HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Foodie Date = NO MONEY help!!

So it finnally happend, founded an awesome girl that is really into food scene. After a couple of weeks going out with friends we ended up on a formal date or two. I paid for the dates however, she is quick to order up drinks or apps at a bar setting.

Here is my issue, I recently bought a new car, house hunting , and life itself leaves a set ammount of money. I HAVE NO IDEA HOW SHE pays for what she does.... Call this a male ego stigma, but I DO NOT want to say , " I would love to go, but can't afford it right now" I have suggested some less expensive places in the past, I just need some type of solution.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Tell her, "I would love to go, but I can't afford it right now." If she walks, you saved yourself a lot of future grief.

    1. May seem like a simple idea, but why not offer to cook her dinner in? Or cook the meal together? Almost always cooking a "foodie" meal at home is cheaper than an average meal out. Also, what about ethnic restaurants? I don't know where you live, but ethnic restaurants can be delicious and usually inexpensive. Also, restaurants frequently have less expensive lunch and brunch menus. Maybe suggest that on a weekend to save money. What about packing a picnic with great meats, cheese, etc... and take to a park. Or visit a local winery (if you have one) and enjoy your picnic there along with a wine tasting. However, none of these ideas will solve your problem if it is the "scene" she is really into and not the food. And if you are going on frequent dates I really think she be offering to pay part of the time - or cook for you! Don't go broke trying to impress her :) Good luck.

      1. Is she into the food or into the scene?

        I am very price sensitive, so although I can afford to splurge, I more than satisfy my quotidian food cravings with papusas, tacos, pizza, and all manor of Asian cuisine. I can have a full meal for what your gf pays for two drinks at the bar.

        I think you need to take the same approach, just like we proselytize on Chowhound. DIg up some info on holes-in-the-wall about specialized ingredients or dishes. not that I know anything about Pittsburgh.... Go to a Chinese/Thai/Vietnamese place and ask if they can prepare food off-menu (of course they can). Nothing fancy or elaborate, but something special that you can't order otherwise. Make the experience more truly food-centric than scene-centric. Make it cool to spend less money.

        1. I'm a little older than you, but I'll give it a shot.

          I agree you shouldn't say that you can't afford a date right now, but maybe approach it another way. Like, offer to show off your skills by packing a delicious picnic lunch, and enjoying a fun spot for the day. Satisfy her foodie soul with creative sandwiches and a nice bottle of wine for a fraction of the cost of an expensive dinner.

          I had a guy take me canoeing once. He did the whole picnic, champagne, checkered table cover thing. It was so romantic (sigh). Looking back, I realize he was probably broke, but it wowed me at the time.

          Maybe "activity" dates - horseback riding, museums, hiking, white water rafting...

          If she's expensive in bar settings, steer clear of them - Control the environment. She'll never realize you're avoiding $11.00 martinis if you show up with tickets to a baseball game.

          Good luck.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Whinerdiner

            Whinerdiner, have you priced tickets to a baseball game lately? Well, at least if we are talking my (World Champion :-)) Giants, that might not be a cheaper option.

            I do like the wine tasting and picnic ideas, although I am in the 'I'd love to go but I can't afford it right now' camp. You don't need to go into details, but honesty is a good policy here to avoid future grief. Just be sure to follow that with, 'wny don't we try and cook a meal out of XX Chef's cookbook instead: that woud be a lot of fun' so she knows you want to spend time with her...

            1. re: susancinsf

              You hit a good point Sussancinsf... I dont want it to cross her mind I am not interested in spending time with her...

              1. re: susancinsf

                Phillies tickets aren't so bad, and there are several Minor League teams around here with nice new(er) stadiums. I assumed the same would be true in Pittsburgh. Don't know what Pirates tickets cost, but my thinking was they could spend a fun day together and put a cap on the spending, as opposed to ordering drink after drink at the bar.

                I agree completely with the wine tasting, and I like your cookbook idea.

                By the way, since today is opening day for baseball, the Giants won't be World Champions for long! : -))

                1. re: Whinerdiner

                  I am from Pittsburgh.. . Soon they might pay us to go see the Pirates .. ( PNC Park is a GREAT place, Pirates are rough, but staduiam is just awesome!)

                  1. re: Augie6

                    Ha Ha - Well then, that would be an inexpensive date! And who knows - you guys might just be their lucky charm.

              2. re: Whinerdiner

                Every once in a while I find myself in the garage looking fondly at my picnic basket on one of the shelves. It was that basket that iced it for me with my wife. It’s truly amazing how far a $6 bottle of OK wine, some decent cheese and a baguette can get you. If that basket could talk… I have to dust that thing off.

              3. If you're on your third date going out to eat, it's time she offers to take YOU out. If she is fully willing to have you pay for bar/meal #3 or #4 without reciprocating in any way, then she's a taker.
                When I dated, I'd offer to pay on the second date, or I'd cook dinner at home. I was acutely aware of the fact that the guy was spending hard-earned money!
                Regardless who pays, suggest ethnic eateries, or go get coffee or do lunch vs. dinner or do apps vs. entrees.

                7 Replies
                1. re: monavano

                  I'm with monavano on this issue. When I dated, and I dated A LOT, I always offered to pay on the second date. I would usually wait until after the third or fourth date to cook a meal. Call me weird, but to me there is an intimacy about cooking a dinner for someone that didn't feel comfortable until I knew more about the person.

                  I was also sensitive to their income levels. If I knew, or suspected that there were limited funds, I would always suggest a lower cost option such as an ethnic restaurant. To me, it wasn't the cost of the meal or date that was important, it was the person's character.

                  1. re: mtngirlnv

                    And who says the date has to involve food in a formal, sit down fashion? It would be fun to go into town, see some sights and hit up a street cart.
                    BTW, I think it was my seafood alfredo that snagged my DH ;-)

                    1. re: monavano

                      Or food at all really ? I love food, love to cook and totally also get that early dating jitters usually mean going for drinks etc..... but that's not all I like to do.

                      1. re: monavano

                        That's what Debra thought too about her Lemon Chicken.....on Everybody Loves Raymond.


                    2. re: monavano

                      Plus plus on this one. Expecting you to pay is outlandishly outmoded. If expensive food and making a scene is her trip and is something beyond your means, I really think she should be a little more sensitive to your circumstances and offer to pay. On the other hand, she may not be that psychic, and it wouldn't hurt to see how well the two of you can communicate behind something like this.

                      1. re: mamachef

                        +1 on communicating. The OP sounds like a very smart and responsible individual. That's quality stuff! If she thinks that's a deal breaker, well then, that is very telling.

                      2. If you want to keep it in the arena of CH, how about taking that new car and driving to check out a local winery or something for a tasting ? A couple of my best dates were driving around with someone and finding off-beat places to see, or just walk around.

                        1. If she is interested in you- she should be offering to pay for some or all of a date once in a while by now. The "man pays" is waaaaay outdated.

                          That being said, you might invite her on a "picnic" somewhere. Suggest that she bring the wine (or whatever beverage goes with what you are preparing) and tell her in advance that you prepared something special. It is really easy to make up some interesting picnic food.

                          Do you have any local wineries? Wine tasting is cheap, fun and is really easy to buy a bottle for 15 bucks and picnic with it.

                          What about going to an interesting independent film, then out for a coffee and danish at an unusual place? Sometimes we do that and go to an East Indian place for chai and dessert afterward.

                          Do any of those "mutual friends" want to do a potluck style foodie dinner? Maybe with a theme? A small tasting party is fun, I have thrown many tasting parties for wine, beer, balsamic vinegar, cheese... I even had a party where we judged the best homemade trail mix/snack mix (served with BYOB) and music from the 40's.

                          1. Thanks for all the feedback.... To be fair to her, she has paid and is totally willing.. .. She does go for the scene of place a lot more than the food. (however she is really into food, been to paris twice just for a food tour) Either she is maxing the ish out her credit cards or has a extra job I dont know bout.

                            The weather SUCKS in Pittsburgh right now ! Nice weather opens so many doors to cheaper activites.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Augie6

                              Take her to Primaniti's!!
                              Glad to see she's paying, *but* it sounds like she's either a trust fund baby, or she could be maxing out her credit cards. If the latter is the case...yikes!

                              1. re: Augie6

                                If she's into scene and not food, you should hopefully be able to find other things to do besides go to bars and have apps, or else there's no substance there because she's just a barfly and not really into you for you, just as an appendage (and one who often pays). If what bothers you is the amount spent, whether it's yours or hers, see if you can find out if this is her vice/passion. We all have vices, and they're not always $800 purses, and maybe she makes room for it in her budget because it's important to her. And if she's just living on credit to have this lifestyle, that tells you something else right there as well.

                              2. When I met my now-husband he asked me to have lunch with him. I was dying for Italian and he had an Italian joint near his place so we made plans to go there. Something urgent came up for me and I had to reschedule lunch to dinner that evening - I was really worried I'd put him out at the time and hoped he wouldn't think too badly of me.

                                I got to his place that evening and apologised for what had happened. He said it was ok and then said with all the extra time he had he'd gone shopping and he was going to cook Italian for me instead.

                                I was so surprised that someone I'd only met the evening before would go to so much trouble for me. The evening rolled on - we married exactly a year later and have now been married nearly 18 months. So my suggestion? Cook for the lovely lady, the thought and effort that goes into such a gesture is very much appreciated by us on the receiving end. It doesn't have to be expensive and you can churn out something amazing to share and you can enjoy each others company in a more casual manner.

                                :) Hope it goes well for you!

                                1. You have hung out and gone on a few dates, you can cook at home! I don't pay for dates, with a new person or a bf, but I'll cook.

                                  If you live in a city, go out for cheap Mexican. Get some "scene" cocktails somewhere else.

                                  1. I would also suggest you invite her over for a home-cooked meal. When dating DH, we were both poor grad students but he scored big points by cooking me a 3 course dinner. The fact that he put the time and effort to put together a delicious meal for me really made a very positive impression. If she is reluctant to accept the invite or tries to get you to switch to going out to a restaurant/bar, then that says she is more interested in checking out the scene while getting free food (courtesy of you) rather than you. And after 3-4 dates, it is definitely her turn to invite you out and pay for it.

                                    I'd also be put off by someone who was superficial enough or financially irresponsible enough to live some fake "lifestyle" they couldn't afford. Based on OP's comments I get the impression this woman has expensive tastes but possibly not the money to pay for it. Red flag in my book.

                                    1. 1) be honest about the situation.

                                      2) ramen.

                                      3)coal/wood oven pizza and wine

                                      4) be honest about the situation

                                      5) cook

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: thew

                                        When I was single, a dude who made me wood oven pizza and served me wine definitely got a second date!

                                      2. As a single woman, I would be thrilled if someone cooked dinner for me or had me cook with them. Not sure how you could do this on the sly when paying the bill, but you could use coupons from Group On, Living Social or Restaurant.com. They often have some good restaurant deals. I wouldn't whip out a coupon every time -- lest you seem really cheap -- but every now and then wouldn't hurt.

                                        Another option to keep your dates reasonable is to hit some BYOB places. At least you would save on drinks!

                                        Finally, I would try to be honest about your goal of saving money to buy a house. Quite honestly, if she balked at using coupons or not eating out as much, I would question her.

                                        Good luck.

                                        1. Why not tell her you just bought a car and are on a budget because you're saving for a house? There's no shame in being on a budget. Most of us are. If she walks, you're well rid of her, as awesome as she may be. Any girl who orders apps and drinks right away without consideration of others sounds high maintenance to me.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: Isolda

                                            +1 A guy who is saving for a house is way more attractive to me than one who buys me a fancy martini ;-)

                                            1. re: arashall

                                              +2. Unless the martini were the size of a house, and I could live in it when I was finished drinking it. A girl can dream.

                                              1. re: arashall

                                                I'm laughing. We sound like some old mothers, aunts, sisters, giving you advice.

                                                I agree with making pizza and serving wine. Cooking together can be more intimate that eating out. You can make the dough ahead of time and cook the toppings and pizzas together. Best recipe I have found is here: http://www.italianchef.com/grilledpiz....

                                                I make it on a baking stone or on the grill. Best one I make is with seafood, pesto and goat cheese. Turns out fantastic - so much so that I'm starting to prefer this over going to a restaurant that does wood oven pizzas like il Pizziola.

                                                1. re: AllieP

                                                  Hey, I am an old (well, middle-aged, anyway) mother! Just giving the same advice I'll give my 14 yo son when he starts dating. ;+)

                                                  1. re: Isolda

                                                    I'm only 25, but I have a 19 year-old brother, and I think he's suffered my all-too-recent (and my 23 year-old sister's) terrible dating memories/stories about financially irresponsible boys to have gathered some sense....at least, I hope.

                                                  2. re: AllieP

                                                    Alliep Great site !!! I take in all the advice I get hahahah.. ... I really think when the weather breaks It will lesson the urge to "go out" and do something. I am hoping this is only a stage of "getting to know eachother" .. My goal was not make her think I do not want to spend time or go out..