Being single is possibly one of the quickest way to kill any attempts at living frugally. Going out and meeting people and going on dates can cost a hell of a lot of money and it may be the case that you have to budget yourself very rigidly to afford yourself this luxury a couple of times a month.
If you do meet someone and sparks fly then don’t fear about the word “date” coming into the equation. The last thing you want to be viewed as is cheap or tight. You may not be able to go to Gordon Ramsey’s New York restaurant, The London, or fly in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon but there are plenty of romantic cheap date ideas that will still impress and set the mood….. and McDonald’s isn’t featured in any of them!
The Dinner Date
I love cooking and obviously if you feel comfortable this is one of the most intimate and interesting ways to host a date.
Italian food is dirt cheap to create from scratch and actually pretty easy for the most part. If you are feeling extra adventurous you could even make the pasta or the dough for the pizza! Obviously I would recommend testing any recipe a few days before the date .
Personally I love making pasta sauce from tinned or fresh tomatoes. Cooked down with various herbs, a little spice and served over pasta. For this special occasion it’s probably worth spending a little extra on some good fresh pasta
Candles and small table items can be either borrowed or purchased pretty cheaply (try your local dollar store). A decent but frugal set up can be achieved pretty easily.
Pick some good music, I don’t recommend going too cheesy but obviously it’s up to you. I’m sure your own some nice chilled music of some sort. Something that allows you to chat.
The night could be truly magical.
You can get some free Pasta Recipes with this free pasta cookbook offer.
The Movie Date
Sadly watching a DVD at home probably won’t cut it just yet…. wait there will be a perfect time for this.
The movie theater is pretty darn expensive but most cinemas have a cheap night. Make sure you check out the cheap nights and if you can, organize the date for this night. Also you can often get discounts at matinée performances if you are looking for something to do before the romantic home dinner.
You can see my recent post See The Dark Knight, the frugal way for some more ways to save at the movies.
The Picnic Date
Food again, I know!! Dating and food seem to go hand in hand…
A picnic date is great for saving money. You could both arrange to bring different things. You easily can put together some frugal dishes to take with you. If you can meet somewhere where you don’t have to drive it could save some gas. A remote location in a local park could be great…. My advice, always take a frisbee .
Alternatively you could go to the beach, build a small fire and have a romantic BBQ. You just need a grill to place over your fire and you could build the side up with a few bricks or some thick logs.
About has some great affordable picnic recipes.
Some Inventive Alternatives
Sometimes something a little out of the ordinary may actually be the best choice for your date. Also the cost or class will be less of an issue so you can focus on having fun.
Hiking: Hiking can be fun, grueling and character building. A nice gentle hike with your date may be the perfect way to bond. Maybe take a bottle of wine for the peak of your journey.
Go to a lecture: I have been to some great lectures at my local university and many times they are free or very cheap. The university may also have other events on. This could easily replace an expensive movie.
See a local sporting team: You can go and watch many low league sporting teams play for free or very cheap. It may be fun to go and see a sport that neither of you have ever seen.
Go taking some pics: When you have a camera in your hands a simple walk can change into something very interesting. You and your date could meet for some quality times in the local park or crawling around in the local ghetto taking some cool snaps.
Do something crazy: This one is open. If done right you and your date could have the best time ever…. if done wrong you could end up getting arrested . I would love to hear your suggestions for this one…..