5 Dates Under 5 Dollars

Usually, dates are spent, well… spending. They don’t have to be. But that is the status quo:

Drinks at a bar. Star is Born at the cinema. Mini-golfing.

And plenty more excellent date ideas here.

You don’t want to seem like a cheapskate in your first month (save that revelation for date #12). But your bank account simply can’t support all this flagrant socialising.

Plus, once you find someone you actually want to go on multiple dates with, it gets more expensive. How are you going to afford an apartment when you’re buying espresso martinis and tickets to Gang of Youths every week? Even a simple dinner out will usually set you back $20.

To help you reduce your spending excursions – I mean, dates – here are five ideas that cost five dollars or less. Have your date and pay your electricity bill:

1.     Swimming Pool

The weather’s hot, your AC is dripping (should it be dripping?) and your backyard inflatable pool has become a mosquito haven. To the local swimming pool!

Strip down to your cutest bathers (I find Jets and Seafolly most flattering) and race your future spouse (just kidding!) up and down the 50 metre. Finally nail that handstand thanks to a little H20 buoyancy, practice treading water and watch the water aerobics class.

Obviously, entry prices vary from pool to pool. Many places offer a free 7-day pass. At my local aquatic centre, it’s $7 for an adult. For extra cost-saving, date an (adult) student; it’s $3.30 for concession.

Here’s a little handy table to help you figure out swimming pool costs in your local area, so your next date will be cute, fun and financially-savvy.

swimming pool prices for cheap date ideas

Hours of splashing and frolicking. Like The Notebook but affordable.

2.     Free food

 You know what makes food taste extra delicious? Hunger. And after that: Cheapnosity. A free burger is infinitely more delicious than one that costs fifteen dollars. Even if it’s crap, you really have lost nothing. Here is a round-up of different deals being run by cafes, restaurants and bars for affordable snacking:

Pancake Parlour

When the weather is extreme, head to the Pancake Parlour. If the thermostat hits 30 degrees, iced chocolates are on the house. You just have to download the free app.


Annually, Ben and Jerry’s holds a free cone day. Obviously you want to get Phish Food with its decadent blend of marshmallow and dark chocolate. But they also now offer lactose free and vegan ice-cream.

Weirdoughs offered its first thousand scoops of ice-cream free. Last year, Baskin and Robbins served 110,000 free scoops of delicious ice-creamy goodness on their Free Cone Day. When your date rolls around, have a look at what deals are on in your area. Or you could simply…

3.     Pretend it’s your birthday

It’s your birthday. It’s your birthday. But you’re not going to spend any money.

free mille crepe birthday cake
Free mille crepe cake on my birthday

Sure, the commemoration of your first day on the planet is usually annual but let’s buck that trend – I think you’re worth celebrating every day! To that end, embrace all the birthday deals going around and ensure you finish your next date with both your wallet and stomach full. Some legend did all the calculating and found there is $466 worth of free birthday food and drink to be claimed. You’re basically losing money if you don’t go ahead and seize these offers*:

·  Become a VIP at Cold Rock (just sign up 8 days ahead) and cash in on your free birthday ice-cream.

· Cruise for free on the Sydney Harbour, should you find yourself in NSW

·  Get a free Boost juice or smoothie (download the app)

For more food and drink bargains, check out this list of Birthday Freebies

*Each valid one per customer, once a year. So spread them out.

4.     Free Workshop

Do some low-key learning at a free workshop. Preferably something novel, which doesn’t require intense focus and absolute silence. Try these free workshops on your next date:

5. Make it and bake it

Remember that scene in Ghost with Patrick Swayze? Now’s your chance to get all steamy around the pottery wheel. Unchained Melody music optional. Learn the principles of hand building and glazing and progress to mastering varied techniques in a pottery class. Free pottery lesson tickets until sale ends.

6. Turn your body into art

Learn about the cultural significance of henna, some simple designs and how to mix and apply fresh paste. This free henna workshop runs in Ascot Vale.

7. Let Your Love Bloom

Get a green thumb – or just a soily-black one – and learn how to garden with this Small Space and Pot Gardening class in Notting Hill. Don’t dig the dirt? Stay clean with this Cardboard Cactus Class in Prahran.

8. Get Cookin’, Good Lookin’

Hone your culinary skills and learn about the wonders of compost for free at the No Waste Cook Club.

9.     Picnic in the park

Stroll through nature, play on the swings and settle down with a nice picnic rug or oversized beach towel. Forget classic picnic items like savoury muffins, four-point sandwiches and devilled eggs. For the most part, they take too long to prepare and will blow your budget.

Get a beautiful blend of savoury items and fresh fruit and still have change to spare:

  • 60g of Kalamata olives (60 cents)

  • Cheese and crackers ($2.50)

  • A Valencia orange (50 cents)

  • Organic tropical juice ($1.15)

Total: $4.75

I hope this post gives you some inspiration for how you can date affordably. Cost shouldn’t be a barrier to spending time with someone, yet so often differences in bank account balances can make hanging out a financial struggle. The next time planning becomes overwhelming, send this post to your paramour and commence your affordable dating life.

If you have other ideas for cheap dates or you like one of the date ideas above, let me know below!

Stay tuned for Five Dates Under Five Dollars – Part 2!

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