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Why we’re picking on millennials

While the LendingTree survey looked at all ages in the study, it looks like millennials, a generation that already struggles to keep up were the most likely to go into debt for a date. The lyrics “Wanna get with me with no money? Oh no,” come to mind.

In fact, almost a quarter of millennials in the study reported they had taken on dating-related debt. And the biggest culprit? Credit cards, with 7% of millennials reporting they currently owed credit card debt.

In fact, 10% said they’d had their credit cards declined while out on a first date! Ouch.

But that doesn't mean other generations and those already in committed relationships aren't feeling a financial strain when it comes to their love life.

A 2023 Forbes survey of Americans who are already in committed relationships shows that this is also true for existing couples who want to treat their partner or have a date night. Half of respondents borrowed money from friends and family, 37% have applied for a personal loan and 40% went into credit card debt in order to buy a romantic gift or go on a date.

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Need some help? Here are some ‘cheap date’ ideas

When it comes to dating, there are certainly tricks and “cheap date” ideas that millennials can use so they can focus on clearing debt.

The Forbes survey showed that 60% of respondents said inflation has affected their ability to buy romantic gifts or go on dates — and that number goes up to 79% for Gen Z, 65% for Gen X and 61% for millenials.

About 41% of couples are opting for cost-effective date alternatives such as such as hiking or going out for coffee.

But before you even start swiping to set up your weekend rendez-vous, sit down right now and come up with a budget. Then assign how much you can afford to put towards dating and other recreational activities each month.

Oh, then stick to it!

Read more: Earn extra cash for your weekend with these quick money hacks

Here are some other ways you can bring the romance without blowing a big hole in your budget:

Find a local market

Whether it’s a farmer’s market, street market, bazaar or a pop-up shop, these are great places for a first date. You’re likely to find some cheap food to scarf down, while browsing local goods or watching buskers and you’re not obligated to spend a cent.

And rather than shelling out over $100 on a dinner date, you can leave your date asking for a second just by buying them a small trinket to take home. We’d say that’s better than leaving them with a hangover from expensive wine.

Be a local tourist

Have you ever tried being a tourist in your own town? Most cities have events calendar to check out on their municipal website, so look it over to find something that fits within your budget. Big cities will certainly have events going on, and many of them will be free. But this trick isn’t just for larger metropolises.

Do some research and you’re sure to find something new that you’ve never experienced before, even as a local. It might be a nature path you’ve yet to discover, or a new museum or art gallery you haven’t seen.

Museums are definitely an affordable option, and if you time it right, you can even snag a free ticket on Museum Day in the fall to one of hundreds of museums or galleries. Or scan around for discounted admission the rest of the year.

‘Discover’ a local musician

This is where millennials may need to keep it cool, and not attempt to shell out cash.

But rather than going to a dinner, try going to watch a late-night local musician. Skip dinner and go right to meeting for drinks — you’re already saving plenty. And if you pick a place with live music, you’re saving on the cover fee in many cases too. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the music while the sparks fly.


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Amy Legate-Wolfe Freelance contributor

Amy Legate-Wolfe is an experienced personal finance writer and journalist. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Toronto, a Freelance Writing Certificate in Journalism from the University of Toronto Schools, and a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University. Amy has worked for Huffington Post, CTVNews.ca, CBC, Motley Fool Canada, and Financial Post. She is skilled at analyzing trends and creating content for digital and print platforms. In her free time, Amy enjoys reading and watching British dramas on BritBox. She is a mother and dog-mom to a Wheaten Terrier.

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