Finding love can be so much fun. Dinners at swanky restaurants, surprise flowers on your doorstep, a fresh wardrobe and new experiences with your favorite someone.
That’s wonderful and all, but let’s be honest — it is not cheap. Since millennials are getting married later, at an average age of 27 for women and 29 for men, our dating lives are lasting longer. The costs can put a strain on anyone’s budget — to the tune of $1,569 a year according to Match.com.
That number may sound astronomical, but think about all those new jumpsuits, highlighter palettes, happy hours, dinner checks, late-night cabs and more. The good thing is that there are a ton of creative ways to scale back on these costs.
Here's how to do just that — without killing your dating life altogether.
Reimagine your closet.
There’s really no need to buy new clothes unless what you have truly doesn’t fit anymore. Mix things up by pairing items you’ve never worn together before. Try twisting a favorite T-shirt into a fun crop top, or jazz up an LBD with a bright heel and fun accessories. Instead of investing in a little red dress, try picking up a new red lipstick. Same bold color, much lighter on the wallet.
Make dinner together.
There’s nothing better than a partner who can cook. Cooking at home is one of the most tried-and-true methods of saving money, so incorporate it into your date. Collaborate with your beau by having each of you whip up your favorite dish — maybe you take the entree and he makes dessert — or plan out the menu and go grocery shopping together. And with the weather warming up, break out that grill or dust off the patio furniture for an al fresco dinner. You can hang out and talk for hours — plus, no need to tip!
Go for a ride.
Instead of throwing money at a ride-sharing service to get around, rent bikes for an active date. Cycle through the best spots in your city or town and check out local street art, window-shop or bike down a wooded trail.
Talk about money.
Millennials are all up against the same financial odds. It’s a good bet that your date has student loan debt or wants to save a little extra just like you do. What better way to bond than to start talking money right off the bat?
There’s nothing wrong with saying, “Hey, I’m super excited to hang out with you, but I’m trying to stay on budget. Can we walk instead of taking a Lyft tonight?” It establishes open communication and gives you a chance to be upfront about your finances right away.