Falling in love might be free. But dates sure as hell ain’t. Chip’s writer Sheridan takes us through a few cheap dates in the city of love (*cough* London) to help you find the one, whilst spending a little bit less.
This will be the first in our #CheapAsChips series of articles on ideas to bag bargains and cut costs.
In between the treasured Kodak moments spent lovingly staring at your partner with complete adoration are times when you unwillingly revert your gaze to your battered bank balance, manifesting a slightly different heartfelt feeling; usually taking the formation of a palpitation and/or heart attack.
There’s no denying it; relationships are expensive.
£7.99 Hallmark Valentine’s Day card, an extra £23 per week in tube detours (don’t even mention what the extra exposure to pollution is doing to my respiratory system), plus the crippling expense of purchasing another toothbrush to keep at their place. While the reward is invaluable, the ‘maintenance fees’ can make saving that tad bit harder.
Well folks, we’re here to tell you the price of love doesn’t have to be synonymous with debt.
We acknowledge London isn’t exactly the city of love, but since Chip HQ is based here, we’ve made it so for the next 10 minutes to list six budget-friendly, romance-friendly date ideas to maximise your savings without minimising the luuuurrrve.
Free tester market crawl
If there’s one thing more wholesome than everlasting companionship, it’s complimentary cubes of aged cheddar hoisted on toothpicks.
London boasts a plethora of food markets, namely Borough, Portobello Road and Camden, all brimming with a myriad of vendors dishing out free testers to satisfy all your sweet, savory and spendless cravings.
Plus, if you’re still in the early stages of your relationship and don’t want to reveal your grotesque eating habits, bite-sized snacks are a safe option.
YouTube cooking class
Do-it-yourself culinary experiences are far more entertaining in pairs. It’s not proven, but we’re making the call.
Instead of paying £50 at your favourite Indian restaurant, why not learn how to make Butter Chicken for a fraction of the cost? Chances are you’ll probably have enough left over for four days worth of lunches, so it’s a double win in the savings department - provided none of you have the kitchen temper of Gordon Ramsay.
Pay less picnic-ing
Low effort, low budget, and yet the humble picnic boasts a historically high success rate.
Gather up some blankets, pillows, an exotic dip, suitable Spotify playlist, a wicker basket, a lush bit of grass and you have yourself a date. One of our favourite places to lay down the rug in London is Richmond Park - you may even spot a deer!
If London weather isn’t exactly working in your favour, revert back to the roots of your childhood and pitch a tent indoors.
Who says you need to reserve a table at a Michelin star restaurant that costs you six months pay and a kidney to impress your companion? Win them over with your exceptionally good general knowledge finesse.
London is in abundance of trivia and quiz nights, themes ranging from the Marvel Universe to 80s pop icons.
Almost always free to participate in, you are guaranteed a laugh and also provided a subtle way to test your partners intelligence, handy when calculating if your offspring will be geniuses.
See here to find one near you.
Amazing views and amazingly cheap Sainsbury’s wine are a match made in heaven.
Nestled in behind Regents Park, skip the temptation of the aglow bars in neighbouring Camden to take in the panoramic view of London with your significant other (bonus points if you time it for sunset).
Just imagine the Instagram potential.
Any of London’s museums
All of London’s big museums and galleries are free (just don’t go into the gift/coffee shop). Nothing like looking at some art to kindle romance, whether it’s the pre-Raphaelites that get you hot under the collar, or the Natural History Museum gets you thinking about natural selection…
Tom, our Head of Content (who seems to be a veteran of cheap dates… he’s promised a follow up article), recommends V&A Friday Lates and sneaking into gallery parties to pinch free prosecco.
With all these ways to save, why not create a new savings goal using the Chip app and put away those pennies towards the date of all dates. We’re thinking: Flights + spaghetti for two + cute dogs.