So I asked a few friends to come up with a $20 date. Why? Well I found that I see a lot of opinions on dating being expensive and some men feel women use them just for an expensive night out. I believe a good date is about how you vibe with the person you are with, not what you do, or how much you spend.
Rules: You can only spend $20 total. It has to last at least an hour. It has to include a meal or an activity(both if you can). Simple!
I chose the following people to help me with my experiment.
Single guy/single girl
Established relationship not married
Let's see what they came up with...
My married couple have three teenage daughters that are extremely involved in extra curricular activities. Their days, weekends, and nights are normally spent focused on being parents. They chose a lunch date a local pizza place. They spent about $15 and enjoyed a meal and an hour of time with each other.
Lunch is a great time to date. It has a time limit so if you are just getting to know a person, you don't feel forced to be around them for a long period of time. You don't even need an excuse because they should already know you have to get back to work. It's also much cheaper than a dinner date. Limited time will limit the places you will be going. Lunch dates are also great with your friends. A quick time to catch up during the week.
The established couple has been dating for several years. They go out on dates a lot and are always looking for new things to do. They have had $200 meals and 4 for $4 meals. For them it was about staying connected and making sure they are checked in.
They chose an ice cream date at Bruster's on a Sunday afternoon. For less than $10 dollars, they each had waffle cones full of amazing ice cream and used the time to chat and discuss their plans for the week.
Sunday afternoon or evening dates are a great way to slow down and end a busy weekend and a great way to set the tone for the week ahead(if the date goes well...if not, well, there is always next Sunday, right?)
Single guy/single girl date can be a bit more challenging. It's a balance between making sure the person wants to get to know you and is not just trying to scheme for a free meal for the guy. Also it's a balance between making sure the guy values you and is not just wasting your time. The couple that did the experiment for me had just met. They worked that $20 budget! They initially went to a driving range and chatted while hitting some golf balls. They then went to a bar and had a drink and played cards with candy bets. They came in right at $20. The time of the date was after lunch but before dinner so no meal was required. It's a great way to get to know a person without the pressure and expense.
The single person chose a wine tasting as a date night.
Hint, it was me. A local restaurant does a wine tasting a couple of times per month and I sometimes go with a group of ladies but I tried it as a solo night. The cost is $20 and includes 6 tastings of wines and two appetizers. Confession: I went over $20 because of tax and tip. Being alone, the wine sales person gave me a lot of attention and also extra wine to taste! Win!!! It was really fun but it was honestly better with the group just for the jokes and laughter.
The single person date can also be done by a person that's in a relationship. It's time you spend with yourself. I love this type of date. It's great for self care. My favorite date myself day is on Sundays. I like going to church, grabbing brunch after, and then going for a walk or even going home to take a nice nap. It's a nice treat to myself before I start the week.
Here are few more $20~ish date ideas:
*Cook together. If you are comfortable with each other, head to your nearest grocery store and look for one of their prepackaged meal plans. They normally serve two and include everything you need to create the meal from scratch. It's normally around $15 dollars, and you can grab a $10 bottle of wine, a $1 box of brownie mix for dessert for a nice dinner in. Turn on Netflix and chill or whatever afterwards.
*Breakfast dates/coffee dates. Meet on Saturday mornings or even before work if you're up to it. Grab a cup of coffee/tea, a breakfast pastry or sandwich and discuss your plans for the day. It's timed so you don't end up stuck with someone you don't like.
*Happy Hour. Did you exchange 'my job is stressful' texts throughout the day? Meet and have a drink or two after work. Take turns trashing your boss and coworkers! Happy hour specials will keep the tab low.
*Fit couple. Go to the gym together. Most gyms allow you to bring someone in for a small fee or even free the first time. Bring your date a bottle of water, a clean towel and grab a smoothie afterwards. Extra points if you make him/her a workout playlist to listen to while you both workout.
For me, when I'm dating I think do I like this person or what we are doing, or both? There are not right or wrongs way to date. There are no set rules that we all need to follow. Don't let the cost of getting to know someone deter you from what could be your soul mate or even a life long friend.