How to have an affordable date night

When it comes to matters of the heart, sometimes we need to balance our romantic dreams with financial realities. We'll help you keep the romance alive without breaking the bank.

Dine al-fresco

While childhood picnics conjure up images of jam sandwiches, orange juice and crumb-filled Tupperware, grown-up picnics for two can be romantic occasions. As the location is likely to be free – woodlands or a local beauty spot – you may be able to afford to splash out on your favourite foods. Pâté, a posh cheese selection and a cheeky glass of bubbly won't set you back a fortune, but will send the message that you're keen to treat your other half.

Channel your inner chef

Nothing says 'I love you' more than a home-cooked meal. And by staying in, not only will you save on the cost of a fancy restaurant, you won't need to fork out for a taxi fare. Even amateur chefs can rustle up something special using pre-prepared ingredients, and the extra effort will earn you brownie points in the romance stakes. BBC Good Food have a whole section dedicated to cheap, simple meals that will be sure to impress your date.

Cut corners not quality

If cooking really isn't your thing, many supermarkets such as Tesco, Morrisons and Waitrose offer cut-price 'meal-deals' – posh ready meals to stick in the microwave or oven. Plus if you shop around, most outlets have a weekly deal that may only set you back £10 for the evening such as Marks and Spencer's.

Add a little fizz

A couple of glasses of house white in your local pub might set you back over £5 a glass, so why not buy something fancy to stick in the fridge instead? Money Saving Expert have created a guide to the best cheap wines around to help you choose the perfect one for your date night.

At around £10 a bottle, the ever-popular prosecco is a treat that's cheap enough to enjoy whether it's a special occasion or not.

Romance on demand

No, we're not talking Netflix and chill – but streaming a romantic classic, and shelling out for a few blockbuster treats (popcorn, anyone?) could turn your living room into a private cinema. Streaming services usually offer free trials for a month (although check the small print), and monthly payments are often affordable.

To save even more, why not dust off a classic DVD from the back of the shelf? Charming old movies can make even those of us with the thickest skin a little misty eyed.

By being a little inventive, you can save a fortune on date night without losing any of the romance.

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