Budget dating in 2018: yes, it’s possible!

By Danielle van Wyk

Let’s face it - a date can often be an expensive rather than a romantic experience, adding even more stress to a first date or to a couple just wanting to have fun or rekindle the passion. So, how can you stretch your rand in the name of romance?

The meaning of “date night” is just that - two words, says the owner of Date Night SA, Leilani Kuter. But spending time together - coffee in bed, taking a stroll, watching your favourite movie, finishing a race together, catching fish, learning to make sushi, taking dancing lessons or going on a sea cruise - now that is when "date night" is alive and energetic. The time that you spend with your loved one equals a date night - or even a date day!

For many however the challenge arises when it comes to spending the money. This is where instituting a “date budget” could be a good idea. Once a month you and/or your partner decide on a realistic amount to set aside for a date night during the coming month.

While defining what your budget will be is subjective to circumstance, Kuter says that the average budget spend is R350 to R500 per date.

But beyond that, people want effort.

“Women are turned off by the ‘no effort date idea’. I did a blog post about dinner in the back yard and asked people what they thought – they loved it. Woman (and men) today want effort,” Kuter explains.

In case you’re stumped as where to start, Kuter offers a few ideas:

1. If you and your partner enjoy the outdoors or want to introduce exercise into your lives, why not go on a hike? You could go on a hiking trail or even for a walk in a botanical garden.

Simply pack a backpack with snacks or a small lunch and stop off along the hike to enjoy. This will not only give you an opportunity to bond away from all the hustle and bustle but will also give you a sense of accomplishment once you’ve completed the hike.

2. Grab a picnic basket, fill it with a few of your partner’s favourites and have a picnic under the stars. Where? Why not try your backyard? Not only will it allow for privacy, but it will save you money. 

3. Have a memory lane night - go through all your photos and create a folder or slideshow and enjoy this with a bottle of affordable wine. Remember, the best dates are those that allow you and your partner to reconnect.

4. While it is still chilly out, suggest a movie night. But instead of going out to the cinema, choose a movie and just ‘veg-out’ on the couch. Institute the “No cell phones allowed” rule and spend some good quality time together.

5. There are few things that compare to a good laugh with your partner. Board games can be a lot of fun and cheap to do.

Alternatively, for couples who simply can’t seem to find the time to plan a date there are date-planning sites like Date Factory, Date in a box or Kuter’s Date Night SA that for a fee will tailor-make and plan a date for you and your partner every month. 

“Remember, a divorce lawyer is way more expensive than a baby-sitter, so make date day/night a priority,” says Kuter.

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