High life for less:
Love on a budget

High life for less: Love on a budget

Through our Zero to Frugal series of blogs, we took a look at managing overspending, simple ways to spend less, and the Art of Frugal Hedonism. So how do we take that further and think about how to enjoy the richness of life without an abundance of riches? To kick off, we’re looking at lurve. Above all, we want a date to be romantic. So how can we woo well with less cash?

So what does a date cost these days?

eHarmony research shows that single Aussies spend $2,000 a year, on dating. According to the 1,046 singles surveyed, they are spending an average of $49 in preparation (think haircuts, new clothes, a signature scent), and $55 on average on the actual date. Psychologist Sharon Draper unpacked eHarmony’s results on Triple J’s podcast ‘The hook-up’

“A lot people are building up confidence…

The society we live in is superficial.”

– Sharon Draper, Psychologist

The chase, not only costs time (88 minutes per date to be precise) but also drinks and experiences add up. For those favouring the IRL world, doing the things they love, hoping to meet someone doing the same, costs rack up in club memberships and associated apparel costs too! When one third of Australian singles are going on dates once a week, and the prescribed amount for couples is once a month – how can we do date nights on a budget?

Show some imagination

Being predictable or boring is never a great aphrodisiac – the thought that’s gone into a date is going to work a lot harder than the $$$ to win someone over. Sadly, however, Aussies aren’t going much beyond the obvious it seems: Relationship expert and author of Single But Dating, Dr Nikki Goldstein, says:

“We can get bored with stereotypical date ideas. Being unique with date ideas is a great way to show a bit of who you really are.”

  • – Dr Nikki Goldstein

Women’sHealth writer Alex Pierotti describes the lack of imagination that goes into date preparation – drinks, drinks and er, drinks:

“It’s no surprise that drinking is the go-to date idea for Australians, with 32% of men and 39% of women down for a beverage on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and of course the weekend.”

  • – Alex Pierotti, Women’s Health

Can’t buy me love

So what are the secrets to taking their breath away? We went to our community for ingenious ways we can impress for less. From the response, it seems the magic (literally!) ingredients for dating on a budget are: a little preparation, considered selection, and creativity in spades.

“Love don’t cost a thing”

– J. Lo

11 economic ways to make their hearts beat faster

1. Pimped up picnics

A divine picnic in a picturesque setting like a secluded beach or coastline, with pre-cooked meals, an on-point playlist, followed by a sunset stroll or star-gazing. Make use of great free assets like sea and warmth (this is a lot harder in Oslo you know……) Credit: @wanderinglittleredboots

2. Off peak plans

Purposefully planned dates: at 2 for 1 nights, on Mondays or Tuesdays, (Credit: @weeksy_j) earlier dates through 50% off first tables, or off-peak movie nights. You could reduce your ongoing dating costs if you only use the free versions of the dating apps Bumble and Tinder.

3. A different night in

Where curation means upping the ante in the food, film/doco or music selection – and remember: candles, candles, candles. Credit: #sportyxinja

4. Getting naked

Skinny dipping certainly removes a barrier, accelerates ‘getting to know each other’ and is completely free! Credit: #captainxinja

5. Wholesome adventuring 

Hiking through the bush or camping in a national park grounds, in nature, well away from pricey restaurants. Credit: #earthyxinja

6. Laugh it up

Enjoy a moment or two at an amateur or ‘up and coming’ stand up comedy night – this has the advantage of breaking the ice without breaking the bank. Credit: #goldenxinja

7. Course only dates

Like dessert only cafes or a hip gelato joint. You can also maximise your time by going on 3 course-only dates per night 😉 Check out the new restaurants/cafes on the scene, that advertise opening nights and cocktail hours.  Credit: #blueskyxinja

8. Going halfsies

Explaining upfront that you’re on a journey to financial independence and only willing to pay half. (44% of young singles prefer it too!). And you can use Xinja.me or the Xinja split cost function to do this (just tap on the transaction once you’ve paid and follow the prompts so they can pay you back). Also wows them with your sophistication and cool through your association with the best aspiring neobank in Australia 😉 Credit: #dataxinja

9. Group dating

Getting the quad or 6 together reduces the costs and pressure. Plan to go to tapas together, holey moley mini-golf, the local bowlo or rotate hosting dinners in, using your preferred share ride to save on travel too. Thanks Leumas for this tip! Another opportunity to use Xinja.me to get everyone to chip in and pay you back right away! (nb: see more on this cool feature of the Xinja app together with voiceover here.)

10. Beautify responsibly

Get more mileage out of your wardrobe by remembering to tag which outfits went with which date, so you don’t splurge on new clothes, unnecessarily. Or raid someone else’s wardrobe. Look out for free makeovers, hair styling by academy stylists, and training beauticians. You could stop using unrealistic photos on your profile then you won’t have to live up to it 😉

11. Always bring your best stories out

Being ‘interesting and interested’ goes far in life and your relationship circles, and in a dating context, farther than your wallet; as Dale Carnegie best selling author of How to Win Friends and Influence People said:

“To be interesting, be interested”
Dale Carnegie

What do you think? Have you got any other ingenious ways you can you impress for less? Join the conversation here. Tell us your thoughts and ideas on our forum

Sarah May is Marketing and Community Lead at Xinja. 


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