Being a cheap date doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, a cheap date done right can mean doing way more for way less. Today, I’ll go through the history of the cheap date, and talk about my favorite ways for how you can save money while still showing your special someone a great time!
Apparently, I’m a Cheap Date
Did you know the term “cheap date” refers to someone who gets drunk after only a few drinks? Because I didn’t! But seriously, it’s true. The phrase dates back to the 1940s, and refers to the lack of drinks needed to get your date upstairs. You know, to see your “record collection.”
Now, my wife has called me a cheap date more than once. However, I choose to believe that’s because of my mad deal-finding skills. If there’s a coupon or a deal or a discount code, you better believe I’ll find it. And not only will I find it, but I’ll present it to the waiter with pride. And that’s why I love being married.
I’ll be married for four years this year, and I still think marriage is a lot easier than dating. Dating can be difficult because nobody wants to look like a cheap penny-pincher. There’s a stigma around that, for some reason. Ending a nice dinner with a “buy one get one free” coupon just doesn’t look “cool.”
But it is cool. Very cool, actually. That coupon shows that you know how to have a nice time without breaking the bank. You make a budget and you stick to it. Now that’s sexy.
At least, that’s what I tell myself. After all, these are the things my wife has to put up with. But I don’t think she minds. In fact, I know she doesn’t. She’d rather stay under budget on dinner than take money out of another category. It’s all about trade-offs, and we both understand that.
Say No More to Expensive Dates
So today, I want to end the stigma of being a cheap date. And to be clear, by cheap date, I mean someone who can find amazing deals on amazing dates. Someone who can stretch a dollar further, so they can afford to do more with less.
Times have changed. I believe being labeled a cheap date should be less of an insult and more of a badge of honor. Let me teach you my tips and tricks for taking your significant other out on the town, on the cheap.
#1) Join Mailing Lists
Do you have a favorite restaurant, coffee shop, or pie store? Join their email list! I’ve saved literally hundreds of dollars by being a part of these lists.
For example, my favorite coffee shop, Biggby Coffee, emails out BOGO coupons literally every Sunday. For two coffee lover on a budget, this is a huge score! Sometimes these coupons are the difference between both of us going or neither of us going.
We also have a favorite pie shop, Grand Traverse Pie Company, and joining their email list has some major perks. Not only do we get special sale notices, but we get a free slice on our birthday! Plus, for every $150 we spend, we get $10 back!
(Please don’t ask me how many times we’ve gotten $10 back. We really like pie, okay?).
#2) Look in Your Junk Mail
Okay, this one took us a while to figure out. You know all the junk mail you get mixed in with your regular mail? Well, sometimes, if you’re really lucky, there are coupons hidden inside! We learned this completely by accident. My wife was carrying all of our junk mail to the trash one night when a coupon sheet fell out!
There were coupons for a lot of the local shops near us (even Biggby!). We’ve lived here for over two years, so I don’t even want to think about all the coupons we’ve accidentally thrown away. Whether it’s a dollar off or a BOGO, money is money. If I’m already going to buy it, might as well save some money too!
You might even find a place you haven’t visited in a long time. For example, there was a Burger King coupon in our pile one night, and I was shocked. I sort of thought Burger King wasn’t around anymore. Turns out, they’re still putting up a fight with their coupons!
Sure, Burger King might not be the most romantic date night, but there was still a nice nostalgia to our trip. Not to mention, fast food plus a coupon is basically like, what money?! Let’s just say we feasted like (burger) kings.
#3) Hit Up the Discount Gift Card Sites
Discount gift card websites are one of my favorite things about the internet. I can literally spend a little money to buy more money. It’s like alchemy, but with Applebee’s gift cards.
Using websites like cardpool, cardcash, and raise, you can look up your favorite whatever and buy a gift card for less than the face value. People try to sell their cards on these sites because they’d rather have cash than a gift card. I buy from these sites because I’d rather get more for my money when I know where I’ll be shopping.
These websites have plenty of stores, from top retailers to popular restaurants. You’re unlikely to find a gift card to a local mom & pop shop, but it’s got plenty of the big names! I’ll purchase a digital gift card whenever we go out to dinner. By the time we get our check, I’ve got the gift card in my email!
#4) Take Advantage of Your Credit Cards
Gasp! A personal finance blogger talking about credit cards. That’s right, I’m just that edgy. I’m all for using credit cards, as long as they’re paid off at the end of every month. They’re just a more secure version of a debit card, with extra perks!
With our credit cards, we earn 1-5% cashback on most of our purchases. We let this money pile up until there’s something we want to spend it on. Then, we turn it into more money.
A lot of credit card companies will let you redeem your cashback points in the form of gift cards. These gift cards can often be purchased at a discount! My Discover credit card is great for this. Every few months, I can buy a $25 gift card to my favorite restaurant by only redeeming $20! That’s a 20% increase!
#5) Pay Attention to Special Discount Days
Some places will have special deals on the same day every week. Mark these days on your calendar to save some cash!
A common venue is probably your local movie theater. For example, our theater has all-day matinee movie prices on Tuesdays. No longer do we need to get off work early to get a good deal on movie tickets. Now, if there’s a movie we want to see, we mark it on the calendar for Tuesday night!
Some restaurants do specials like this too. One where I used to live offered free pie on Wednesday nights, with the purchase of any entree. If you’re already planning to eat out, why not get free pie while you’re at it!
Checkout your favorite hangouts, and see if they have any deals like these! They’re very popular ways to bring in more customers on otherwise-slow days, so these types of deals are probably right around the corner!
#6) Netflix and… Enjoy Each Other’s Company
Okay, so this one might be cheating, but it’s still a valid way to have a cheap date. Don’t go anywhere that costs money! Our world is full of places you can enjoy without spending a dime.
You can go for walks, have a picnic, or just stay home to Netflix and chill. Sure, Netflix isn’t free, but if you’re already paying for it, you might as well use it! All of these options are cheap alternatives to expensive nights out. Plus, the personal one-on-one time these free alternatives offer might just make your relationship stronger.
There’s no reason to spend money if you don’t need to. Sure, money can buy you a good a time, for a little while. But then what? At the end of the date, you and your special someone are left with just each other. Learn how to enjoy each other’s company without the distraction of a movie or a restaurant, and you’ll be in a great place.
Cheap Dates, Arise!
So, there you have it! These are my six favorite ways to be a cheap date. Leave the drunk lightweights alone and be a proper cheap date! Take your significant other out for a night neither of you will forget (or pay much for).
What are some of your favorite ways to save money on dates? Any techniques not listed here? I’d love to know in the comments!
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