Dating While Broke: 5 Affordable Ideas


I doubt I would be completely off base to say that it isn’t uncommon for most people to be unbalanced financially. Between the recession and movie tickets for Catching Fire being absurdly expensive, almost everyone’s wallet has taken a hit. It is also common knowledge that dating is ridiculously expensive at times. Dinner and a movie and coffee afterwards can quickly stack up and take your hard-earned paycheck down a few notches. Fancy nights out are incredible when you’re in a committed relationship and you know you can stand to be around the person you’re with for a few hours, but first dates and the potentially subsequent second and third dates are trickier. You’re still trying to feel the person out, to understand them. The first date is a chance to see if you and the person are compatible, and no one wants to pay $50 + dollars a date just to be reminded we would rather be home on our couch binge watching Netflix by ourselves. Here are five simple and affordable date ideas for when you want to date around and feel out your options without being reduced to eating ramen every night you are not with a cutie.

Redbox and wine


If you are lucky enough to have a Trader Joes or Whole Foods near you, you are lucky enough to have access to some of the most decent, cheap wine there is. Commonly referred to “Three-Buck Chuck” (it was “Two-Buck Chuck, but, you know, inflation and shit) this $2.99 bottle of wine is both affordable and decently delicious. Unless your date is a wine aficionado, they probably won’t be able to tell all the nuanced differences between a $25 dollar bottle of cab sav and one you picked up with the change in your car’s console. Wal-Mart also has three-dollar bottles of Oak Leaf, that is, if you’re into serving your date a beverage that is sure to give them a hangover. If you don’t drink, sharing a cheap pint (or two) of ice cream is also a good avenue to go. Redbox has plenty of options for affordable movie rentals that you can snuggle up to your cutie while watching.

2 for $20 Chili’s deal


If there is a higher power, they are the one responsible for this bargain at Chili’s. Not only will you feel like a big spender getting an appetizer and two full entrees for a fraction of where it would cost elsewhere, you’ll know by their reaction whether there should be more dates. Anyone who thinks they are too good for casual Tex-Mex dining is suspect, in my opinion.

Go for a walk in a park


Cliché, but effective. Nothing says “I want to get to know you and maybe undress you in a totally respectful but sexy way” like looking at some foliage together. If it is cold, grab a few to-go cups of coffee and use each other’s hands to keep warm as you stroll among the trees.

Bake Together


What you bake together is irrelevant, just as long as you’re working together and being cute and perhaps smearing batter on each other’s bodies. Ingredients for boxed brownies are affordable and fucking delicious.  The best part of this date is after you share your hopes and aspirations, you can suggest eating your creations off each other.



If you live in a metropolitan area like Chicago or NYC or LA, you know that there is almost some sort of festival happening in some neighborhood. I know from experience living in Chicago that during any given weekend in the summer, three different festivals were going on. If you live in a more suburban area, look up local art festivals. Usually, cover to get in is nominal or on a donation basis. You and your date will be strolling through beautiful creations of art that will make you both feel a little more cultured and a little less crushed by student debt and bills.


This article first appeared on BoyFactor