couple walking in a park

How to save money on dating

author: Adele Kitchen

By Adele Kitchen

How to save money on dating

Wooing a partner is expensive business. Whether you’re in the early stages and want to show your suitability, or you’ve got a big milestone anniversary due, love costs.

The dating blueprint of drinks and fancy meals might be a sure-fire way to prove your affection, but it can be expensive. It can also become a complicated issue when considering how much your significant other wants and expects to spend. 

Money shouldn’t be a barrier for love. We’ve rounded up some top tips on how to cut costs without dropping the romance, and how navigate some of the trickier financial issues. 

Whether you’ve been married for years, or you’re a singleton hoping to embark on an adventure with someone new - these tips can all be applied irrespective of the length of your relationship.

Embrace nature

There’s a lot to be said for the romance of candlelit restaurants and the ambience of flashy cocktail bars, but that comes at a cost. If you’re not flush (or even if you are), there’s equally as much fun to be found outside. Quite literally, try embracing the great outdoors. 

Suggesting a Sunday afternoon stroll in a park is a perfect date choice. If it’s with someone new, it can give you the right atmosphere to have a conversation; which is never a bad thing with someone you know extremely well either. Even the weather turning gives you the opportunity to huddle together under an umbrella.

You can also eat outside, too. A picnic is a great way to cost-effectively eat and drink together. That’s a lot more easily delivered in the summer, but don’t turn your nose up during the colder months. One top tip, you could watch the sunrise together in winter. It might be colder this time of year, but it’ll also happen a lot later in January or February than in the summer, when the sunrise can be as .

Look for offers

Looking for discounted prices and offers is another way to keep expenses down. This is hardly a new revelation, but don’t be afraid to apply thriftiness to romance. Particularly if it enables you to go for things that would normally be out of your budget.

Discount sites like Wowcher and Groupon offer expensive experiences for the fraction of a price, whilst January is a great month for travel deals. Hotels can be cheaper midweek, so perhaps you and your other half can book a holiday off work and stay somewhere more upmarket than your usual budget allows for.

Stay in

Staying in is the new going out, and this rings particularly true with dating. There are few things more romantic and considered than cooking a meal for the apple of your eye. You can also ramp up the romance when watching a film with candles and/or soft lighting, and possibly engage in pamper or spa days for less at home.

A caveat though, it’s not always a good idea to invite someone you hardly know into your own home, or indeed accept their invitation for the same. Wait until you’ve built up that level of trust beforehand.

Consider your date’s budget

Relationships are built on compromise and understanding, so it’s best to showcase you care about these things as much as possible. Money is traditionally an area that can cause huge consternation within couples.

For these reasons, it’s good to be mindful of how your current or prospective partner approaches money. Extravagant dates might be within your price range, but your date may feel they need to reciprocate the same level of spending, which might be beyond their means. 

If you’ve been with someone for a while, you can approach the subject more openly; but with someone you are just starting to get to know, it’s best to involve subtlety. Taking an interest in restaurants they’ve previously frequented, for example, will give an idea of both their tastes and what they normally spend eating out.


Do you go Dutch?

Considering their budget is one thing, but it’s all the more complex when discussing who pays for what. This is because how much you cough up for a date is a minefield. 

As such, it’s important to consider the situation individually. Offering to pay (as a man or a woman) could be perceived positively or negatively. So, we would suggest going with the mindset that you’re prepared to pay in full or share the cost. 

Also try to be diplomatic about your date’s reaction - although how they respond could be a useful way of seeing how your attitudes are aligned. Even offering to pay for this one with the suggestion your date gets the next, can be viewed favourably (a sign of interest), or negatively (too much expectation).

Equality is far from a straightforward thing. Going halves on all bills might be less fair if you earn more than the other, or have more disposable income. As with everything in relationships, flexibility and taking onboard the other person’s views are crucial.

Single? Find your next partner for free

A blind date with a-friend-of-a-friend, or locking eyes over the fruit and veg aisle of your local supermarket. These romantic ways of finding your spouse aren’t dead and buried, but there’s no denying the rise of dating apps has changed the way we meet new people.

Dating apps like Tinder, Hinge and Bumble are all free to join, with paid extras for premium users. If you’re stepping into the world of dating for the first time, or after a long hiatus, you can try all of these without paying a penny, before committing financially.

One word of warning: If you’re inexperienced with dating apps, we suggest reading up on some online advice, or chatting with friends who have used them beforehand.

Take your time

Near enough all of us have felt strong feelings for someone quite early in a relationship, and it’s even more thrilling when it’s reciprocated. While that can be exciting, making financial commitments early on in a relationship can lead to difficult moments with money in the future. Moving in together on a 12-month contract, or sharing a mortgage, can be a costly decision to reverse should the worst happen.

Even with grand gestures like holidays, make sure you’re on the right footing beforehand. If you’ve only known someone a few months, is a mini-break a better idea than two weeks away together?

If you’re going to spend the rest of your life with someone, enjoy the early stages, as hopefully, you’ll never repeat them again. Happy dating! 

Read on to find out the cost of being single.

Disclaimer: We make every effort to ensure that content is correct at the time of publication. Please note that information published on this website does not constitute financial advice, and we aren’t responsible for the content of any external sites.

Author Profile Image: Adele Kitchen

Adele Kitchen

Personal Finance Writer

Adele is a personal finance writer with more than 10 years in the finance industry behind her. She writes clear and engaging guides on all things loans for Ocean, as well as contributing blogs to help people understand their options when it comes to money.

couple walking in a park couple walking in a park