How to Date if You Are Broke

Three Methods:Dating on a Limited BudgetLooking Good on a BudgetTelling Your Date You’re Broke

From eating at expensive restaurants to buying new clothes for each outing, dating can be expensive. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a great date, though. With a little creativity, even if you’re broke, you can still enjoy some really fun dates without spending a lot of money.

Method 1
Dating on a Limited Budget

  1. 1
    Plan a picnic in the park. Pack up some sandwiches, a salad, bottles of water, and a blanket, and head for a nearby park. You don’t even need to prepare a full meal. Snacks work great too. Instead of sandwiches or salad, try bringing a bunch of grapes, some cheese and crackers, and something sweet for dessert. A casual picnic outdoors is a great way to get to know your date better without the pressure associated with a more formal setting, such as a fancy restaurant.[1]
  2. 2
    Take a walk on the beach. If you live near an oceanside beach, you and your date can search for seashells and other treasures washed ashore. You can also clean up the beach together. Picking up trash might not seem glamorous, but it will give you and your date a chance to get to know each other better while doing something good for the environment.
  3. 3
    Go for a hike. Not only does hiking along a nature trail provide a low pressure way to get to know someone better, it’s also an excellent opportunity to see some beautiful sites.[2] Plus, you’ll get a bit of exercise while you’re at it.
  4. 4
    Explore a nearby farmer’s market or flea market. Both of these are easy date outings and entrance is often free.[3] If your date enjoys farmer’s markets and flea markets, it can be fun for both of you to see what things catch the other’s eye as you browse the market.
  5. 5
    Listen to a concert in the park. Many cities and towns host free outdoor concerts during summer.[4] Attending one of these events with a date can be a fun and affordable way to check out local Indie bands.
  6. 6
    Watch a movie at home. Choose a movie you already own or watch something online if you or your date have a subscription to Netflix or a similar service.
    • If you do have an online movie subscription service and aren’t prepared to invite your date over just yet, use a laptop, tablet, iPad, or other portable device to watch the movie together at the beach or park, for instance.
  7. 7
    Play chess or other board games. Pull out that old stack of board games you haven’t played in a while and make a date of it.[5] You can get together for a game night at home, the park, or even the library.
    • If you don’t have any board games on hand, try borrowing some from family and friends, or but some at a huge discount from a thrift store or garage sale.
  8. 8
    Cook a meal at home. It’s usually cheaper to prepare a meal at home versus going out to eat. Plus, taking the time to cook for someone is always a nice gesture.
    • For a festive twist, make a themed meal. Prepare a meal of Italian, Chinese, or Mexican dishes, for instance, and play complementary music to go along with the food.[6]
  9. 9
    Volunteer somewhere on a weekend afternoon. Pick a charitable organization that appeals to you or your date and suggest volunteering there together.[7] It’s a great way to get to know one another better, while also doing some good.

Method 2
Looking Good on a Budget

  1. 1
    Borrow an outfit from a friend. You might already have some nice clothes in your closet, but it’s always nice to wear something new. If you need or want a new outfit for your next date, save money by asking a friend if you can borrow something from them.[8]
    • For girls, wearing a different dress or skirt borrowed from your sister or best friend is an affordable way to feel great in something new to you.
    • For guys, consider borrowing a nice shirt and jacket from a friend.
  2. 2
    Visit a thrift store. You can find some excellent clothing and accessory pieces at your local resale or consignment shop.[9] There are even several online thrift stores you can order from. The prices are truly affordable and many resale shops now specialize in current or trendy brands and styles.
    • The Attic is an online resale shop with men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories.
    • Another online thrift shop with name brand women’s clothing and accessories is thredUP.
  3. 3
    Sign up for a free haircut from a local cosmetology school. This can be a convenient option if it’s been a while since your last haircut and you just can’t justify the expense. Some schools provide free cuts to people willing to let student practice their skills on them.[10]
    • Keep in mind that, since the students are still in training, there is some risk of not getting the exact cut you want. In most cases, though, you’ll walk away with a fresh new haircut that looks good.
    • Barbers tend to be more affordable than salons for basic haircuts so consider visiting a local barber as an option when you need a trim.[11]
  4. 4
    Practice good grooming and hygiene. Even if you are flat broke, it doesn’t cost much to look and smell clean. Arrive for your date freshly showered with your hair combed. Good grooming and proper hygiene can help everyone look their best without spending much money.

Method 3
Telling Your Date You’re Broke

  1. 1
    Don’t bring up your financial situation on the first date. While honesty is always good, extremely personal details don’t need to be shared until after you’ve gone out with the same person several times and plan to continue seeing him or her. Let your date get to know you before bringing up money concerns.[12]
  2. 2
    Don’t wait too long to reveal your money troubles. Even though you should avoid discussing your financial woes on the first date, you can’t keep that information secret forever. If you plan to continue dating the same person, you’ll need to be honest with them at some point.
    • A reasonable time to tell someone about your financial situation is about one month into dating, if you’ve already gone out several times during that first month.[13]
    • To bring up the topic of money, try starting the conversation by saying something like, “I’m really glad we met and I like spending time with you. I hope we continue dating so I want to be honest with you and let you know that I don’t have a lot of money right now.”
  3. 3
    Share your plans for getting back on track financially. You don’t have to give your date a detailed outline of everything you are doing or plan to do to get back on your feet financially. Just give them an idea of the general steps you are taking, such as applying for a new job. Knowing that you are doing something about the situation can be reassuring to the person you are dating.
  4. 4
    Give your date an easy out, if needed. Even if the person you’ve been dating has enjoyed their time with you, they might be uncomfortable with your financial situation. Avoid making them feel bad if they don’t want to continue dating. End the dating relationship on good terms.
    • Try saying something like, “I’ve had a lot of fun with you and I don’t mind hanging out as just friends it that works best for you.”
    • You can say something else such as, “I understand if you want to take a break from dating for a while. I can always get in touch with you once I get back on my feet financially, if that’s okay with you.”
    • If the person you’ve been dating does want to take a break after you’ve revealed your money troubles, that doesn’t mean you have to begin dating them again later. In fact, you might choose not to go back to dating someone who was uncomfortable with you being broke at the time. Just don’t fault them for feeling that way.


  • There are plenty of free activities that make for a fun date, such as enjoying the outdoors.
  • If you need a new outfit to wear on your next date, try borrowing something from a friend or visit a thrift shop.
  • Avoid revealing your money troubles on the first date.

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Categories: Ideas for Dates