4 Ways to Date in a Big City on a Budget

As fun as dating is, it is also expensive. Over the past decade, couples have refrained from enjoying traditional date nights because of the increasing costs. For those living in bigger cities such as New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, you can take advantage of specials that are specific to your area to help cut the cost of dating by up to 80%. Curious how this is possible. Here are four ways to date in a big city on a budget.


One of the best websites to get to know for discounts is Restaurant.com. Through this website, you can purchase gift certificates for restaurants at a steep discount. For example, you might be able to purchase a $25 gift certificate for $5. These gift certificates have attached stipulations such as that you must spend at least $40 to use the gift certificate. In the end, you can enjoy a nice dinner for two and only spend around $20. This website also has additional deals for dinner and show packages for theaters in these major cities.

Amazon Local

UPDATE – Amazon Local has been discontinued as of 2015. Below are our original comments on Amazon Local

One of the latest crazes in discount sites is Amazon Local. Like all things the company does, Amazon runs this program just right. Patrons can access a variety of specials that are longer running than those you see on Living Social or Groupon. Best of all, these deals are pretty good.

In my small city, I have snagged a full-day tandem or two single kayak rental for $65 (normally $140), a spa pedicure for $22 (normally $80), and a 60-minute massage for $22 (normally $90). The deals being offered in larger cities include everything from discounted tours to museum tickets to dinner and show packages to area events.

Join a Locals-Only Facebook Group

Want to know where the hottest secret spots are? Join a locals-only Facebook group. Many restaurants and bars in larger cities jack up their prices because they know that the tourist types and luxury lifestyle bits will pay for it. But hidden in every city are super cheap spots that try to be the best-kept secret of your big city.

For my small city, it is this place called KGB. This little “spy bar,” as they call themselves, is the only place in town that makes custom cocktails with fresh muddled fruit for under $5. On different nights of the week, they offer specials that cut the prices down even further. Best of all, it’s just off the beaten path, and it’s always relatively quiet when compared to the crazy nightlife at other bars in the area.

Watch Out for Weeknight Specials

Date night doesn’t have to be on a Friday or Saturday. Knowing that most people go out on these days, many restaurants do not offer specials. Instead, you find that happy hours are available Sunday – Thursday and drink specials are limited to these days as well. Additional promotions are also likely to only run during the weekdays as a way to drive up business.

For example, Red Robin restaurants in North Carolina and South Carolina are currently offering Buy One Get One Free Tavern Burgers and Bottomless fries on Tuesday nights if the Carolina Panthers win their game over the preceding weekend. Effectively making Tuesday a night when you can go out to eat and enjoy a dinner for two for under $20. Follow your favorite local restaurants on Facebook to get a first look at any specials happening during the week that can make your date night that much more affordable.

Always set a budget for what you can afford for a date night and stick to it. This might mean you can only go out once per month instead of the traditional once per week. It often pays to sign up for royalty cards at establishments where you can earn free merchandise for repeated visits or credit to use toward your next adventure. Lastly, you can have just as much fun with a date night at home as you can going out.