The hunt for your one true love is exhausting as well as expensive — but the cost of being alone all your life could be much greater. Still, few people look forward to spending hundreds of dollars every month on romantic gestures to entice a potential mate.
With the right planning (and the right attitude) you save money and find your perfect match. Here’s how.
After much exhaustive research, the results are in: Online dating is, in fact, less expensive than traditional methods. After compiling the expenses of dinner, drinks, tickets, transportation, gifts, and other traditional dating necessities, most offline relationships cost upwards of $21,000 prior to marriage. Because online relationships usually move faster, online couples spend around $9,000 — including dating website fees. If you know you are ready to settle down, using an online dating service (like any from this site) will save you a huge chunk of change in the long run.
The outdoors tend to be refreshing and relaxing, which might be what you need to make a good first impression on your dates. Whether you eschew the Uber in favor of walking to dinner or plan an entire outing in an outdoor setting, stepping outside can save you money and bring you closer to your date. You might spend an evening stargazing on a rooftop, plan a morning hike up your favorite trail, or relax in the park feeding the ducks and squirrels, all for next to nothing out of your bank account.
It might seem counterintuitive to save money by spending time around shopping centers, but wandering around a mall or market with your date doesn’t have to include making purchases. Shopping centers can be a free source of entertainment as long as you can keep your wallet tightly closed. Places like farmers and flea markets offer unusual wares that incite discussion and plenty of laughs. Plus, you can move at your own pace to make the date as long or short as you want.
For a more meaningful shopping experience, you can spend your time picking up items for the less fortunate. Food, clothing, and toys are always eagerly accepted by charitable organizations around the country, and you can get a good sense of your potential partner’s benevolence while you shop.
Instead of indulging yourselves with lavish meals or expensive events, you and your date can get to know one another as you better your community. Nearly every charitable organization is constantly begging for more volunteers, and plenty offer activities that allow easy communication while you work.
For example, you might consider:
- Packing meal boxes for food-insecure families.
- Planting a community garden.
- Picking up litter in public areas, like the beach or the park.
- Spending time with seniors in care facilities or children in hospitals.
You might believe that your town is incredibly boring, but that’s because you haven’t taken the time to explore it fully. With your date, you can devote a day to wandering around your city’s streets, noticing new shops, restaurants, event spaces, and more. Likely, you’ll find a few unfamiliar sites, like museums and monuments that make your town special. Your new discoveries can even become date locations for the future, saving you time and money in the long run.
Often, newspapers contain entire sections devoted to local events, like festivals, shows, sports games, and more. Plenty of these events are low- or no-cost, and most provide unprecedented exposure to your community. Exploring such activities with your date allows you to get to know one another’s neighborhoods for a deeper connection — and an exciting day out.
As long-time followers of Bargain Babe, you know the benefits of DIY. Fortunately, many of the DIY projects you do to save cash can easily form the foundation of a date. For example, a home-cooked meal is almost always better than restaurant food, and by cooking at home, you and your date enjoy more intimacy and more engagement. However, food isn’t the only DIY activity perfect for the soulmate search; you can also:
- Brew beer or wine together
- Paint following Bob Ross’s instructions
- Make seasonal decorations, like a jack-o-lantern or a gingerbread house
- Assemble furniture as a team
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you spend your date — or how much you spend on your date. What matters is that you get to know your prospective partner as best you can. To that end, you should aim to organize outings that allow you to ask personal questions so you can effectively find your best match. Once you reach deep discussions, you and your date will likely forget what you are doing, anyway. Conversation is free, and you should make the most of it while you search for your soulmate.