Ahhhh, love. It’s so grand. There’s nothing better than a developing relationship. Me? I always start with the middle name talk, and then move briskly into how many children do you want. Okay, maybe not, but who cares, I’ve been married for almost 12 years. My relationship with Mrs. Planner started in college, therefore we were broke, very broke. There were absolutely no illusions that either of us had money. We had to get to know each other – without money.
I would argue that it’s nearly impossible to date someone, as a working adult, and not spend money to develop your relationship. Dinners, gifts, and trips are the norm for budding adult relationships. Married couples have a hard time funding unlimited meals, gifts, and trips, so what makes anyone think that two single, yet dating, people could afford this opulent behavior? That’s right, they can’t.
So what is a young, passionate person to do? Okay, the passionate part was a bit much. But it sounds a helluva lot better than “so what is a young, mildly interested person to do?” See what I’m sayin’? Anyway, here are 4 tips for dating without going broke.
- Experiences are often cheaper- State parks, museums, art shows, and meet ups are very inexpensive. And they are also dirt cheap. Sure, you could go have a nice Saturday lunch, but you could also go on a nice hike in a state park and take a nice simple picnic lunch. You could go to a movie, or you could go to a museum and actually learn something about each other.
- Cook dinner- It’s quite likely that your favorite restaurant can prepare better tasting food than you can. Don’t use this as an excuse to spend money. Cooking a meal at home with your love interest is not only fun, but it’s cheaper. Again, you can learn more about the other person by working together with them, than you can just sitting across a restaurant table from each other.
- Exercise together- Pumpin’ and a sweatin’. You know, working out. Running, walking, biking, lifting weights, playing kickball, playing dodgeball, etc. Here’s the key: don’t join a gym together. That costs money. Sweat together, but do it outside. Yes, still talking about working out, here. Settle down.
- Share your financial goals in order to alleviate undue pressure- This tip is not nearly as committal and/or boring as it seems. It’s simply practical. “I’ve been working so hard to pay off these student loans. I’ve really been watching my spending. I want to make sure that I’m not paying for them forever.” Seems like a pretty reasonable, important conversation to me.
Sure, spending money is easy, and you can certainly buy some fun times with your lady and/or man friend, but the alternative is so much more interesting. Be interesting. Get to know your “special friend” without going broke.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.