(Source: blog.moneysmart.sg)

I have some friends who pay for Tinder premium memberships. They fork out a monthly fee so they can dish out an unlimited number of “likes”. No wonder people say dating is getting more expensive these days.

But even if you’re not exactly paying to browse photos of complete strangers online, dating can get expensive in our not-particularly-affordable city.

Here are three big, potentially expensive problems budding couples face:

 

Dating tends to revolve around food and drinks

Dating tends to revolve around stuffing your face and getting high on caffeine/cocktails. Most of the time, the easiest way to ask someone out on a date is to get them to meet you for coffee on a weekend afternoon, or for dinner and drinks after work.

Unless your date is awesome enough to be fine with going to hawker centres on every date, that means you’ll have to fork out the cash for proper, sit down meals. Considering a meal at a mid-range restaurant can set you back over $20, coffees at hipster cafes cost over $5 and a cocktail will set you back well over $15, the potential for spending is high.

To avoid spending a bomb on stuff to put in your mouth, avoid having your dates centre on meals or drinks.

Focus on a different activity instead—a walk at the Botanic Gardens in the middle of the afternoon, a game of tennis or a visit to the museum. Food should be nothing more than an afterthought so neither of you will feel too deflated if you end up grabbing a quick bite at a nearby food court.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Practise a sport both of you can play, like badminton or roller blading.
  • Attend a free event such as one of the free concerts at the Esplanade.
  • Have a picnic at Gardens by the Bay or the Botanic Gardens, while avoiding the overpriced restaurants in them.

 

Many places with a romantic atmosphere are pricey

Why are there so many woefully mediocre restaurants and cafes that still manage to get away with charging outrageous prices for their reheated food? That’s because many people are willing to pay for fancy décor and a nice view.

We understand that on a hot date you want to make sure the mood is right, and there’s no better way to get your man/lady friend on the same page than by dazzling them with a gorgeous view of Singapore’s skyline, or having a candlelit dinner at some stylish restaurant.

But all it really takes to save cash is a bit of research on your part. There are many free/almost free scenic spots in Singapore that offer great views, and where you don’t have to get jostled by 1,000 other diners/partygoers.

Here are some suggestions:

  • The rooftop garden at Pinnacle @ Duxton (costs $5 via Ezlink).
  • ION Sky (open from 3 to 6pm)
  • Orchard Central’s rooftop garden
  • Henderson Waves
  • People’s Park Complex rooftop

 

Trying new activities can get expensive

There are only so many dinner-and-movie sessions you can take your date on before he/she starts writing you off as too boring.

But trying to come up with new ideas all the time can be exhausting, not to mention expensive. Taking your date to Universal Studios will set you back $76 per person. That art jam session at Arteastique costs $48 per person. A weekend afternoon of go-karting costs at least $35 per person.

On the other hand, if you’re not willing to spend the time and money to plan something special, your dating life might end up becoming an unending loop of wandering aimlessly around some overcrowded shopping mall.

There’s no easy way out of this one. You’ve got to do your research so you know ahead of time what cheap and fun activities you can do with your date. Focus on common interests first, as well as interesting spots in Singapore neither of you has visited, and you should have a decent list.

Here are some cheap date suggestions that can keep the boredom at bay:

  • Visit the National Gallery, National Museum, Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore Art Museum or Peranakan Museum. It’s free for Singaporeans and PRs.
  • Ride bicycles on Pulau Ubin, which should cost you less than $10 per person.
  • Go on a hike at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve—take the easy trail if your date is out of shape.
  • Hit up one of the public swimming complexes with water slides and wave pools, like Jurong East or Pasir Ris.

What was the most memorable date you’ve been on? Tell us in the comments!

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