‘Can’t buy me love,’ crooned one of the Beatles (we forget which one). And maybe he was right. True love can’t always be measured in bouquets of roses, restaurant bills, or date nights that break the bank. Especially when cash is a little tighter than usual.
But there are many ways you can keep the romance alive, even if you’re on a budget. Whether it’s blind date number one, or a Wednesday night treat after 14 years of marriage, we’ve collected some ideas about how to keep things cheap, but cheerful:
1. Go out for dessert, not dinner
Nothing says I love you like dining out, but three-course restaurant ambience always comes at a price. Why not cook up a cosy, affordable dinner at home (a great chance to show off your culinary skills) and then go out for an ice cream or dessert afterwards? You get the best of both worlds, at half the expense.
2. Write letters, not cheques
Remember the good old days, when words spoke louder than gifts? Sometimes, penning your feelings can go a whole lot further than buying an expensive present that your loved one may not like or need. Unleash your inner Tim Winton (or just find an old poem to repurpose) and tell them how you really, really feel.
3. ISO your date
Lockdown meant staying home on date night was most people’s only option. And it wasn’t half bad. Make some popcorn, light some candles, pop on a movie, or waltz around your living room. It’s cheap and it’s intimate, and you can connect without the distraction of public chatter.
4. See, don’t spend
As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But there is such a thing as a free experience. Why not go for a walk in your local national park, or stroll through a local market instead of draining your bank account? Memories are made from time spent together, not material items.
It’s 2020. Who knows! You may not even know until the date is over. It may even be a battle for the card machine. Either way, it’s good to keep your partner’s financial status in mind before splurging on lavish activities or nailing down a date night plan.
If it’s your long-term spouse, you’ll likely have some idea of what they can afford. If it’s early days in your relationship, you may not know how they feel about money yet. No need to talk about it in detail, but keep things simple and don’t assume they can afford whatever you put in front of them.