Date Ideas That Are No Longer Worth It Because They Cost Way Too Much

Date Idea Alternatives

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Date Idea Alternatives
Cheapism / Wavebreakmedia/LuckyBusiness/istockphoto

Creativity Wins In The Modern Dating World

Navigating the dating world or planning a fun date for you and your partner shouldn't be an anxiety-inducing financial burden. The reality is though that these days it's hard to not fall prey to a date idea that seems financially reasonable enough, but winds up taking a big chunk out of your budget

Read on for date ideas you should avoid if you're committed to not needlessly blowing obscene amounts of money. We've also included more affordable alternatives for date ideas that still offer plenty of opportunity for romance 

Playing the guitar at a concert

1. Going To A Concert

There was a time when you could realistically entertain the idea of spending your hard-earned money on some concert tickets or even a festival, without putting a nice dent in the bank account. Well, those times have certainly passed us on by. 

No, seriously. SeatGeek recently confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that the average cost of a concert ticket has doubled over the past five years. Specifically, it went from $125 in 2019 to $252 in 2023. Yeah, a stay-at-home concert streaming on television with a home-cooked meal could very well be the winning move. 

Still committed to a live show? Here are some tips to score cheap concert tickets.

Romantic evening

2. A Nice Dinner Out On The Town

Whether you’re single and asking someone out on a date or in a relationship and looking to shake things up, either way you’d be ill-advised to opt for a fancy dinner out. The cost of eating out in general has soared through the roof (and forget about those over-inflated Valentine's Day prix fixe prices). 

To paint a more vivid picture, for 22 consecutive months starting in December of 2021, the year-over-year cost of dining out has increased by at least 6%. Taking that grim statistic into consideration, you could always elect for a park picnic, or if you're comfortable enough with your date you could see about making a romantic home-cooked meal. While groceries aren't exactly cheap these days, you'll still save a whole lot of money in the process. 

Related: You Should 100% Never Order These Foods On A Date

Disneyland Resort, California

3. A Getaway To Disneyland

Oh boy, a trip to Disneyland is absolutely nothing like it used to be. Of course it’s fun to daydream about how romantic the experience could be, except for waiting in those long lines, but then the reality hits, and it hits hard. A one-day park ticket costs $104, or you could pay an extra $65 for a Park Hopper option, which grants you permission to visit Disney's water parks, its ESPN sports complex, its golf course and its mini golf courses. 

Then, you can count on spending anywhere from $15-20 on a meal (quick service), plus another $8 or so for the drink to wash it down, and then you have your total cost for transportation. That could run you anywhere from $160 to $240 for a ride-share round-trip from LAX. Last, were you to consider booking a room in a Disneyland hotel, those rates could run you from $415 to $675 each night. Or, for an off-property arrangement you could expect around $200 each night.

Instead of planning a financially-sapping rollercoaster of a trip to Disneyland, you could instead map out the nearest parks and museums to where you live. Exploring a museum or a park for the day with your date will cost you nothing compared to Disneyland, and depending on the museum or park, you might not have to pay anything at all. 

Related: Cool Under-the-Radar Destinations for Art Lovers

Two cups of coffee on a wooden table, the girl holds in her hand one cup of coffee in the background. A photo indicates a meeting of people and a joint pastime.

4. Going For A Coffee Date

Asking someone out to a coffee date shouldn’t inspire one to think about how expensive it might be, but here we are. Whether you want to grab a coffee from your favorite local coffee shop or make a quick pit stop at a Starbucks, the cost of coffee regardless of location has soared through the roof. 

Just to paint a troubling image via the folks at the U.S. Inflation Center: the price per pound of coffee increased from an average of $3.14 in 1980 to $5.89 in 2022. That translates to an 89.6% in 42 years. Thanks for nothing, inflation. 

Check in with your date and see if they're open for meeting up with coffees already in hand, and then taking a nice walk. Brewing your coffee at home is an easy route toward saving money. CNET reported that you can save as much as $300 by brewing your own coffee at home. Not too shabby of a deal at all. 

Related: The Best Frugal First Date Ideas, According to Thrifty Redditors

Close up of a couple toasting with beer in a pub.
Drazen Zigic/istockphoto

5. Grabbing Drinks For Happy Hour

There’s literally nothing happy about happy hour prices nowadays. If you do in fact know of a classic hole-in-the-wall bar that serves up a drink that doesn’t cost more than a six pack from the store, you can call yourself a successful treasure hunter. While there are folks that will go on endlessly about the value of having a drink or two with a date just to break the ice, the reality is that bars and restaurants haven’t been able to evade the inevitable necessity of raising drink prices. If you and your date decide that you’re both comfortable with enjoying a cocktail/beer/etc together, maybe consider grabbing drinks from a grocery store to enjoy them at home. 

Related: Romance on a Budget: 25 Cheap At-Home Date Night Ideas

Young couple watching a film

6. Going On A Movie Date

Sure, you can go. But you can also bank on being blown away by the soaring prices of necessities like buckets of popcorn, sodas, sweets, etc. Plus, nowadays with streaming services all vying for the top spot on the profits leaderboard, some great discount/promos will pop up out of the blue every now and again. If you find yourself dating someone, and you’ve both hit a point where you’re comfortable having a movie night in, just go for that. Otherwise, you can comfortable assume that a movie ticket is going to run you for at least $10.

Related: These Are the Best (and Worst) Free Streaming Services for TV and Movies

American Football Championship. Teams Ready: Professional Players, Aggressive Face-off, Ready for Pushing, Tackling. Competition Full of Brutal Energy, Power. Stadium Shot with Dramatic Light

7. Live Sporting Events

With the ticket prices of live sporting events continuing their steady climb, you’re almost better off dipping into a restaurant/sports bar that’s showing the game. Yes, there is an electricity in the air at a live football, basketball, baseball, soccer game, etc, but there’s also the bank account to consider. Even nosebleed seats are getting aggressive with their pricing nowadays. So, put some feelers out and see if your date is comfortable streaming the game from home. You won't have to worry about waiting in endless lines to purchase overpriced hot dogs, salty jumbo pretzels, and drinks that have achieved insane prices at this point. 

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