As with many other enjoyable things (getting guac in your Chipotle burrito, seeing Taylor Swift in concert, etc.), dating isn't cheap. Even an outing as simple as going to the movies is pricey; once you shell out the money for the tickets, popcorn, and candy, your wallet is probably crying harder than you will during the YA book-turned-chick flick you went to see. If you're wondering how to tell your date you're broke without making it into a big deal, you're not alone. There's more than one reason why Netflix and chill is most Millennials' preferred choice for a date — it's fun and free.
Money can be hard to talk about, especially when you're trying to make a good impression on the first or second date. Unfortunately, it's almost unavoidable when you're going out for dinner or drinks, or doing pretty much any other traditional first date activity. The situation gets even trickier if the other person offers to pay for you, because that can upset the power balance from the start. Yes, it's generous, but you don't want to feel like you owe your date anything. When you need to tell your date you're low on funds without it becoming a thing, consider these four pieces of advice.
1. Use Humor
Almost every awkward situation can be more easily handled by having a sense of humor about it. If your date suggests meeting up at a glitzy bar you've heard is expensive, try making a joke about it. "I would love to go there, but unfortunately my fancy pants are in the wash." Let them know that you still want to see them, but make sure they are clear on the fact that your funds are limited.
2. Suggest An Alternative Plan
You don't want your date to feel like it's all on them to plan out the evening. If you're trying to save money, get ahead of them by making a suggestion first. Choose an inexpensive option that you can both still enjoy, like hitting up a two-for-one happy hour or exploring a free museum. They're sure to be understanding, as well as a little relieved that you already picked out something for the two of you to do. First dates are stressful, and this helps take pressure off of both of you.
3. Don't Be Ashamed
Wanting to use your MoviePass or looking for a Groupon doesn't make you cheap. Finding a good deal is actually an admirable trait. It shows you're resourceful, thoughtful, and that you like to plan ahead. Approach the subject with confidence and your date will be impressed by your savvy nature. At our age, few people are rolling in dough, and most people will really appreciate the fact that you want to date on a budget. There's really no need to feel embarrassed.
4. Focus On The Positives
Believe it or not, there are actually some upsides to being broke AF. You don't need to justify anything, but if it makes you feel better, you can point out some pros of dating without spending money. For instance, you and your date can engage in more personal activities that will only bring you closer. If you can't afford to dine out, you can have a DIY picnic in the park. It's a much more intimate setting than a crowded restaurant, and there's no waiter making awkward small talk. Or, try to create something edible out of what you already have in your fridge. Think of it as a challenge that the two of you have to work together to figure out. Plus, cooking together is never not adorable.
If you need to save money but still want to date, you don't need to rely on the other person to pay for you. Explain the situation to your prospective date by using the tips above, and don't be afraid to get creative when it comes time to meet up.