There’s nothing more beautiful than seeing two people fall hopelessly in love with one another. From when they initially lock eyes from across the room, to the wonderful moment where they finally say their “I dos,” finding relationship bliss is oftentimes the goal of many people. It’s hard to put a price on love, but the unfortunate truth is, dating does come at a price.
While many people can and do develop lasting relationships without spending a single penny, it seems all but impossible in today’s expensive world. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to find your soulmate — but you’re not interested in breaking the bank in doing so — then you may need to look at alternatives. Here are five essential money-saving tips to help you court your crush, without getting crushed with debt.
Visit Your Local Farmer’s Market
When most people think of a farmer’s market, they tend to think of rows after rows of fresh produce, stacked high on a cart, while the proud farmer stands in front of it. What they don’t realize is that a farmer’s market is so much more than an affordable way to stretch your produce budget. It’s also a great way to check out local vendors and sneak in a little bit of people watching, too.
Not only are farmer’s markets oh-so-much more affordable than shopping at your grocery store, but many farmers also offer free samples of their fresh produce or baked goods. Near the end of the day, they’re all but giving away their leftovers, meaning you can walk out with pounds of delicious, organic food for an impressively low price. Helping your local economy and having a great time is just another perk of it.
Spend a Day at the Library
If there’s one underappreciated resource in your community, it would have to be your library. Your city’s library is an incredible resource for not only books, but a myriad of other things you can check out, too. Did you know that some libraries let you check out recently released movies (hello free date night!) and even tools (if you got bitten by a crafting bug)?
Plus, there’s something remarkably intimate about spending a day with your partner at your library. Sitting side by side, your shoulders touching as you turn the pages of a riveting book, is a fantastic way to destress and unwind. Even better, when you get home, you can discuss the book you were reading. And you guessed it… great conversation is always free.
Take Your Date On a Picnic
Many of your town’s parks are free to get into, making this an incredibly affordable date. If you’re strapped for cash, you can always check out your local food banks, as they are often giving away household staples such as bread, fresh produce, and protein. Simply load up a basket (or reusable canvas bag) with some of your favorite seasonal produce and finger foods, then head to the park.
Once there, all you need to do is find yourself the perfect spot, spread out your blanket, and unpack your lunch. When you finish eating, please be sure to pack up your waste and properly recycle or dispose of it. If the park has a duck pond, you can head on over and feed the ducks. But don’t feed them bread, as that can be harmful to them. Instead, throw some oats, rice, or even corn (all affordable and waterfowl safe!).
Give Back With Volunteering
Sometimes, the best way you can connect with your partner is not by doing something for yourself, but rather, for someone else. Giving back to your community is not only free, but it’s also surprisingly rewarding, too. Many communities are in great need of an extra set of helping hands, and bonding with your date over volunteering can both strengthen your relationship and your bond with your neighborhood.
There are a number of ways you can give back, too. For instance, you can spend a day at your local food bank (a wonderful way to thank them for feeding you when you were down on your luck) or working with a homeless outreach program. If you’re an animal lover, you can reach out to your local animal shelter and offer to walk dogs, or you can assist your local senior services. No matter what you do, you’ll be sure to feel incredible while doing so.
Enjoy a Nature Hike
You don’t have to be a fitness buff to take part in a nature hike. Many of your community’s trails are open to all levels of fitness, ranging from the beginner to the more intermediate and advanced. All you need is a pair of good walking shoes, some water (in a reusable bottle, of course), and enough snacks to keep your energy up. Rather than spending the time chatting, instead, focus on the beauty surrounding you.
Most local parks and trails are free to enter, as well. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, why not pack a recyclable bag and some heavy-duty gloves, and do a little bit of clean-up while there? That way, you can make sure you’re preserving the splendor of nature for any other travelers who decide to go that route in the future. You’ll make good memories and do good at the same time.
Establishing healthy spending habits, and setting a budget, can help set you up for both relationship and financial happiness in the future. If you find you need an affordable accountant to help you do so, the small initial investment can be more than worth it. Finding a budget accountant can be a breeze, as well, as a quick search through your city’s local marketing for accounting firms can readily put you in touch with a low-cost financial expert.
Like the old adage goes, the couple that saves together stays together. By demonstrating early on that you don’t need to spend an exorbitant amount of money early on in your relationship, you can quickly learn that money doesn’t always equal happiness. And by following these five fun, easy, and affordable dating tips, you can help ensure you and your partner enjoy many long, blissful years together!