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Love for Less and Stay on Budget This Valentine's Day

If you’ve just met someone new, chances are you want to go places together. And not just places with your future in mind, but actual places, like out on the town every once in a while. Money might be tight, but you still want to make a good impression, so where does that leave you? The best way to stay within budget is to have one in place to begin with, but while people give themselves budgets for everything from gas and groceries to holiday spending, dating tends to fall by the wayside. If you’ve found yourself wondering, “Where can I find a title loan near me?”, you might need to think about creating a budget for dating.

The 50-20-30 Rule

If you aren’t familiar with it already, the 50-20-30 Rule is a tried and tested budgeting strategy that makes its way onto just about every personal finance blog out there for one main reason: it really works. Just add up your total income and split it up into three main categories. 50% goes to your essentials, like utilities and mortgage or rent, 20% toward savings, and 30% toward your recreation and discretionary spending. Pull from your fun money for your dating fund, and keep below 10% of your total income to avoid over-spending.

The 50-20-30 is a great jumping off point for building any budget. It’s an excellent framework and gives you room to make adjusts as needed. Being more mindful of your finances can help you spot trouble ahead of time to avoid relying on credit cards or a title loan.

Going Out to Dinner

When you’re first starting a new relationship, it’s hard to know what’s okay and what’s not, and that can make going out for a bite to eat feel like too much of a hassle. But we all have to eat, and you don’t just have to choose between fancy-shmancy and a drive-thru dinner. Whether you’re in Tula Rosa or Alamogordo, shoot for mid-range restaurants and with a range of selections and comfortable prices. Give yourself a budget for the night: enough for appetizers, and two entrees, a couple of drinks, and of course, a tip. Your date is sure to remember if you leave a poor tip or none at all, especially if they worked in food service.

If money is really tight, you may also want to consider going Dutch instead of spending beyond your means. Just be sure that you give your date a heads up – it may not be the best option for a first date, but it can also be a great way to set the tone you want for a partnership based on honesty and equality.

Catching a Movie

Dinner and a movie is a dating staple, but big-budget blockbusters tend to come out during the summer and the holidays, so you may want to save going to the theaters for these times of the year. You may be able to save on your movie-going with a AAA membership, or by purchasing your movie tickets in packs. Costco and BJ’s members might also want to check out just how much they can save by buying their tickets in bulk.

You can also save by picking the right time and place to see a movie. Smaller theater chains and drive-ins tend to cost less than major franchises. Moviefone and Fandango are helpful sites for finding theaters near you, as well as finding movie times and pricing. Matinees are a great way to watch the same film for less, as long as you don’t mind going to a daytime showing. By skipping a Friday night movie date for a matinee before 4pm, you could save money and still have time for the things that really matter on Valentine’s Day.

Other Date Ideas

Contrary to popular belief, the point of dating is to get to know each other, not just impress each other. A payday or title loan could help you make a big splash this Valentine’s Day, but there are plenty of inexpensive and free local attractions you can enjoy, from the local park to the zoo. Check your local event calendars from Agua Fria to Rio Rancho to see what’s happening in your area this February and talk to your date to find out what interests you share. Chances are there’s an event happening near you that could make this Valentine’s Day one you’ll both remember.

If going out isn’t your idea of a good time, a night in might be just the thing. Just hit the grocery store and check out what Netflix or Hulu have to offer. That lets you save money and have a little private time with your Valentine. Add some candles and romantic music to your dinner for two and you’re sure to set the mood for a romantic and intimate night in this Valentine’s Day.