According to a study conducted by Match, the average unmarried American spent $1,596 in 2016 on dating. Match also looked into the average cost of a date - a date being classified as "dinner for two, a bottle of wine, and two movie tickets." Their findings? The average date cost $102.32.
After reading those numbers, you might be wondering, "Can you actually date without breaking the budget?" Absolutely! You will have to be intentional with your dating choices (i.e. what you do, where you go, the gifts you buy for your significant other, etc.), but you can definitely date on a budget.
When it comes to dating, here are some of our best tips for keeping your romantic gestures within your budget...
This is a biggy: set a dating budget ahead of time. Make a separate line item in your budget for your dating expenses. Plan how much you will spend each month on dating, and then stick to it!
Give according to your partner's love language. If you have no idea what I mean when I say "love language," then check out The 5 Love Languages website and take the love language quiz. (Have your partner take it too!) Spending time together, writing a thoughtful note, or cleaning the kitchen are all amazing ways to say, 'I love you!' (Seriously though, clean the kitchen!)
Arrange your own bouquet of flowers from the grocery store or Walmart.
Go for a walk. Who says you have to spend money to have fun? Grab your partner and take a walk around your local park or walk the downtown blocks of your city. Enjoy the scenery, the fresh air, the people watching, and the time to visit.
When it comes to expressing your love through words, make your own card or just write a thoughtful note on some notebook paper. I honestly can't ever justify spending $5 on a card! Plus, I'm pretty sure my husband would rather read my own thoughts than those written by a Hallmark author.
Go out for dessert. A date doesn't have to include "dinner for two, a bottle of wine, and two movie tickets." A date could simply be a nice conversation over a piece of cheesecake or a dish of ice cream. Or save even more and enjoy some homemade dessert. Whether it's homemade chocolate covered strawberries or chocolate tort, it's often cheaper (and always more delicious) to make it yourself!
Have a date night at home. Cook and enjoy a meal together. Rent a movie and make some popcorn. (Or even better, borrow a movie from the public library or a friend.) Enjoy an evening together without spending a fortune.
There are so many things you can do without spending a penny. Check out your community's calendar of events to find festivals, concerts, and other fun events that you can attend for free.
Download restaurant rewards apps to gain access to coupons, promotions, and free food items. There are many restaurants that will actually reward you for your purchases. You earn points for dollars spent. Those points are then redeemable for free food items on future visits.
Be kind. Loving someone does not mean you need to buy them something. Show your loved ones that you love them through your words and your actions.
Finally, when you're in a relationship, don't assume. Ladies, don't assume that he will pay for the date. Guys, don't assume that she will pay for her half of the meal. Assumptions lead to misunderstandings about money. And money fights are the number two reason for divorce. So start your relationship off on the right foot by communicating about money rather than avoiding it. If you're looking for more tips on how to talk to your partner about finances, check out this article on the HiCharlie blog.
Be intentional with your dating life. First and foremost, set a budget. Then, be sure to communicate with your partner about money. Finally, make choices that keep your dating expenses within your budget. And, don't forget to have fun!