Cost of living crisis: why low-cost date ideas are rising in popularity

It’s a scenario we are all very familiar with at the moment. You open a menu and can’t quite believe how much the prices have increased since the last time you went out. When you ask for your bill after a night of wining and dining you are surprised at the total you’ve managed to accumulate. The cost of living has skyrocketed in recent months, making it seem expensive to eat and drink at even the more modest of establishments.

The current financial squeeze is being felt in the dating world as the more traditional date ideas suddenly feel like a splurge too far given the impact of rising costs. If you are used to filling your week with a variety of evenings out meeting potential matches, it can start to feel a bit extravagant flitting from bar-to-bar forking out for a drink or three. And let’s face it, if you’ve realised there’s very little chemistry between you just minutes into a seven-course tasting menu, it’s pretty disappointing at the best of times but even worse when you know it’s going to be a costly evening as well.

Recent research showed that single people are being a lot more careful about the date ideas they suggest in order to avoid living above their means. More than 40% of single people recently surveyed say they are more likely to pick a more modest date venue to avoid racking up big bills. Free activities are even more popular given the increased cost of going out, with 34% of respondents saying they would suggest doing something with no cost attached.

Low-key dating had already been rising in popularity before prices increased, largely driven by the trend for dawn dating and intentional dating. These days it’s not unusual to be invited for a casual stroll or to split a bottle of wine on a picnic blanket as daters turn their back on the traditional dinner and drinks formula. Given the fact that prices are still rising, driven by inflation at a new 40-year high, it seems these trends are firmly here to stay – which is good news if you’ve been considering scaling back on your search for love because of fears about splitting expensive bills and being invited to venues you just can’t splash out on. A separate study found the rising cost of living is causing 41% of single people surveyed to go on fewer dates than they used to, which demonstrates why it’s well worth considering the low-cost and free options at your disposal.

Take dawn dating. It describes meeting a potential partner when the day is young, with no expectation that a lavish meal or rounds of drinks will be involved. Meeting in the morning lends itself to low-cost options, such as enjoying a coffee and croissant at a pavement café or a brisk dog walk before you start the working day. Not only do you save money, but you also benefit from being clear-headed without alcohol clouding your judgement. A short date with a defined end point can make it much easier to peel away if you discover this person isn’t really for you anyway. 

The pandemic meant many of us got used to low key dates, finding plenty of fun to be had with socially distanced picnics, watching the sunset together and going for a bike ride. It also meant daters got used to meeting up virtually with a Zoom or Face Time date, which still plays a big part of the intentional dating approach. This trend can involve taking it slow with somebody new, often getting to know each other over a series of phone calls, video dates and low-stake pre-dates before committing to more formal evenings out. The benefit of a video call? It’s free and a great way to judge whether there’s romance potential with someone before you meet in person.

So, if you’ve been off dating lately due to the cost of a night out, why not consider inviting somebody out for a relaxed free date? You’ll probably find they’ll be just as grateful to mix it up a bit by enjoying the free fun that can be had on your doorstep. If you’ve been seeing somebody for a little while, don’t overlook the joy of a night in – a bottle of wine snuggled up on the sofa can be just as enjoyable as a fancy night out and you can then enjoyable the occasional splurge even more. Whatever your financial situation, it can really pay to slow things down and suss out whether you like somebody over a chilled coffee – there’s plenty of time for treating yourselves later when you’re sure they are worth getting to know better.

Teaming up with a matchmaker can be a great way to start a successful dating journey that really works for you. Matchmakers are experts at understanding who you’ll share a connection with, cutting out the dates that go nowhere with people who were never going to be for you. We offer a hands-on personalised service which means the dates you go on will be fewer, but of a higher quality and more aligned to the type of person you want to meet. Give us a call today to find out how we can help with a fun and stress-free search for that long-term, committed relationship you’ve been searching for. 

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