Thursday, 7 May 2015

Living on a budget doesn't mean you and your spouse or significant other have to stop going on dates.

In fact, there are plenty of ways to boost your relationship by spending time out together without breaking the bank. Whether it's saving money on traditional date-night activities like dinner and a movie, or finding unconventional activities to do together, you and your date can enjoy each other and all the money you'll save. To start planning your date night on a budget, consider these options:

Go out on a weeknight

 “Most couples reserve date night for the weekend, but you are missing out on less expensive and perhaps more romantic evenings during the week," says consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch. For instance, many restaurants offer dining deals during slower times and movie theaters offer discount tickets and concessions savings early in the week.

Use discount gift cards or daily deals

Sites like Gift Card Granny offer discount gift cards for restaurants, movie theaters, spas and hotels, with savings up to 25 percent. Daily deal sites like Groupon offer a great way to try a new restaurant or an old favorite, with an average of 50 percent discount. Woroch recommends Coup Recoup, a site where consumers attempt to sell their unwanted daily deal vouchers before they expire, where you can get even better deals.

Order carefully

You can save money at restaurants by simply watching what you order. Woroch recommends skipping alcohol, as the markup is 60 percent to 75 percent at restaurants. And consider splitting an appetizer and sharing a main dish. “Restaurant portions are often super sized anyway, so you don't really need two entrees," she says.

Plan an at-home date

A special night doesn't have to be out; you can accomplish the same goals of time together at home. “The trick to making an at-home date feel special and not like every other night is to try a new recipe, set up romantic candles and dress up as if you are going to a fancy restaurant," Woroch says. “If you have an outdoor patio, that's an even better setting for a romantic dinner."

Volunteer together

 You and your date can save money, form a stronger bond and help your community by planning a volunteering date. Consider helping staff a charity event or serving a meal at a homeless shelter, or participating in another cause that fits your interests.

Get discounts on social media

 Follow or like restaurants, movie theaters and other destinations on Facebook or Twitter, and you'll often get exclusive deals and coupons that can be used on your next date. For instance, Woroch recently saved 50 percent at Yogurtland by liking their Facebook page.

Get active

Consider planning a daytime activity like a hike and picnic or a bike ride with stops at a coffee shop, a museum or gallery, and an ice cream shop. Download the Roadtrippers app for help designing a route for a scenic drive and sites to see along the way, or look online for a walking tour of a historic part of your town or a neighboring city.“Dates don't have to be at night, nor do they have to cost you a lot of money," Woroch says.


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