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10 ways to impress on a 1st date – without breaking the bank

Posted 11 May 2016

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Knowing you have a big date coming up may convince you to spend a fortune in an effort to impress. Before you do, read our ten tips on planning a great first date without breaking the bank.

Going on a first date can be nerve-wracking, particularly if it’s been a while since you were last on the dating scene. The more nervous you are, the more you might feel you need to go the extra mile to impress.

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It’s never worth over-stretching yourself financially and spending money you don’t have to make a good impression on a first date, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put the effort in and look and feel your best. Read our ten top tips on how to have a great first date – without breaking the bank.

1. Looking good on a budget

If you’re completely panicked about what your date will think of you, you may be tempted to blow a fortune getting your hair done and beautifying yourself. Stop! While it’s only natural to want to look your best, you don’t need to spend loads doing it. To start with, you’d be surprised at the number of makeup and perfume brands that give away free samples. Just visit your local Boots, Debenhams or Selfridges and ask if you can try some samples of your favourite expensive beauty buys. You may come out with everything you need for a first date look! You’ll find more tips for looking good on a budget here.

2. Have a makeover 

If you’re not confident about using your new samples yourself, you could treat yourself to a makeover instead. Many makeup brands offer them – just ask at your local large Boots or department store.

3. Get a new ‘do’ for nothing

Did you know you can get a new hairstyle for free? Some of the best hairstyle academies in the UK, including Toni & Guy, Vidal Sassoon and L’Oréal, offer free – or very cheap – haircuts if you’re willing to let a trainee hairstylist practise their craft. The offer is available to men and women, and some barbers offer free wet shaves. If you have a big date coming up, look online and ring around to see if there are any money-saving deals to be had.

4. Recycle your wardrobe

What you wear on a first date can make you feel attractive and confident, but you’ll feel less so if you know you’re due a massive credit card bill as a result. What you must remember is that, if this is the first time you’ll meet your date, they’ll have never seen your wardrobe before. This means you can wear something you already own and feel good in –  they won’t have a clue it’s not brand new. After all, if it’s good enough for the Duchess of Cambridge!

5. Ask a friend

If you feel there’s just nothing hanging in your wardrobe that’s date-worthy, ask a friend to help you out. They may be happy to lend you a suit jacket, dress or top to wear – after all, it’s only for one evening. An added bonus of raiding a friend’s wardrobe is that you can get their opinion on what suits you best.

6. Skip dinner 

Booking a table at a fancy restaurant might seem like the way to impress a date, but it may not actually be a great move. You don’t know for sure how your date will go, and if the conversation doesn’t flow you’ll regret sitting down to a three-course meal. Plan something low-key and you’ll feel more relaxed AND save money – and you can always go for a meal on your next date.

7. Plan a daytime date

You may be surprised to find that a daytime date is far cheaper than an evening one – even if you do exactly the same things. Taxi fares are usually cheaper during the day and restaurant prices certainly are. If things go well and you both decide to grab a bite to eat, you can check out which restaurants offer lower prices for bookings in the early evening – many do. And if you just go for a drink, you could time it with the venue’s happy hour so your money goes further.

8. Do something different

As we mentioned above, going for dinner can make a date very expensive. It’s also pretty formal, and if you want to be different you could surprise your date by thinking outside the box. For example, you could find out what some of their favourite dishes are and pack a picnic that contains them (providing it won’t be too messy to transport). Take them to one of your favourite beauty spots so you can share it with them. Another idea is to go for a walk. Stay away from somewhere you’ll need hiking boots and plan a route that has a place to stop for a drink on the way (or to shelter in if it rains).

9. Sign up for offers

You could plan a date they’ll remember and that won’t break the bank by signing up for special deals newsletters and alerts, like Groupon and Living Social. You’ll find lots of great deals here that should save you a bundle and impress your date at the same time.

10. Be yourself! 

It won’t cost you a penny, and it could be the only thing you need to make a good impression and bag a second date!

 

Keep checking the blog for more money-saving tips.

 

by Kyri Levendi

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.