Ideas For Low-Cost Dates In 2023

Dear Joan Actually,

I’ve been meeting a lot of people and going on dates, but these tabs are adding up. I just dropped $100 on a date when I knew in the first ten minutes that it wasn’t going anywhere. I’d be willing to pony up the cash if I knew I wanted to see the girl again, but on the first date it’s hard to tell. Can you send me some cheap date ideas that don’t come off as cheap?

-Burlington, VT

You’ll be able to avoid dating burnout, from both an emotional and financial standpoint, by keeping those first dates more casual. Going out to a fancy dinner place for your first date guarantees good food, but it also guarantees a long drawn out experience with someone you’re not sure about. Save the steeper time investment for a date you’ve already vetted in person and opt for a cheaper, casual date instead.

A cheap date won’t feel cheap as long as you leverage some thoughtfulness.

Here’s how to make better (and cheaper) first date plans:

Step 1: Consider her schedule and location.

If you’re dating a cop, doctor, or busy law student, you’ll be more likely to get a “yes”, if you plan around her busy schedule and general location.


“I know you’re handling the night shift on Wednesday, so if you want to grab coffee downtown before you get started, I’d like to meet you.”

“Instead of dealing with traffic, how about I meet you near your office?”

Step 2: Plan dates based on things you’ve learned about her.

Tailoring the date to her will show her that you’re paying attention. When you do ask her out, explain why you think the date idea would appeal to her.


“I know you have a big Italian family, so I’d like to take you to the best gelato. How does Thursday sound?”

“Let’s see how the new sculpture exhibit compares to your latest creations.”

Step 3: Give yourself a way to extend the date.

Casual dates are usually on the quick side, so if you’re feeling the chemistry, you’ll want a way to extend the date without seeming overly interested. Research the date location to see if there are nearby eateries or coffee shops that will give you an easy way to prolong a great date.

Women will always prefer a tailored date to one that’s just expensive, so leverage the little details you’ve learned to date the right way. A little thoughtfulness will take you much farther than your credit card.

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