Dating can be an expensive proposition. Going on dates on a regular basis can be even more expensive. And if you live in Singapore - the most expensive city in the world - going for romantic outings can be very heavy on your wallet.
Whether you're looking to meet new people on a casual basis or seeking a long-term partner, keeping track of your expenses is as important as the dates that you will go out on. To ensure that your romantic life continues to be a financially viable experience, here are some tips you can follow to avoid runaway spending.
1. Set a budget for your date
This is perhaps the easiest method to save money, but the hardest one to follow. A budget sets limit on your expenses and also allows you to narrow your options for things to do during your date.
A good type of budget to set for yourself is by adopting the 50-30-20 rule. This rule is used for monthly budgets, where 50% of your income is spent on necessities, 30% is used for discretionary spending, and 20% is used for savings, investments and emergency expenses. Your dating expenses, therefore, should be kept within the 50-30 of necessities and discretionary spending.
Not only that, you can apply this to your date by using 50% of your money on a meal, 30% on any other activity (such as clubbing or a movie), and 20% on transport. You can also switch around the amount of money you use for each category. Maybe you only want to spend 20% of your money on a meal, with 30% on transport and 50% on the activity you have planned for your date. Don't be afraid to experiment with percentages, depending on what you want to do.
It's also okay to ask your date if they want to split the cost of the outing with you, especially if you've already gone on a few dates with the person. It's financially prudent and helps you to stick to your budget.
2. Look out for offers from restaurants and on other activities
Many restaurants and bars run various discounts and offers on a near-constant basis to attract more customers. You can use this to your advantage by doing a little research beforehand to find out what deals are on hand and how you can make use of them. Websites and apps such as Eatigo and Chope are good resources for doing this, as they offer discounts and point-based reward systems for using their platforms.
You can also check out activities such as museum visits, packages at theatres, even boat rides. Portals such as Fave (by Groupon) can give you a comprehensive list of activities in Singapore and the discount offers available. Most services provide several filters to help you narrow your choice, including activity type, its location and price range.
You can also consider paying for your meal using a rewards credit card to save money. There are several cards which concentrate on dining, such as the Citi Cashback Card and the POSB Everyday Card, or entertainment, like the HSBC Revolution Card. These cards (and others like them) can offer deep discounts or rich mile awards on dining and entertainment, so you can discreetly reduce the financial burden of these expenditures without making a big display out of it to your date.
3. Plan your date around ladies night
Going on a date on a ladies night (usually on Wednesday) can give you big savings. Bars and popular nightspots across the city offer special discounts on drinks and food, with some even giving out free drinks and appetisers for ladies. If you use plan well, you can effectively cut the cost of your date by up to 50%.
If your date involves taking someone for drinks and/or clubbing, you can use websites such as TripAdvisor for recommendations and reviews of the kind of bar/club you may want to visit. Such services can also help you discover places you may not have known about, and help you plan an outing according to the budget you have set for yourself. Credit cards like the ones discussed above can come in handy as well.
4. Make it an indoor date
If clubbing and eating out doesn't sound like your cup of tea, planning an indoor date can be equally romantic - and much lighter on your wallet. Especially for couples who have already gone out for a few times, ordering in some food (or even preparing a meal), as well as streaming a movie at home can go a long way towards saving costs. Cooking at home has the extra benefit of doing something fun together while potentially also getting food to eat for the next few meals. One tip you can follow is to shop at grocery stores using credit cards which offer discounts and cashbacks. Cards such as the UOB Delight Credit Card offer up to an 8% discount on groceries at several supermarket chains.
Prudent finances can lead to a sustainable romantic life
Do remember that no matter what your dating goals may be, being prudent with your finances can lead to a better dating experience over the long run. If your dates go well and lead to a long-term relationship, for example, you will need to occasionally spend big on gifts or anniversaries. When such a time arrives, you will be thankful to your old self for having saved enough money to handle such big purchases comfortably. We also understand how it could be potentially embarrassing to be modest with your spending, especially when you are trying to make a great first impression. However, these tips above should help you save discreetly without being noticed by the other person. Not only that, for a relationship to really work well over time, it might not be a bad idea to communicate your concerns if you have any.