When two people start dating, it's common practice for one person to pay for the date. Traditionally, it has been the man who pays but modern times now sees a trend of women paying for dates or helping to offset the cost of a night out on the town.
Because of financial times, sometimes dating can become more of a burden than a blessing. Paying for dinner, drinks and a movie can cost upwards of $100 or more. If you are going out every weekend, your budget has now increased by almost $500 for the month. Even if you are both sharing the cost, you are still a couple hundred dollars out of pocket.
Dating shouldn't require you to get a second job or pawn your grandfather's watch just to spend time getting to know someone. Unless you are Daddy (or Mommy) Warbucks, there are cost effective ways to date smart andkeep your expenses low.
- Drink Smart - Liquor and wine costs are marked up considerably high in restaurants and bars. Take advantage of happy hour specials and daily deal sites such as Groupon or Living Social. You can usually get two for one pricing or better using these methods.
- Dine Smart - If you are the one paying, let your date splurge on their entree while you pick something in the low to mid range price category. Share an appetizer and dessert. Not only will you be saving money - good for your 'wasteline' - and you'll be cutting calories - good for your other waistline.
- Cinema Smart - Movie prices are outrageous. IMAX and 3D prices can run upwards of $15-$20 a ticket. Save the pricier movies for matinees. Not only will you be shaving a few dollars off the ticket price, but you are also bettering your chances of a not so packed theater during the day. Hitting the snack bar? One tub of popcorn and a pack of Red Vines should do you both just fine. Maybe you're hands will connect when you're both reaching for a treat.
- Entertain Smart - Broadway shows, concerts and live entertainment can leave a mark on your credit card. Look for local's discounts, 2-for-1 tickets and last minute ticket deals for the best pricing. You may not be front row center, but you can usually get good seats with these specials. It's better to have a slightly obstructed view than a slightly empty bank account.
- Travel Smart - If you are lucky, the person you are seeing lives close to you. But, if you are challenged by distance, driving 50 miles each way can rake up the miles and the amount of gas money it costs to get there. Share the load of travel. Meet halfway whenever possible or alternate who will go see the other. When two people feel they are both carrying the weight, it eliminates resentment and burden.
- Plan Smart - Just because you've made a love connection, it doesn't mean you have to run out every weekend and do extravagant or expensive activities. Picnics, hiking and museums are low cost dates that can be fun and engaging. Your relationship isn't dependent on the money you spend, but the quality of the time you spend together.
Don't let lack of resources keep you from dating or pursuing your plus one. Use creativity and local specials to help cut costs on dating. You may not be rich in dollars but you can make relationships your currency and be wealthy in love.
Contributed by Kimberly James, MatchMaster & Dating Expert, www.findyourplusone.com