It’s an age-old conundrum: How do can you make a good impression on a date and not spend a lot?
Still in college? Then a night out at “Quarter Draw Thursdays” might be all it takes. The rest of us don’t have it so easy. There’s no way around it, a typical post-college “dinner and drinks” date can really set you back. If you’re smart, however, you can have great dates for fewer dollars. Here’s how:
Go Easy on First Dates
Your desire to make a great first impression on a first dates can tempt you to pull out all the stops. Think twice. If this date’s a flop, you never know just how many first dates you’ll be going on, and following your urge to splurge could get expensive pretty fast.
First of all, don’t pay if you don’t have to! Post 1959, there may be as many arguments for how to divide the check on a first date as there are romantic restaurants to choose amongst.
The rule of thumb (or one we like, anyway) is that the asker foots the bill.
That means you can wait around for somebody to ask you out or go looking for other ways to save. (Which would be wise, because first dates don’t have to break the bank). For example, you could forgo the tired dinner and a movie routine for a home-cooked meal (though this works best if you’re already friendly with your date; not so much for Match.com first meetings).
Or, meet for lunch instead. At many restaurants the tab will cost half as much as dinner (plus the date will be quicker so you can make a fast break if things get awkward).
Lastly, don’t be afraid to bust out a coupon, even on the first date. Call me a financial freak, but I’d have gone gaga had a guy used a coupon on a first date! (Put it this way: If you’re the kind that likes coupons but your date is horrified that you would use a coupon on a date, how far is that really going to go?)
Beware Of “Love Spending”
If the first date goes well, there are bound to be several more to come. You may have pulled off the first date under budget, but that may not always be the case—especially if you start really falling for your new flame.
The good news is that you’ve already laid the groundwork for an inexpensive courtship with a reasonably-priced first date. (Had you blown $200 on your first dinner, your new love might have higher expectations than your wallet can handle).
Once you start seeing each other more and move into a relationship, your monthly dating expenses might start to creep up past your initial threshold. When you’re in this “honeymoon stage”, it’s easy to go out to eat or do other costly things several times per weekend or even several times per day.
In your love-induced haze, try to remember that dating isn’t about money, it’s about getting to know each other. So try to skip the added expenses and focus simply on being with the other person during those first few weeks or months.
Be Respectful Of Your Date’s Finances
It’s fine if you’re reading this thinking “I’m in a good financial situation; I don’t have to worry about how much I spend on dates.” Just don’t forget that might not be the case for your new boyfriend or girlfriend.
Dating brings together two sets of finances. It’s very possible that your new other half may have debt or a low income and can’t supplement your dates quite like you can. And you never know: Your next date may become a long-term partner or even a spouse, and you don’t want them to finance your budding relationship on their 30 percent APR credit card! In other words, encouraging luxury dates with someone who can’t afford it might backfire on you in the future when you inherit their debt!
Don’t Forget To Have Fun
It is possible to date and not spend a lot. Just don’t stress so much about money that you forget to have fun! Focus on getting to know the person instead of worrying about dining at an expensive restaurant. Most of all, don’t worry that your date might think less of you if you can’t afford a five-star restaurant. If that person is more concerned with your money than you, that person probably doesn’t deserve to go out with you in the first place.
In the end, after finances and jobs, stress and errands, dating is meant to be fun. Don’t fret too much over the financial aspect of it and just remember to enjoy the ride.
- Read More:13 Ideas for Inexpensive Dates
What do you think? Just for fun, who do you think should pay for the first date? Should you agree on it before hand? Share your thoughts in a comment.