…is nigh on impossible! So I am open to ideas here!
I’ll be honest, this week’s saturday savings post is also a chance to update you on the dating situation (apologies to those of you not really interested in girly gossip type posts, feel free to skip to the end!). I am back online looking for love (well not really, but definitely looking for some good fun!), which brings me to
Dating on the Cheap Rule Number 1: Do not pay for online dating sites. Some of the sites are SO expensive, so go with a free one and save your money for the actual dates! My sister uses pof and I use OKCupid, both of us are pretty happy. I would pay in the future if I had more money, but I think for a free site OKCupid is brilliant (I used pof in Spain and found you needed to sift through more dodgy types, but still met some nice guys on there and my sister says she likes it).
So, online dating profile set up, I was ready to go again. So, a couple of weeks ago I had my first date. We arranged to go for drinks and he asked if I wanted to get some food too, since we were going straight from work I knew food would be a good idea if we were drinking, but also knew I had very little money, so
Dating on the Cheap Rule Number 2: Be honest. If you have limited funds, say so. You don’t have to go into details and you can always use an acceptable excuse – you don’t have to make it sound permanent (even if, as in my case, it is!) In this case, I went with the fact that I’d just moved and didn’t have too much cash.
I was also messaging another guy who asked if I wanted to meet up, and again I followed my rule – yes, I want to meet up, but I can’t until payday. If he’s that interested, he’ll wait and meet up then and if not, not worth it anyway. He made a good point and checked that I wasn’t just trying to fob him off or waste time etc., which I didn’t mind, because people must do that, but I made it clear that I just wanted to be honest, didn’t expect him to pay and couldn’t afford it right now and he was happy to wait. I think this rule also paints you in a pretty good light in terms of you being honest should it come to a relationship too.
So, I told date number one, ‘R’, I was happy to get food, but we’d need to go somewhere cheap and cheerful (obviously by cheap and cheerful, I’m not suggesting a date in McDonalds or anything, but more pub tea than fine dining!), and leading on from that…
Dating on the Cheap Rule Number 3: Share. Tapas, sharing platters, half and half a pizza, split a starter or dessert instead of having one each etc. Cheaper and a good way to break the ice.
We met up and had a good night (two bottles of wine and the last ones out of the place good) so arranged to meet up again. We’d been texting and he’d mentioned that he liked to bake, I’d joked about not being very good at it and used this to suggest a baking date at mine for date number 2 – no paying for meals or drinks etc.
Dating on the Cheap Rule Number 4: Stay in (or if you’re outdoorsy, go out!) and do something you both enjoy. Obviously I wouldn’t suggest this for date number one, neither would I suggest staying in regularly for your dates with the same person, and I think it may not be something you do til after a few dates, depending on you, your date and how it’s all going. But it is a good option to break up the cost of going for drinks, meals, cinemas etc. Find something you both enjoy (surely there is something you have in common for you to be on a date in the first place, this is a good way to find out more about each other too!) and stay in to do it together – baking, drawing (L and I used to play silly drawing games in Madrid when he came over-it doesn’t have to be serious), watch a film on DVD instead of going to the cinema, have a trashy TV night, cook a meal together rather than paying for one, raid each other’s music collections, have stupid competitions (see my lego bhuilding below), if you like being outside go for a walk or bike ride (clearly these last two are not top of my list)…
So, ‘R’ came over, we made brownies, drank wine, and ended up building lego dinosaurs - it was loads of fun and cost me the price of a bottle of wine (and that was on offer!) He did ask if I wanted to go out again last week, but I ended up double booked (and then not going on either of them!), which brings us to…
Dating on the Cheap Rule Number 5 Timing is everything. Plan ahead and schedule things to spread the cost. I know that sounds boring – not very spontaneous and romantic, but it’s more a question of when you arrange to go on a date, choose a day when you know you haven’t got lots of other expenses – for example, this week, I cancelled my date because I knew I was out with friends this weekend and couldn’t afford both, but this week coming I have no weekend plans, so I’ll go on a date but stay in next weekend.
So, things with ‘R’ have cooled down since I asked to rearrange. He’d been pretty keen and texting a lot, and I just wasn’t sure how I felt. I liked him, we had a great time, but there wasn’t really a spark – I’d see him again if he got in touch again, but only in a very casual way. But, I said I was going out tomorrow, right? Yep, tomorrow I am meeting ‘A’ – the guy who has patiently waited til after payday for me to meet up with him. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure we have that much in common in terms of our tastes, but he seems like a nice guy, looks good and I’m prepared to accept that opposites can attract, so one date can’t hurt! We’ll see what happens!
There are loads of other tips and tricks for dating on the cheap, but I’m hoping I can share them with you alongside the next installment of gossip!
In the meantime – any suggestions? Things you’ve done that worked well (or things you’ve done on a date that you’d never, ever do again or recommend?!)