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How to have a cheap date and pull it out the bag

BY: Editors | 25 Aug 2017



Dating is a potential minefield. Will your date enjoy what you have planned? Are you coming across OK? Are you struggling to get your words out because you are nervous?

With the pressure involved in dating, it is hard to judge exactly what your date will think of you if you suggest something cheap. Will you come across as a penny-pincher or will your date appreciate the thought of doing something thoughtful and not expensive? Can you have a date that doesn't cost the earth, but makes the earth move for the person you're taking out?

Can you have a great cheap date?

Firstly, the most important thing on a date is the two people involved. The whole point of a date is to get together so you can get to know one another. Where it happens and what you do is secondary to the interaction and the experiences you share together. Where you have your date is really inconsequential if you are both taken up with each other, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't put any thought into it. A cheap date can be more romantic than an expensive one if you plan it correctly. Here are some ideas to help you have a perfect romantic date without spending a fortune.

Be a tourist in your own city

We take where we live for granted, often ignoring all the great things that are right at our doorstep through a feeling of familiarity. How differently would we view our home town if we were tourists coming to visit for the first time? What things are there that we can visit or do that tourists would enjoy doing?

  • Look up – Our day to day lives mean that we rarely get a second to stop and look around at our surroundings. What amazing architecture do we have that we walk past every day? Take a look around and appreciate the wonderful architecture you have around.
  • Visit a museum – In the UK we're lucky to have hundreds of museums that are free to visit. Be a tourist and visit your local museum(s). With some of the best collections in the world freely accessible, you can have a day out and it won't cost you a penny.
  • Visit landmarks – What landmarks do you have in your city that you take for granted? Go out and visit them. Take selfies or even get someone to take a photo of the pair of you in front of a landmark.
  • Book a tour – Take a tour on a local tour bus or with a tour guide to get a different perspective of your city. Going on a tour will probably teach you lots of things you didn't know about the place you spend most of your time in. It's amazing to find out how little you can know about where you live and its history.
  • Go outside – Visit the park or somewhere else outdoors you don't normally go. Visiting the park in a holiday mind-set will give you a totally different perspective and can feel like you're somewhere completely new.

Game night

Channel your inner child by getting the games out. There is a host of games for two players that you can play on your game night. Board games are the classic go-to for a game night, with classics like Monopoly and Scrabble, but there are more adult-themed board games like Smart Ass and Agricola. Other games that work well are card-based games like Scattergories and Top Trumps. Of course, there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to the games you play. You could even play playground games like Truth or Dare or The Laughing game (where you try to make each other laugh). If you're of the gaming persuasion, you could even boot up the PlayStation or Xbox and have a two-player of whatever your favourite games are. If you're having a game night, make sure it doesn't get too competitive and that the whole point of the activity is to have some fun!



What is more romantic than stargazing? For millennia, humans have looked to the sky and pondered life. What better way to have a cheap date than to go somewhere where there's no light pollution and just gaze skywards.

    • Pick a spot - There's no point in trying to stargaze in the middle of a city because the light pollution will mask the light from the stars.
    • Pick a clear night – It’s pretty much impossible to stargaze when all you can see is a wall of clouds. Check the forecast before you head out.
    • Give your eyes time to adjust – It takes about 20 minutes for your eyes to fully adjust in darkness. Once they have adjusted there will be around 4000 stars visible to the naked eye.
    • Get to know your lunar cycles – The skies are at their darkest just before a full moon and it's easiest to spot stars when it's a new moon, because the moon doesn't illuminate the sky. When the skies are at their darkest it makes it easier to see meteors and star clusters.
    • Wrap up warm – Wear warm clothes, take blankets and a flask of tea or hot chocolate.
  • Allow plenty of time – It's not easy to recognise constellations, but if you give yourself enough time they will start to jump out at you. If you buy a book on stargazing, or download a stargazing app for your smartphone, it can help in finding Orion, Cassiopeia or The Great Bear.

Make dinner at home

There is no need to go to an expensive restaurant to enjoy great food. You can easily create the atmosphere of a romantic restaurant without leaving your home. With the right preparation, a meal at home can be just as romantic as a meal out. Here are some ideas to create a perfect night at home.

  • Create an ambience – Mix up your lighting so that the room doesn’t just look the same as when you're sitting having a night in front of the TV. This is supposed to be a special night. Use different lamps or even get some candles to set the mood. Remember to put on some music to create the right atmosphere too.
  • Pick a menu – There are thousands of recipes that you can make that will not require too much effort and taste great, so don’t rely on putting a frozen meal in the oven for an hour. Practice making a meal that’ll look great on the plate and will taste better than oven chips or pizza.
  • Choose drinks to go with your meal – Having the right drinks with your meal enhances the experience and helps in making the chat flow more freely. Wine is the classic drink to go with meals and, as Italian researchers have found out, one or two glasses work as an aphrodisiac. Alternatively you could make cocktails for something a bit different.

These are just some of the ideas that you can explore if you're looking to have a great date on a budget. If you have imagination and the will to have a good time, the possibilities are endless. When it comes down to it, dates aren't about flashing the cash to impress your date. They're about two people enjoying themselves and making a connection. Hopefully these ideas can inspire you to have the perfect date without breaking the bank.