My boyfriend’s a cheap date. It’s not an insult—just the truth. I, too, am a cheap date so it’s one of the reasons we’re so good together. During the six years of our relationship, we’ve learned that dating doesn’t have to be expensive. Below are some of the frugal highlights from our time together.
The boyfriend and I were long distance my senior year of college, but one night he decided to surprise me with a visit and a bouquet of flowers. It was hands down the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me.
The part that’s less romantic is that they were leftover hotel flowers. As I mentioned in a previous post, the boyfriend works at a hotel and he had snagged them for free from a banquet he worked the night before.
However, it was perfect for me because while I appreciate flowers, they’re stupidly overpriced. I would have felt bad if he had wasted thirty dollars on something that was going to die a week later. If you want free flowers but don’t work at a hotel, try growing them yourself.
The boyfriend’s other job is teaching. To become a certified teacher, he had to spend six years in college studying the art of Powerpoint-making. Needless to say, he’s a pro.
He made one for my birthday a few years ago that was full of inside jokes, pictures of us, and fancy animations. It ended with an interactive jeopardy board with trivia about our relationship. It’s my favorite present anyone’s ever given me.
This is one of the best frugal date ideas for lazy homebodies. Put couch cushions on the ground and tie sheets to the furniture to create a cozy Netflix-viewing area (pro tip: use safety pins to attach sheets together). Pop some popcorn, put on your favorite show, and cozy up together. It’s a great way to spice up your usual movie night.
During my first real job out of college, I was a little bummed because I had to work on my birthday for the first time in my life. I told myself it wouldn’t be too bad and I’d at least get a card or some cake out of it.
However, when I arrived at work, I was told that one of our store locations had burned to the ground in the middle of the night. All the employees were safe, but the entire office was in chaos mode and, of course, no one remembered my birthday.
I wasn’t planning on seeing the boyfriend until later that evening, but when I got home from my horrible day at work, I saw that he had already stopped by. He had plastered my bedroom mirror with Post-It notes full of inside jokes, compliments, and doodles, and left a bottle of Cabernet and a bag of Reese’s (a classic wine/chocolate pairing). It didn’t cost much but it was the perfect thing to come home to after a stressful birthday.
I used to HATE puzzles as a kid. I think I just didn’t have the patience. I would always do the edges and easily recognizable patterns and then give up. Fortunately, the boyfriend is a weirdo and enjoys putting together the 100 identically colored sky pieces. Between the two of us, we can knock out a puzzle in a few hours.
And the cost? You can get a 500-piece puzzle for a buck at the Dollar Tree.
Valentine’s Day Steaks
We went all out for Valentine’s Day this year and bought a couple of steaks from our local butcher shop. We grilled them on our Griddler (for those wondering, a Griddler is a cooking appliance, not a Batman villain), and served them with some Aldi sides and boxed wine to create a romantic dinner.
We didn’t have to bother with reservations or crowds, and the cooking was part of the date night experience. All told, we were able to have a private, romantic dinner for about twenty bucks.
The most important point in all this is that we have a similar outlook on finances and don’t view spending money as an expression of love. We will openly brag about deals we get on presents for each other, and are always on the lookout for free or cheap activities to do together. When it comes to dates and presents, we value the effort and the experience more than the dollar amount.
What are your cheap date ideas? Leave your answers in the comments.