Being frugal and dating is hard to do. It’s a fine line that you have to walk. Step too far to one side and you come off as cheap. Step too far to the other side and suddenly you need to take a night job to pay off the credit card.
So how does a single guy on a budget make it happen? How do you show off your best to a potential mate without breaking the bank? Below are some tips for walking that fine line.
Don’t Use Coupons on The First Few Dates
I know all you ladies out there love a frugal guy who has his sh!t together. But let’s be serious, if I pulled out some coupons on our first date, you may question just how cheap I really was. After all, you really know nothing about me at this point.
Using coupons can send off the wrong signal to the ladies. If the girl you are on a date with has an issue with you using a coupon, it doesn’t immediately mean she is a gold digger. She may just need clarification on why you are using it. I would not use coupons on dates at first. Get to know each other a little bit and through your stories, you should be able to show her that you are smart with your money. Once this happens, then you can use a coupon. Of course, you’ll need to present it the right way too. Don’t say you were dumpster diving and scored a 2 for $20 deal. Tell her you got a flyer in the mail for a dinner special and that you checked the place out online and it looks fun and gets great reviews.
Don’t Make the Lady Pay
Look, there are certain things about being a guy that sucks. One includes watching football and having your girlfriend/wife/sister/mom interrupt it to ask you to move something heavy. Another is being the lucky one to investigate that noise downstairs in the middle of the night. And yet another is paying on the first date. Don’t ask the girl to pay and don’t suggest you go “halfsies”. If she is a girl with manners, when the check comes, she will either A) make a move for the check or B) if you get it first, she will ask you what she owes you. Politely decline saying that it is your treat.
Now, there are some guys out there ready to email me about how much it costs to take a girl out. I know it costs a lot for dinner. But this is just the way is it. Once you are in a more committed relationship, then you can start splitting the bill or switching off on who pays depending on who asks who out.
One other option that I have heard is accepted today but never used is to take her up on her offer to pay half. Before you say this contradicts what I just wrote above, read on. This option should only be used when you both know there will be no second date. Again, call me old fashioned but I think the guy should pay regardless. But, as with the changing of the times, this option is acceptable.
Options Other Than Dinner
Go out for drinks, not dinner. This is especially key if you can work it around happy hour. But don’t pick Applebee’s because you know you can get a 24oz Brutus for $1.50. Find a nice place to go that “just happens” to have drink specials. But don’t make your date order off of the specials menu.
When all else fails, pull out the coffee card, but don’t go to Starbucks. Find a nice Mom & Pop coffee house. It shows you put some thought into the date. Don’t use the excuse you hate coffee. I hate coffee and I took dates to coffee shops. I just ordered a hot chocolate.
Ideally, find something fun to do instead of dinner. Sitting across from one another is a lot pressure. You HAVE to make conversation and deal with the awkward silences. If you can find something fun to do, you are ahead of the game. You will both be focusing on the activity and the conversation will come naturally. Ever wonder why all of the dating shows have the people doing all of those things? It’s because it’s more natural and fun than just sitting at a table talking. Plus there are many free or low cost things you can do that are fun.
For more low cost date options, check out my post of 50 cheap date ideas. You’re certain to find something in there that interests both of you and won’t break the budget.
Readers, do you have any tips for those looking to be frugal while dating?