Dating On A Budget: How To Have Fun Without Breaking The Bank

There’s no doubt that dating is expensive; whether it’s coffee and brunch or dinner with cocktails, a few swipes on Tinder every week can easily blow your budget.

Even the classic movie date is starting to look steep (and we aren’t even talking 3D or Gold Class). The truth is, you don’t need to spend your life savings on three-course fine dining meals to dial up the romance. There’s plenty of ways to impress your date (and have fun) without breaking the bank.

Here are some tips on how to nail dating on a budget that don’t involve Netflix and chill.

#1 Marry fitness with romance

Hit two birds with one stone by working out on your next date – and by that we don’t mean hitting the gym together. Ensure the romantic element remains by picking fun activities like tennis, badminton and bike riding.


See? Fun! Romance! This date has it all!

If you’ve got the equipment yourself, it’ll make for a great wallet-friendly date. If not, there are plenty of places that offer equipment and venue hire at affordable rates for those dating on a budget. For example, bike hire is available at Blaxland Riverside Park in Sydney from $10 per hour, so you can enjoy a breezy cycle and finish the date with a picnic or ice cream by the water. Try St Kilda Cycles in Melbourne, Bike Obsession in Brisbane, About Bike Hire in Perth and free bike hire from Bike SA in Adelaide.

#2 Take advantage of mother nature

With summer in full force, forget indoor activities like movies and bowling, and take full advantage of mother nature at its best. Whether it’s something simple and chill like coffee and a coastal walk, or something more adventurous like kayaking or hiking, the world is literally your oyster. For example, if you’re in Sydney, stand up paddle boarding at Rose Bay is another great date idea that won’t cost you a fortune.

For the extra romantic early risers, consider driving your date to a nice vantage point to watch sunrise. For the night owls, pack a rug, takeout and a bottle of cheap wine and watch the sun set on the beach. You can even go camping.

#3 Try something unconventional

Forget the standard dating approach and opt for something unconventional. Whether it’s finding local dogs to borrow for walks and weekend hangs (via Borrow My Pooch) or attending a community volunteering workshop together based on common interests, don’t hesitate to think out of the box.


Karaoke is another cheap and cheerful option to consider. Alternatively, head to the local pub for a round of pool or darts – nothing like some competitiveness to get the excitement going on a date. Go during happy hour to score cheap drinks and casual bar food.

#4 Get your foodie game on

Food plays a big part in the dating on a budget game (and dating game in general). It helps to have a couple of (budget-friendly) foodie hot spots up your sleeve to ensure a scrumptious feed on your next date.

Need ideas? Sydneysiders should head to Mamak for tasty, authentic Malaysian, An Restaurant in Bankstown for its famed Vietnamese Pho or Pastizzi Café in Newtown for some of the best ravioli you’ll ever have. Melbournites can try Belles Hot Chicken for a mean fried chicken or Moroccan Soup Bar for a cheap Moroccan feast. Head to Holy Smokes if you’re in Fremantle or Govindas in Perth if you’re keen on getting bang for your buck at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Brisbanites should try The Burrow and Adelaidians can head to Rena’s Thai Kitchen for a good feed.

If you’re ever at a loss for ideas, leverage resource sites like Zomato or Urban List for inspiration – or simply follow some food bloggers on Instagram.

Additional tips:

  • Sign up to daily deals sites like Scoopon to get vouchers on activities, food and drinks.
  • Subscribe to websites like Time Out and Concrete Playground to get alerted to free events, workshops and festivals.
  • Instead of splashing out at restaurants, create a challenge where you and your date have to cook something outrageous together. Just make sure it doesn’t involve too many ingredients as that can get exxy.

Jennifer is a Digital Content Specialist from Sydney with a background in PR and communications. A foodie and travel buff at heart, Jen enjoys writing and blogging about lifestyle topics.

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