For all you ballers on a budget that still wanna do something sweet for that special someone, this list is for you. Dating doesn’t have to be a savings drain, here’s some romantic ideas to sweep her off her feet:
- Picnic in the Park
A night out at a fancy restaurant probably isn’t a realistic option. Make a to-go container from the cafeteria and pack a blanket. There’s probably a park near campus. Enjoy the sunshine and one another’s company!
- Attend Local Readings
Open mic poetry nights are pretty hit or miss, but either way you’ll leave with a story to tell. Check out the local coffee shops and bookstores—they might even have famous authors coming through.
- Volunteer Together
Soup kitchens, animal shelters, retirement homes—there are plenty of places looking for volunteers. You can make it a standing date. Couples that do good together stay together? That’s a thing, right?
You know what’s totally free? Nature. Splurge on hot chocolate and put Google to good use. Find the best place to stargaze nearby and marvel at your tininess compared to the entirety of universe.
- Silent Movie Night
Watch a silent movie and do your best to figure out what’s going on. Better yet, make it a DIY Silent Movie. Pick a movie neither of you have seen before and watch it on mute. Narrate the movie. Watch the movie with sound later and see how close (or far) you were to the actual plot.
- Game Night
Get nostalgic and play your favorite board games. Monopoly, Candyland, Pretty Pretty Princess—its your choice! This is perfect for a group date, too. Invite other couples or the girls on your hall. The bigger the game night, the better.
- Cafeteria Cuisine
College cafeterias have a bad rep but the truth is they boast quite a variety. Make it a competition. Prepare a tray for each other and see who can come up with the strangest, tastiest combinations.
- Show & Tell
Take turns doing one another’s favorite activities, even the boring ones. It’s a chance to get to know one another—quirks and all! Your S.O. might realize he has a real knack for needlepoint.
- Coupon Clipping
Competitions make everything more fun, even mundane trips to the grocery store. Pick up the coupon booklet from the local grocery story and see who can get the most bang for their buck. The loser buys the winner Ben&Jerry’s!
- DIY Drive-In Movie
Drive-In movies aren’t easy to find, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out! Drive to a destination of your choice. Pack a laptop, your favorite movie and a blanket. And popcorn of course, don’t forget the popcorn.
- A Not-So-Fancy Night on the Town
Just because you can’t afford a fancy restaurant doesn’t mean you should miss out on a fancy night out. Get dressed up in your fanciest and head out for the fast food joint of your choice. (If you’re on the West Coast, I vote for In-N-Out!)
- Take a Hike!
Personally I’m not the best hiking partner, but if you and your S.O. are at all active, this can be the perfect date. It’s cheap, and by cheap I mean free! Plus you can reward yourself with ice cream after.
- The Best Kind of Movie Night
You know the movies you know are lame but for some reason you watch them over and over? Each person has to pick a lame movie to share. And there can be no judgment—because Princess Diaries 2 is totally way better than the first.
- Be Tourists for the Day
Whether or not you’ve lived in the same place your whole life, there’s always new places to explore. It took me 21 years of living in LA before I hiked the Hollywood sign. It’s fun to get to know your home even if it all feels familiar.
- Cook Dinner on a Budget
Even if it’s microwave Ramen, there’s something romantic about the idea of cooking with one another. Maybe you’re even brave enough to try Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. It might not be the best meal you’ve ever had, but it could be the most fun!