Can’t buy me love (cause I can’t afford it)

Being a “cheap” date used to be a bit of an insult, but now it’s a way to get money-savvy suitors to your doorstep as single people trim their romance budgets. 

Driving the news: Dinner and drinks, a standard date night combo, is more expensive than ever as restaurant bills have jumped 7% in the past year and bar tabs have grown by 5.5%. 

  • How about getting to your date destination? That’s another skyrocketing cost as gas prices and Uber fares continue to climb. 

  • And meeting people to go on dates with costs more, too—people are paying for premium accounts on dating apps to boost their chances of finding “The One.”

Why it’s happening: No surprise here—it’s inflation (combined with recession fears) that has people anxious about unnecessary spending. 

  • It’s getting more difficult to justify spending the money (or time, tbh) to meet up with that dating app match you might not even mesh with.

Yes, but: Traditional dating is expensive, but being single is more expensive. There’s no one to split rent, groceries or other bills with and the financial burdens of being alone don’t leave much room in the budget for dates.

To quote pop icon and relationship expert J.Lo, “love don’t cost a thing.” So here are some date ideas that don’t either:

  • Park dates. Got a great local park or beach? Pack a few snacks, a thermos of hot chocolate and a nice blanket. You’ll have a relaxed environment to people-watch and lots of conversation starters surrounding you.

  • Cook at home. You’ll save a lot of money by making a romantic meal at home—ask your date to bring wine or dessert and show off your culinary prowess.

  • Find free events. Some museums and art galleries have nights where they wave admission for the public or ask for a small donation. An excellent weeknight date idea! 

Bottom line: Honesty is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship, so being upfront with potential partners about your finances is an opportunity to set the tone. You don’t have to show them your TFSA account on the first date, but be open with them about your date night budget.