You know that feeling when you say, “Go ahead and order whatever you want!”, while praying that your card doesn’t get declined? I’m sure we’ve all been there at one point or another. Many people stress out when it comes to going on romantic dates. Not only is it hard to impress the other person, but it’s also hard to not break the bank! Many girls have high expectations when it comes to their idea of a “dream date”, and tend to lose sight of the great qualities of the other person. My suggestion? Find alternative options that are not only fun, but also affordable! Here are some ideas that I’ve had success with in the past.

The Awesome Power of Happy Hour

I’ve been in a relationship for almost six years with my boyfriend. Unfortunately, everything costs money, making it hard to afford going on nice dates. After getting over the initial phase of turning 21 and going to clubs every weekend, I have happily embraced the world of happy hours (no pun intended there). Not only is happy hour food delicious (I mean who doesn’t love nachos and fried mozzarella sticks?), but the drinks are super cheap! Many places offer great discounts or they give you more items for the normal menu price. Even better is that some places offer multiple happy hours per day and some extend their happy hours to the weekend as well. A couple of places in Pacific Beach do a 2-for-1 happy hour, where you can either get two of the same drinks for the price of one or make your drink a double for the price of a single. In these cases, I either settle for a Jack and Coke or my boyfriend settles for a Tequila Sunrise- depending on who’s footing the bill of course. Not only does being picky take the fun out of everything, but it can be unattractive. I’m just saying- once you embrace going with the flow, you’re going to have a better time in these situations.


Be Willing to Drive Further to Do the Same Thing for a Better Price

This is especially true when it comes to going to the movie theater! Movie prices tend to be absolutely insane nowadays! Even worse is that many times the movie wasn’t even that good, and you could have gotten dinner with the money you spent for the lousy ticket. A lot of the theaters in my area are super expensive, but if I’m willing to travel a few more miles I can watch the same movie for half the price. There’s a theater in Hazard Center that has discounted movies on Thursday and Saturday nights- which is a huge plus! There’s also a Regal Cinema all the way down in Chula Vista that has insane prices! Even though that’s about a 30-minute drive from my house without traffic, I was able to see the Conjuring 2 for less than $6.00 on a Saturday night! That’s almost unheard of in San Diego County. Also, never ever buy food from the theater unless you’re dying of starvation. Either eat beforehand or test out your smuggling skills. This is the time to wear that jacket with big pockets or bring your bigger purse. I’ve seen people get creative by taking out their shoulder pads and hiding frozen yogurt cups under the “shoulders” of their jacket. Not only do crazy things like that help you save money, but it can also be fun trying to not get caught with your contraband snacks.


Go to Places that are “Pay as you Play”

Some amusement parks and game centers are what I like to call “pay as you play”. In my area, places like the local bowling alley, Boomer’s (the arcade and mini golf haven), Dave and Buster’s (the adult arcade and bar) and Belmont Park (our local boardwalk amusement park) charge you by the ticket/token amount or by the hour. This allows you to have a budget set beforehand while still partaking in the fun! I’m a total dork for things that make me feel like a kid again, so for someone like me this is the best kind of date to go on.


Swap the Bar for the Brewery

I wrote an entire blog post dedicated to breweries, which you can find here. It’s safe to say that I’m a big fan for many reasons. Not only do I like great beer, but I really like saving money! You would think that a brewery would be more expensive, but believe it or not it’s way cheaper. Since you’re getting their product straight from the source, you cut out the price of the middle man. Also breweries allow you to have sample sizes and try flavors that may not be on the market to buy at other places. They’re also better for having conversations with your date and avoiding the typical drama that comes with going to bars or clubs.


Last but Not Least, Ladies Be Willing to “Go Dutch”

Unless it’s a first date, special occasion, or your birthday- I believe in going Dutch. In case you haven’t heard of this saying before, it means splitting the bill. I personally think there’s a couple different ways to do this. You can either split the bill right then and there, pick up the tab for one aspect of the night (like the drinks or the dinner), or pick up one date entirely if your partner picks up the next one. I do believe in being traditional when you’re first dating, but when it comes to being in a long-term relationship it’s unfair to always expect the man (or one person, depending on your relationship) to pick up the check.


I know how frustrating it can be to want to go out, but not afford it. I hope these tips help you have a great time with one of your favorite people!


Infographic of the Week:


Question of the Week:

What was the best date you’ve ever been on?


2 thoughts on “A Penny Pincher’s Guide to Cheap Dating

  1. When you ask about the best dates I have ever been on, I would have to answer that it is the person I went with and not the actual place where we went. There are many inexpensive ways to date and the more comfortable you are with the person you are dating, the easier it is to look for these cost saving experiences. As for the movies, our Sam’s club sells packs of movie gift certificates and they are discounted by as much as 30%; your Costco may do the same. Another thing is to put a cap (limit) on the drinks out. If you really want to drink, have a drink at home before you go out or one at home after returning. Never drink more than two drinks during a dinner out. They are expensive and after you get really relaxed, from the drinks, you start to order more and more food. This causes a huge bill at the end of the evening and an ever expanding waist-line! Another saving’s strategy is to order one meal and two plates!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s