Did you know that bad dates will cost UK singles 96 million hours and £2 billion this year? That’s the finding of a recent survey by the experts at eharmony, who also found that bad dates don’t just impact your bank balance. 16% of singles report feeling disheartened after dates while 51% don’t expect to date at all in 2018! But how can you save money and still find love? eharmony’s relationship expert Verity Hogan shares her top tips for how to spend your money well on dates:

Forget dinner dates

Forget dinner dates

Forget dinner dates

There’s no need to commit to dinner and a movie for a first date. The focus should be on getting to know one another, not how fancy your meal is. Suggest a daytime coffee date instead. That way you’ll save time and money, have an uninterrupted conversation and, if sparks don’t fly, you can politely excuse yourself without having sacrificed a precious free evening.  

Make it an experience

When time and money is precious, bad dates hurt even more. It’s not just the romantic disappointment but the pain of wasting a whole evening and cash you could have spent on something you enjoy. A great way to combat this it to choose date activities that you’d like to do even it wasn’t a date. If you take a date to that bar you’ve been dying to try or the exhibition you’ve been planning to see then you’re sure to enjoy yourself, even if the date itself doesn’t work out.

Invest in a dating site

It may sound counter-intuitive but paying for a dating site could save you money in the long-run. Investing in a site shows that you’re serious about looking for a relationship, and the people you meet will likely be serious too. Paid sites often offer more detailed profiles, so you can find out more about your prospective date, flag up any deal-breakers, and find things you might have in common before agreeing to meet.

Be honest

Whether you meet someone online or off, being honest will save you money and time. If you’re looking for a relationship but you end up on a date with someone who can’t even commit to their drink choice, the chances are, things won’t go well. Don’t be afraid to make your intentions and deal-breakers clear from the outset. The more you and your date know about each other’s expectations before you meet, the less likely you are to be disappointed.

Investigate free date options

You may be surprised by just how many free date options there are out there. Outside dates are great when the weather’s warm; take a stroll around a local park or explore a new area you’ve never visited before. If the sun isn’t shining, why not head to a museum or gallery? Cultural dates aren’t just budget-friendly, they can also be more effective than traditional date ideas. Walking side-by-side is less intense than sitting opposite your date, helping conversation to flow, and the exhibits always make great conversation starters if you’re lost for words.

Split the bill 

The debate around who should pay the bill is ongoing but, these days, splitting it is much more common. If money is tight, don’t feel pressured to pay for everything. Be honest and explain the situation. There’s no need to whip out a calculator to painstakingly add every item, simply split down the middle. If your date is only interested in a free night out, then they’re probably not right for you anyway!

Look for compatibility

Dating someone who’s compatible with you means that you’ll likely have a good date, even if the chemistry isn’t there. Compatibility isn’t just about having things in common – although shared interests can help – it goes deeper than that. Consider whether you and your date share the same values and personality traits. Do you both prioritise fitness? Are you both big Friday night partiers? How important is family to you? The more of these core values and traits you share, the more likely you’ll have a meaningful date.

Be yourself

Everyone wants to look their best on a first date and it can be tempting to splash out on a new outfit for the occasion. Don’t do it. Be yourself. Trust me; you’ll feel so much more confident in the old dress that always draws compliments than something new that you’re not quite sure about. It’s a cliché but being happy and confident in your own skin really is much more attractive than being uncomfortable in an expensive outfit.

Prioritise phone calls

Do you remember the last time you called someone? We all love WhatsApp but there’s nothing quite like speaking to someone on the phone. Try to share a call with your date before meeting up. Just 10 or 15 minutes can be enough to work out whether you have a connection or not. Hearing their voice might put you immediately at ease while a call peppered with awkward silences might make you realise you don’t have so much in common after all.

Don’t binge date

Thanks to disposable dating apps, it’s easier than ever to get a date. You could conceivably be out every night of the week if you wanted to be. Unfortunately, binge dating like this not only leaves you time poor (and financially poor), it also leads to dating burnout. Think quality over quantity. Take time to get to know your date online before arranging to meet and only go on dates with people you’re really interested in. Anything else just isn’t worth investing your time or your money.