to take your date out to a restaurant, never fear. There is another arguably more romantic option for you. Making a meal at home from scratch is a massive gesture! It shows that you’re willing to go to a whole load of trouble for your partner (and you have the added bonus of getting to eat the meal too!).
Before you start, it’s well worth setting the scene. You want things to be romantic which means dimming the lights and lighting a few candles. (This will also save on your electricity bill… SCORE!) Next, get to work cooking. You can find loads of cheap and easy recipes online or you might even want to try one of our homemade soup hacks.
Warning: You really shouldn’t do this for a 1st date, unless you already know the person, keep first dates in public places and avoid sharing private info (e.g. address) until you know someone.
Here’s how you can make some tasty soups: 10ways.com/save/food-drink/10-easy-ways-to-make-homemade-tasty-soup
Buy: Cheap (but decent) wine for the meal or experiment making cheap wine taste better (bit of fun as well).
Consider: 10 ways to spend less on posh recipes
7. Date like a student!
If you’re still a student, this is easy. Before you plan any type of date, it’s worth checking out whether the place offers student discount so that you can save some money along the way. For example, The London Dungeon offers a 39% discount to students, while Go Ape activity park offers 15% off. Take a look and find out which places offer the cheapest deals and let that decide what you do for your next date.
Oh, and if you’re not actually a student, you can still access these deals. All you need to do is nab yourself a cheeky NUS card for just £21 (see below for details). Once you have it, you can get all the same deals as students which means loads of money-saving offers!
Not really a student? Here’s how you can get an NUS card: 10ways.com/save/become-a-full-student-get-a-student-card-for-21
8. Get a super cheap takeaway
Once you’ve had a couple of dates with someone, you may want to take things to the very next level. Netflix and chill, anyone? Of course, no session is complete without a tasty little takeaway to nosh on until your heart’s content. While takeaways can be expensive, there are a couple of ways you can save while you eat.
For one thing, you should look for deals on the likes of Hungry House, Just Eat, and Deliveroo. These sites often have referral offers where you can get some free credit when you refer a friend to use them. You should also search for voucher codes online to see whether there are any that you can use right now. (Just copy and paste the code!)
If you can’t get any offers, you should download the Too Good To Go app. The app is used by restaurants to get rid of food that they are about to throw out for pennies. All you have to do is pick up the food and pay a small fee for it. Simply choose your location and see what’s available near you. (Of course, you need to pick the right time to use the app. At around 6pm, you will find that a lot of cafes start to close and throw out food.)
9. Save money on your coffee date
If you’re hoping for a more casual date, having a good old cup of Joe together is a fab idea! We don’t know about you, but we just so happen to think that the price of coffee is crazy. £3 for a cappuccino? Um, no thanks. The last thing you want to do is pay over the odds for a pretty standard drink.
There are a few ways you can save money on your drinks. Many cafes, such as Caffe Nero offer loyalty cards, which give you a free drink once you’ve collected a certain amount of stamps. Fill a couple up before the date and… BOOM… it’s completely free. (Of course, you do have to spend money for this to work but if you’re a coffee addict, it’s win-win.) You may also want to get a reusable Starbucks cup each which affords you discounts or take your own mug which will save you 25p.
Here’s how you can save cash on your next Starbucks: 10ways.com/save/food-drink/starbucks-uk-how-to-save-money
10. Grab a little culture
Finally, here’s one for all the culture vultures out there. If you want to seem smart and interesting on your date, a museum or art meetup is an easy place to start. While this is a free date, it makes you appear cultured rather than cheap, which is just perfect. Of course, you do have to pay for entry to some museums around the country, but there are also some that are free. You should look for the free ones so that you can afford to buy your date a cuppa in the cafe as well.
Here are some free museums in London: daysoutguide.co.uk/things-to-do/galleries-museums