Wednesday 17th April 2024

Cheap date? How to woo well without spending all of your money


Thankfully we are entering, if not a golden era, then certainly an aluminium or tin era of gender equality.

I am particularly thankful of this shift for two reasons. Firstly it is generally a good thing that we have begun to recognise a societal gender bias, even if we are still tragically under motivated to do anything about it.

Secondly it is no longer my manly duty to pick up the bill at the end of the date.

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Hallelujah! Praise whichever deity you choose to follow! (For me, that’s Clicker, the great scarab beetle in the sky.)

The truth is this: dating is bloody expensive. Two weeks ago I spent a delightful evening in the company of a young lady – who we will call Doris – at an outpost of a reputable Italian restaurant chain before moving on to an underground bar.

Dating is bloody expensive.

A glass of wine, pizza, dessert and cocktail came to the hair-curling sum of just under £40. And that was just paying for me. Luckily, Doris covered her tab after batting away my feeble entreaties that I pay for her. Phew.

However, since my weekly food budget is just a shade over £25; you can see how the evening, as enjoyable as it was, has put a dent in my fortunes.

You can use vouchers at dinner discretely. Honest.

Now I wish this post could be brimming with top advice for wowing suitors on a shoestring budget but the fact is that dating is a confidence game, and some people aren’t confident unless they have the safety blanket of a restaurant around them.

As I’m sure you know by now; vouchers are boon companions, and can be deployed judiciously and discretely if you don’t want to be open about your finances. Another neat idea is organising a lunch date, since many restaurants serve far less expensive food if you book earlier in the day. Don’t worry about the old taboo: a lunch date is definitely no longer an invitation into the friend zone.

Nonetheless, the restaurant option is always going to be the most expensive date. If you feel confident enough to break the chain, my advice is always the same: be quirky. Find out what their interests are and use the information to your advantage.

Want a cheaper date? Get to know them a bit first.

I once met a girl who mentioned that she enjoyed the odd board game. Fortunately – ladies, form an orderly queue – I am a massive board game aficionado. My solution was to collect as many of the things as I possibly could into a backpack and meet with her for a picnic/gameathon in the park. We each brought contributions to the meal and had a great couple of hours in the shade of an oak tree.

Did we look like nobs to the outside observer?  Undoubtedly. Did it work? Well, we were together for three months before she moved to Spain.

My conclusion is this: we all have places where we can feel confident when navigating the turbulent waters of adult courtship. If you are someone who can’t manage without the restaurant table then try and utilise all of the sage advice that flows through this website to your advantage.

If you want a cheaper date, get to know the person first. They will appreciate the effort and you will enjoy yourself – I promise.


Drew Guppy

Mouthy blogger

Somerset man lost in London. Trying to get a bit less woeful with money.