dating in debt

Are you in debt? Still want to have a love life? Have no fear. You can be a total Scrooge when it comes to spending money and still date while you’re in debt. This list is applicable whether you are single, married, have no kids, or tons of them.

Since Valentine’s Day is this week, I thought it would be fun to share some of our secrets for dating while we are in debt. Neither Danny or I have really had any money to speak of since we met more than ten years ago. In fact, we actually have significantly less money today than we had when we were in our early twenties, given that we had no debt then and now have a whopping six figure balance of student loan debt that we are aggressively paying off.  We do our best to go on a date at least once a week, even if it is something as simple as turning a movie on and snuggling at home or playing a board game while our babe is asleep. Dating isn’t really about money, its about time.


  1. Create room in your budget for dates.

    First, make sure that you create room in your budget for an occasional date. One of my favorite take-aways from the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” (see our list of favorite personal finance books HERE) is that you can afford anything, its just a matter of how. Make dating a priority by allocating money from your budget each month to dating. You might have to scrap a little money from your grocery budget or do something like take online surveys to earn gift cards to restaurants, but do what you can to have at least a little bit of money for dating.

  2. Swap babysitting.

    Babysitting is no longer the gig that it was when I was in high school. These days, babysitters can cost a small fortune. So, if paying for a babysitter is holding you back from dating, consider doing a babysitting/date swap with friends. Ask friends that you know and trust if they are willing to watch your kids one night while you go on a date while you watch their kids the following (or any other night) in return to save costs on a babysitter.

  3. Have dates at home.

    If things are really tight, you don’t have to spend any money on going out on a date. Consider having some of your date nights at home (if you have kids, after they’re in bed, obviously). Never underestimate the power of a good “Netflix and chill.” 😉 See our list below for some date at home ideas!

  4. Use coupons.

    Use coupons when you go out on dates. Ain’t no shame in a BOGO (buy one get one free) game! On any given day, you can almost always find a deal to a restaurant– it is just a matter of finding the coupon. For take out orders, use and it will scan the internet for you to find these deals! If we eat out, you can practically be certain that its because we’ve found a coupon or special promotion of some kind.

  5. Get creative with your date ideas. 

    Get creative with your date ideas to save money! You don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant every time you go on a date. Consider doing things where you really get to know the person your dating– volunteer at a food bank or homeless shelter or do something you haven’t done before. See the list below for a few frugal ideas.


  • Have a game night. And if you want to make it spicy, play the strip version of any board game. 😉
  • Skip dinner and go out for drinks, coffee/hot cocoa, or dessert instead.
  • Take a romantic walk.
  • Go on a bikeride.
  • Hike.
  • Watch a movie with goodies at home.
  • Try longboarding.
  • Make dinner together instead of eating out.
  • Visit art galleries.
  • Pack a picnic together with items you already have in your kitchen(s).
  • Visit open houses for ridiculously luxurious homes.
  • Make dinner together.
  • Be a tourist in your own city. Go hunt down city landmarks or things that tourists would do in your own city.
  • Find free concerts. Almost anywhere you live, you can find local bands somewhere playing for free.
  • Get away from the city lights and try to find constellations in the stars.
  • Have a bonfire
  • Walk around down town
  • Go swimming and or hot-tubbing

So you see, dating is still possible even if you are broke. Don’t forget– dating is more about time and less about money. What things have you done to date even when you don’t have money? 

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