Beginners Guide to Frugal Dating

Nothing throws a wrench in your budget like throwing down your card for a few Manhattans and a vodka cranberry a couple times a week. And if the lady wants cheese fries, she gets cheese fries. Sure, you're used to paying for your own drinks and the occasional drunken app. But how is she supposed to want to touch you later if you don't pay $6 each for her watered down sugary drinks?

Dating can definitely be expensive, but It doesn't have to be. My advice for you? Don't. Just don't date. Get a cat, learn to make casseroles, you'll be fine.

Kidding. Eventually you'll have to at least try out the whole dating thing.

Lucky for you I've complied a list of affordable dates that will keep your relationship fun and frugal.

1. Make a meal together

You're adults. At least one of you should be able to create a few meals that are edible. If not, YouTube it. It won't be the last time you fake it till you make it, I promise. Choose something easy to start with. Breakfast for dinner is always a huge hit. You shouldn't be dating anyone who isn't up for bacon and pancakes at all hours anyways.

2. Sign up for a free trial

Most gyms or private classes offer a short free trial period. Think yoga, Pure Barre (your butt will thank me later), or even an indoor basketball or soccer court. This will give you both a chance to try something new. Don't be afraid to try crow pose, and fail. Every girl enjoys a guy who isn't afraid to laugh at himself. And every guy feels like a sports God when he teaches his girl how to properly shoot a lay-up.

3. Volunteer

Choose a charity or an event that you both care about. Sign up to cheer on runners at Race for the Cure, wash dogs at your local humane society, or even serve meals to the homeless at the nearest shelter. This will give you a peek into your significant others' softer side. Plus the warm fuzzy feeling never hurts.

4. Go on walks

Google the best trails or even sidewalks in your area. Somewhere near you has a trail of some sort that will end in a pretty view, I promise. Walking will give you two time to open up and get to know each other. Pack a lunch and make a day of it or just take a few laps around the neighborhood. On any scale, you will both feel good about getting a little bit of exercise in and learning something new about each other.  

5. Dogs

I'm a firm believer that you should add dogs to your life whenever possible. If you choose to do #4, take a dog with you. If neither you or your better half own a dog, sign up with the humane society or local foster homes. They will most likely be begging for help and greatly appreciate your time. You can even sign up for Rover, make an afternoon of dog sitting or walking. Take your earnings and celebrate with a drink afterwards.

6. Run errands

Both of you make a list of errands you need to run or chores you need to do that day. Grab a coffee and make a day of it. Tease each other through the aisles of the grocery store or build that piece of furniture you've been putting off. This allows you to spend time together no matter how busy you both are.

Don't feel like you have to dip into your emergency fund or grocery money just to take someone on a date. There's millions of ways to trick someone into liking you other than fancy dinners and expensive wine tastings. Relationships are about flexibility, variety, and always offering them the last cheese fry, no matter how much you want it for yourself. Get creative and stay frugal, my friends.