Sometimes it can be hard to truly enjoy a date if you are on a budget. But you’ll be pleased to know that you absolutely do not have to spend all of your savings to be happy with someone. Here’s some of my date night ideas for how to spend quality time on a budget.
Find a hobby that involves the outdoors
I can’t deny that this is my favourite one because it combines my two passions: running and my partner. As a half-marathon and marathon training couple, we were chuffed when we found fitness as a common interest. Get outside with your girlfriend or boyfriend. Run together, walk together, even better if one of you has a cute furry pet to take with you. Jogging or dog-walking will give you more chin-wagging time plus fresh air is so under-rated. Running with a partner makes a huge difference to being on your own. Motivating, healthy and fun.
Think of activities inside
We all know how much of a rip off even the one cinema visit can sometimes be. There’s petrol money because taking the bus nowadays is no environment for a date, the money for the snacks that you just cannot resist (and let’s face it, you feel obliged to share a large popcorn like they do in the movies) and then the actual tickets. Once you’ve done all of that, you may as well rent the 3D glasses for a pound. I mean you’re just a cheapskate if you don’t.. Instead, find a game inside. We found scrabble on date four and we still play it now. This is my second favourite because I’m always winning. Brain power, fun (trust me) and cheap.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I think ‘Netflix and chill’ has a bad reputation for an innocent activity. Shockingly, scientific studies have recently found that a couple can sit on the same sofa, watch a film and enjoy it for what it is. I encourage you to try out The Notebook with marshmallows, it’s under rated.
The last time we had dinner in a nice, classy restaurant was Valentines Day. I wouldn’t change it because if you cook with your partner, you stay in the warm, you don’t use petrol money and you discover #fooddancing. But the pros don’t stop there; I guarantee you’ll discover a signature dish as well as how wonderful the two of you work as a team through your love of food. Plus, you might discover similar eating habits, or make memories by squirming at the dishes that you don’t like. Food often tastes even better when you’ve been slaving away on it yourselves and then you can enjoy it together and both take equal credit for the masterpiece you’ve created. Steak is our firm favourite but, as keen runners, we love ‘carbing up’ with a classic Spaghetti Bolognese. Mondays aren’t so bad any more; contact me down below for the recipe.
Study or work together
Are you at college or University or do you both work from home sometimes? Do you have a long-distance relationship where sometimes it can be hard to find time to spend with each other? Do those questions sound familiar? They ring bells for my partner and I too, studying at Universities over 70 miles away. Obviously, this one can be different if you’re miles apart and work at the office five days a week, but that’s even more reason to make the most of your days off.
If you’ve both got endless to-do lists one day, you have two options. Create a boundary between the two of you and set little rewards to motivate you. You study in one room, your partner focuses in the other and then give yourselves 2 hours of concentration followed by 15 minutes of togetherness and snacking. Your other option involves sheer discipline, with a block session of focus sat together. You never know, a little conversation might take the pressure off your workload. You could even make your goal setting a competition to drive the both of you even more or proof read each other’s work because it will keep your mind active and double the productivity levels. Whatever works for you!
Plan your meals
The biggest lesson we’ve learnt to save money is ‘don’t go shopping when you’re hungry’. You would be surprised how much unnecessary food and drink you buy when your tummy growls. If you’re both ravenous walking the aisles of Tesco, you will inevitably spend more money than if you’ve just eaten. Hungry couples are more likely to indulge in those ice cream tubs, biscuit boxes and any other cheeky deals that you would usually resist if alone and full. So how do you lessen the bill for when you pack up at the till? Either make a list before you leave and check your cupboards so you don’t duplicate or set areas in your trolley for each meal of the week. Keep it fair with a “you pick a meal, I’ll pick a meal” motto too. Winner winner, chicken dinner.
Looking at that list, you might think you’re limiting the both of you to a ‘better’ relationship by dating on less money. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve seen posts by couples having dinner on a yacht with the hashtag #relationshipgoals. But don’t let the image of Instagram leave a ‘perfect relationship’ stamp in your head. I’d take marathon training and #fooddancing together over salad on an overpriced boat any day. I’m not saying you can’t ever eat at a fancy restaurant because it might burn a hole in your wallet. Try these little, cheaper dates and I personally promise that Valentine’s Day and birthdays will be so much more special.