How To Have A Fun Dating Life When You’re Broke

Dating is hard enough at the best of times. Throw in the added problem of being broke and it almost seems impossible. However, believe it or not, it’s actually possible to date when you don’t have any money. You might just have to make some minor adjustments to how you do things! Check out this list on how to make the best of dating when you don’t have much money.

  1. Forget the idea that a date is only good if it’s Instagram-worthy. Dates don’t have to be fancy to be good. In fact, some of the best dates are the simplest. It’s the person you’re with that makes a date good, not the activity nor the setting. So get it out of your head that you need extravagant, social media-worthy dates to be happy.
  2. Avoid dinner dates. As great as dinner dates can be, they can also be super expensive. Of course, it depends where you go. But romantic dinners often involve costly up-market restaurants, which is a problem for you if you’re broke. Rather than always going for dinner, suggest doing breakfast or lunch, which tends to be cheaper. If you do occasionally go on a dinner date, opt for an affordable place. And try not to order more than one course. Speaking of which …
  3. If you have to eat, order something small and cheap. Let’s say you do find yourself in a fancy restaurant on a date. You can still save a lot of money by ordering something small and cheap, like an entrée. Stick to table water unless you’re drinking alcohol. And if you are drinking, look carefully at the drinks menu before making your decision: a cider or glass of wine can be a lot cheaper than a cocktail.
  4. Make coffee dates your thing. Coffee dates are seriously underrated. They’re especially good for first dates because they can be over really quickly if it’s not going well. Or if it is going well, you can stay as long as you like. You don’t have to order any food or alcohol over a coffee date, which will significantly reduce the final bill. They’re also great if you work a lot and can’t spare a lot of time.
  5. Have a basic wardrobe of dating staples. If you’re broke, you probably can’t afford a new outfit for every date. Put your credit card away and organize your closet instead. Have a basic wardrobe of dating staples that you can mix and match again and again and again to save you feeling like you’re always wearing the same thing. Have a few night pieces and a few day pieces. Throw them together a little differently each time so you feel like you’ve got a new outfit without actually spending any more money.
  6. Swap expensive date ideas for free ones. Have a list of cost-effective date ideas up your sleeve. Swap dinner for coffee. Drinks at a bar for a walk or a hike. Go to the beach and watch the sunset. Watch movies at home instead of at the cinema. Find out what cool things are available in your city for free and do those, whether it’s going to a museum or to a city garden. You’d be surprised at how many great activities there are that won’t cost you a cent.
  7. Use free dating services instead of paid platforms. If you’re using technology to help you date—and most people are in 2021—opt for free services instead of paid platforms. There might be certain benefits that come with dating websites like eHarmony. But a lot of people have a great time using free apps like Hinge, Tinder, and Bumble too.
  8. Don’t upgrade your dating apps. The free dating apps, like Hinge, Tinder, and Bumble, come with the option to upgrade them. It’s tempting to pay for an upgrade since this allows you to have access to some cool features. But at the end of the day, you don’t need to see a list of people who have liked you first to date. You don’t need to be able to take back swiping left on someone. Those are perks that aren’t necessary.
  9. Be honest with your date. The best thing you can do when dating as a broke person is being honest with your date. This is especially true if you’ve been dating the same person for a while. Be up front about why you don’t want to go to a fancy restaurant so they don’t get the wrong idea. Yes, it can be difficult to have that conversation with someone you’re trying to impress. But if they’re going to judge you for not having your finances sorted out at the moment, maybe you don’t want to be dating them anyway.
  10. Do not date someone who always expects you to pay. As you can see, dating when you’re broke is not impossible. So there’s no excuse for someone to always expect you to pay for the dates. If they’re just as broke as you, there are plenty of free activities you can do together. And if they can afford to pay but expect you to, you have to question whether they’re really worth your time after all.
Vanessa Locampo is an Aussie writer who’s equally obsessed with YA fiction and pasta. Her time is divided between writing all the things, reading all the things, listening to Queen, and bopping her cat on the nose. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and has written for sites including and Discovering Montana, and currently works as an editor at Glam. You can keep up with her on Instagram @vanessaellewrites.