There’s nothing wrong with a budget-friendly date night

Despite all the social media noise about what makes a good date, a good night, or day, out doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. With all the hype, we can sometimes forget that the most important thing about a date is actually spending time together, and that’s the same whether you’ve been together for eons or are still getting to know each other. Dates are about having a good time and making good memories, not spending a heap of money we often can’t comfortably afford.

Roll out the good times rather than your cash

We have put together some ideas on how to make date nights less expensive while still letting the good times roll. Many of the suggestions in our list are for activities in and around Auckland, but I am pretty sure you could find similar types of activities wherever you live in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Getting to the heart of the matter

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Well as a woman, I can assure you the same thing applies to me. In my world, a good date will involve eating and or drinking in some form or other so let’s explore how we can eat well for less.

Getting a bit organised

Try checking out the deals websites. Bookme and GrabOne both offer deals on experiences and dining. For early dining options at half the price, try First Table. This website offers 50% off lunches and dinners if you‘re seated before certain times. You may not see an early dinner as particularly romantic, but if you are in Auckland and try Aubergine in Takapuna, for example, you have time to go for a lovely sunset walk on the beach and an after-dinner ice cream – perfect!

Let’s not forget the two-for-one or deals nights for meals

Despite all claims that you can’t find a cheap meal in Ponsonby, Auckland if you go to Freeman & Grey anytime between 12.00 pm and 2.00 pm and 5.00 pm and 7.30 pm you can get a whole pizza for just $5.00. Unbeatable. You can gobble these up from the outdoor seating – a great spot to people-watch.

Live in the capital city as opposed to the city of sails?

Then check out Rogue and Vagabond. If you can resist a $2 taco Tuesday special, you’re certainly doing better than me. From 5.00 pm onwards, you and your date mate can tuck in until they run out. Tacos not your thing?

What about 77c chicken wings or get 12 wings and a pint for just $19 on 19-77 Punk Wing Wednesdays between 5.00 and 7.00 pm? Together you can enjoy this laid-back craft beer bar sprawled on bean bags and enjoy the regular live music. Still in Wellington, what about Chow? This is a great place to grab modern Asian fusion dishes and get two-for-one cocktails on Wednesdays and Saturdays or two-for-one mains on Mondays.

Celebrate at home

A dinner out at a fancy restaurant may seem like a good idea, but life is busy. Sometimes, just staying home can keep things low pressure so you can just focus on spending quality time together. If you’re not a great cook, then make a picnic on the lounge floor. Love to cook? Try whipping up a new recipe together. Don’t want to do that? What about takeaways?

Eating out

During the summer, you can take your delicious takeaways to an outdoor movie – and best of all, these are generally free! There are open-air viewings all around the city. You’ll just want to pack a blanket, some tasty takeouts and drinks and enjoy yourselves.

Mingling at the markets

And speaking of fast food, Auckland hosts a number of night markets right across the region. And they are fantastic. Night markets have a great vibe, with buskers, magicians, and dance troupes plus loads of delicious street food from around the globe. Together, you can wander around and grab food from different food trucks, enjoying a wide range of different flavours. The buzz of the night market makes for a perfect high-energy, low-cost date.

Daytime dates are a great way to just hang out together or get to know someone new. Try wandering around a local farmers’ market. Variety is the spice of life, and farmers’ markets are the perfect place to experiment with new flavours. There is always plenty of delicious food to try and the option to pick up ingredients for a romantic meal later in the day.

Play a game

Something as simple as playing cards or board games can be a load of fun, particularly if Auckland’s fickle weather isn’t playing the game. How do cocktails and cards, checkers or Cluedo sound? Dice and Fork Games Bar and Eatery has a collection of more than 250 board games, all free to play provided you make a food and/or drink purchase. Their drinks selection includes cocktails, and surprise shots determined by rolling a dice. The food menu includes a variety of tacos, bowls, burgers and desserts. If you’re looking for a novel date or a night out with friends, this could be it!

Need a bit more action?

Play a round of mini-golf. It can be heaps of fun and a great icebreaker. You will find plenty of mini-golf places in Auckland but Holey Moley is one of the best for adults. The holes are based on TV, music and pop culture references and you can enjoy a drink as you’re playing.

Thinking of something a bit more romantic?

Get loved up by Candlelight Concerts performed in the most stunning locations. Under 1000s of flickering lights, fabulous musicians perform music from different time periods; from classical music to hits from Queen, Amy Winehouse, Fleetwood Mac, Coldplay, and the Beatles. If you are looking for something fun to do, you won’t regret experiencing timeless music performed live while surrounded by the ambient glow of candlelight.

A time to do things together

A date can be the perfect time to focus on how well you know your significant other or on discovering things you like to do together. Dates are about enjoying who you are with. They are about spending time together, not about how much cash you spend. So, if these tips help you come up with a fun, yet cheap date, then that’s something to celebrate.