Dating – a costly adventure

Extreme dating – WOOOO!!! No, we’re not talking about expanding your dating game to include skydiving or free-climbing El Capitan. As a financial blog, we’re more focused on the money side of the mating ritual. Whether you’re an old married couple counting the decades or “just talking” with that cute chick, you’re going to be spending money on dates. Let’s think about how to get the most out of those dollars. Some of the most standard and boring dates cost a moderate amount, while the most exciting and oddball ideas can be completely free. So by extreme dating, we’re proposing that you put effort and creativity into finding a whole lotta cheap but fun dates and then use the leftover money to do something truly special on rare occasion.

Extreme Examples

Check out these date ideas. Would you rather experience the column on the left (“standard”) or the right (“extreme!!!1111”)? Five standard dates, or 4 extremely cheap dates followed by 1 extremely expensive date?

Date ideas

Date ideas - "Standard"Cost Date ideas - "Extreme!!"Cost
Total for 5 dates$403.00Total for 5 dates$401.40
Bar hopping$75.00A bottle of liquor and Klosterman's questions$15.00
Steakhouse night with wine and Redbox$82.00Jig saw puzzle with cheese n wine at home$20.00
Movie theater night$36.00Costco samples as appetizers, rotisserie chicken, Netflix and chill$6.40
A cheap concert by that local band we saw a few years ago$50.00Library books, comfy chairs, and a rainy day$-
Nosebleed seats to see your favorite sports team in the playoffs$160.00Amazing seats to see your favorite sports team in the playoffs$360.00

Klosterman’s Questions, for the curious. Feel free to discuss your answers in the comments!

Both sides add up to roughly the same cost, and honestly – all the ideas sound like fun. But when you combine the four cheap dates in the Extreme side, on date #5 you’re able to spend the leftover money on much better playoff tickets. When I attend a sports game, I feel a world of difference between sitting behind a pole on the upper concourse and sitting close enough to throw a beer at a referee if the need arises. Others may find scant marginal utility in this example, but the point remains.

You can apply the same logic to dinner dates.

Dinner ideas

Dinner Dates - "Standard"Cost Dinner Dates - "Extreme!!"Cost
Total for 10 dinners$665.00Total for 10 dinners$665.00
Dinner @ Chili's, with dessert$45.00Geocaching and a fast food value menu$10.00
"Anywhere but another chain restaurant please"$70.00What's good at the farmer's market? Let's make that tonight!$20.00
Dinner @ the local Mexican place, with margaritas$55.00Dinner @ Mexican place: split a meal and stick to waters$15.00
Let's go out with friends and just have a couple drinks and bar food$95.00I make the beans, you make the rice - while we jam out to 80's music$2.00
How about that steak house where you throw peanut shells on the floor?$90.00Food truck night$18.00
Dinner @ Red Lobster$65.00While you're at the grocery store, hit up the salad bar please$12.00
I'm craving italian - doesn't that one joint make their own pasta?$65.00Do we have any leftovers in the freezer?$4.00
Dinner @ the fresh local "good" place, with a bottle of wine$125.00A picnic and disc golf$15.00
Hey, grab Chipotle on your way home babe$25.00Cousin Betty gave us peppers and zuccini from her garden - fajitas?$9.00
Two for twenty? Yeah I guess$30.00Three courses @ Bouley with wine pairings$560.00

If you’ve never experienced a chef’s tasting at one of the premier restaurants in the world, it might be worthwhile to add the idea to your bucket list. As relatively frugal people, dropping $500 – $1000 on a single dinner for two sounds absolutely insane. And perhaps it is. But you’ll never, ever forget the experience. Our generation loves to eat out, but we do it so frequently that it becomes kinda mundane and boring. $40 here and $70 there doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up quickly. Pocket that money instead by seeking low-cost alternatives, and after about 9 dinners, you can afford the meal of a lifetime.