Whether you and your date want to spend the evening together making dinner in the kitchen or by surprising each other with an inexpensive treat, here are 9 ways to get more easy recipes for two while spending less.

1.Buy food that is not ready-made

It took someone time and effort to slice, cook, bake, or prepare what you bought. For example, this can be meat, bread, cheese, fruit or vegetables. For that reason, what you bought that was ready-made may be more expensive than if you were to do all the work by yourself. By buying food that is not ready-made, you get to enjoy the experience of doing what you want with what you bought and not feeling frustrated if it didn’t look the way you wanted it to. If it turns out that both options cost the same, feel free to then buy the ready-made food.

2. Buy in bulk

Whenever you notice yourself reaching for the same items over and over again, it helps to buy those items in bulk. This will also allow you to be prepared for more than one type of dish with that particular ingredient, and you will reduce the stress of needing to go out and get more of the same ingredient. Just make sure you know your limits and know if you will be able to use the ingredients before the expiration date. You never want to buy more than what you will use.

3. Use coupons and take advantage of reduced prices

If you know you will need something soon and it is on sale or you have a coupon, don’t be afraid to take advantage of that opportunity. This method will help you save a lot of money in the long run and you can enjoy countless meals for two. Just be sure that you check your coupons weekly or monthly since they tend to expire quickly, and to store them someplace you won’t forget in your wallet or purse.

4. Buy seasonal items according to the season

You should want to enjoy all the flavors each season brings with it and to be prepared to ask your date what they like or dislike well in advance since these seasonal flavors tend to come once a year with high demand. Fall is one of the best times of the year to enjoy a date together since you can carve pumpkins and make pumpkin pie, or go to a farm and buy caramel apples and/or enjoy a cornstalk maze together. Since many people will want to enjoy the same experience, the price may go down too, and not much is better than seeing your date’s face light up as you both have a good time together.

5. Find a recipe book for healthy cooking and baking ideas

This is especially helpful if you and your date live together. You and your date can browse through recipes for ideas on what to make for every meal you decide to share together and it will cut the cost of the need to go out for a meal as well. It will also give you a glimpse of what each of you prefers. If time is cut short and you know what either of you is making, you can go ahead and make it early. This will surprise your date with your ability to cook, and will make for a good conversation when the two of you meet.

6. Be creative when out of ingredients

It happens to even the well prepared, and that is when you know you need to go grocery shopping. If you and your date do run out of ingredients, you need not worry. Simply get creative and come up with new ideas together and learn to try something new and unexpected. It may even be possible that this new dish of yours may one day become a recipe that is your go-to on days when you don’t know what to make.

7. Prepare a dish or two to bring over to the date

If you don’t live together with your date, then this idea may work for you. Before you head out to meet each other, try making a dish or two beforehand. With both your date’s dish and your own, you can share a wonderful meal together without the need to go out for it. Just like with the example above about finding a recipe book for ideas and making the recipe early if time is cut short, you can still impress your date by taking charge in the kitchen.

8. Buy locally

This may be debatable, but chances are that your local farmer’s market may have reduced prices due to the fact that the food was grown locally. This is because food that was grown locally does not need to travel far to get to where it needs to be sold, reducing the cost of labor.

9. Plan ahead on who is in charge of what so that there is no cost of an argument

Costs come in different forms, so be aware of ill-planned dates. By planning ahead, you and your date know what to realistically expect from each other, and if anything bad does happen, you can simply redo your expectations for next time. Since planning is integrated into more than just meal planning, this will shed light on how well you and your date get along when there is a disturbance or disagreement. If you successfully navigate the murky waters of the unknown together and come out on the other side unscathed, you may also find that you and your date make an excellent team.

Remember that just because the recipe was easy doesn’t mean the planning and execution of the recipe will be easy too. Planning an easy recipe for two requires more than you might expect, but the payoff is worth it. As long as you and your date plan and have fun, there is no reason why enjoying a meal together should be difficult.

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