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Dating can be expensive, we know. The cost of dining out and paying for entertaining activities can soon stack up and leave you out of pocket. You could even say that dating and a budget doesn’t go hand-in-hand… but not to worry.

If you’re searching for your perfect match (or even spending some much-needed alone time with your long-term partner) we’ve got some ideas for dates that are inexpensive but won’t leave you looking cheap. In fact, you won’t need to split the bill - unless you want to, of course!

Play tourist

When you live and work somewhere, you don’t usually do the things that a tourist or someone new to town would do, but dating is the perfect reason to do those things. You can get to know where you live again as well as the person you’re dating.

Here in Perth, Kings Park is the obvious place to go but for another option for a view of the river and city skyline, why not head to the South Perth foreshore? With the ferry running from Elizabeth Quay to the Mends Street Jetty, it’s quick, cheap and easy to get there – plus, you could be seeing the city from a different perspective. Keep your eyes peeled for jelly fish, dolphins and pelicans as you cross the Swan, and then check out the different sculptures and works of art that are dotted around the foreshore.

Cook up a storm

It doesn’t have to be worthy of a Michelin star, but preparing and cooking a meal for someone is a great option for an inexpensive date. It’s a brilliant way to demonstrate your feelings for the person – and they’ll appreciate the effort you put into the meal.

By staying in and cooking, you’ll likely save money even if you have to buy all the ingredients. Purchasing what’s needed for Pasta Al Forno is a lot cheaper than what you would fork out at an Italian restaurant, plus you won’t be paying for the taxi there and back!

Top tip: Choose a simple recipe that you can cook whilst chatting to your date, or get them involved and see how you both work together in the kitchen.

Get out into nature

We’ve all heard the cliché date idea of ‘a long walk on the beach’, but there’s definitely something in it! Getting out into the great outdoors and enjoying nature’s beauty with someone is a very low-cost activity whether you like high energy or something more relaxed.

Coastal strolls or bushwalks are the perfect opportunity to get to know someone whilst having plenty to look at – and getting in your steps for the day. Pick your distance and your route, and away you both go.

The beach at sunset is also a great option, especially here in WA where we can enjoy the sun disappearing into the ocean. Grab a towel or rug to sit on, some snacks and then sit back and enjoy listening to the waves along with your date’s conversation.

Have fun

Making your date laugh could be the thing that turns a bad date into a good one, so always aim to have fun on your dates. If you’re not much of a comedian yourself, why not go to a local stand-up comedy night? Plenty of pubs and hotels around Perth host events and some pull in some big names of the comedy world. Grassroots Comedy here in Perth is an inexpensive option to try, with tickets from $10 when booked in advance or just $15 on the door.

If comedy isn’t your thing, a local trivia night could bring plenty of laughs – and you may even get to know your date’s competitive side! Often free to join, a pub quiz is a great option for a solo, double or group date.

Another option that is sure to ensure your date has fun, is to find out what their hobby is and do it together. Maybe they do salsa dancing, life drawing or stand-up paddle boarding… Whatever it is, give it a try – whether you’re good or bad at it, there could be plenty of fun (and laughs) to be had.

Flashing the cash on a date doesn’t mean that it will turn out to be a successful one. You could spend a lot and still not see the person again because you’re just not suited. Remember, dates are about getting to know each other and to do that takes conversation, not a limitless bank account – so bear that in mind the next time you’re planning to go out with someone.