Updated on: February 21, 2020

10 Cheap Date Ideas for Broke Students

10 Cheap Date Ideas for Broke Students

Money can’t buy happiness… or love.

A good date is an expensive date. Right? Wrong.When you’re planning a romantic evening with your special someone, it’s common to feel pressure to spend. And this is especially true on Valentine’s Day.But in our 2019 survey, 88% percent of Valentines said the thought behind a present is more important than its price. In need of inspiration? Here are 10 low-cost date ideas to help you set the mood without breaking the bank. Check them out!

No. 1: Picnic at the park

LaKeisha Mallett, financial strategist and chairwoman of Mallett Coaching
Couples can make a picnic lunch and go to the local park and [take] ride bikes. There may be a cost for the park admission, but you save by having your own lunch. Plus, you get the opportunity to exercise by riding your bikes.

No. 2: Stroll along the beach

LaKeisha Mallett, financial strategist and chairwoman of Mallett Coaching
If you happen to live near a beach, another idea would be to take a stroll and watch the sunset. Not only is it fun, but it’s also practical, romantic, and most importantly, economical.

No. 3: Browse an open house

Jessica Myers, founder of Now That's Thrifty!
One fun thing that couples can do is visit an open house. Open houses are free and open to the public. You can tour different houses or apartments in your area even if you are not looking to buy a house any time soon.

No. 4: Snag a Groupon deal

Ryan Guina, founder and owner of The Military Wallet
Watch for deals on events or activities [for which] you might be able to [score] a great deal. Just be sure to read the fine print. Some discounts and deals aren’t valid on holidays. This is especially true of restaurants.

No. 5: Try mystery shopping

Jennifer Hayes, founder of Smarty Pants Finance
I have the perfect idea for broke college students who still want to go out on dates and have fun on the town! Mystery shopping! Shoppers take assignments at places they want to go, make observations during the experience, and write a simple report afterwards. Assignments typically include being paid a bit for writing the report and being reimbursed for whatever costs were incurred...this would include movie tickets, concert tickets, concession purchases, a meal for two, and everything in between.
Mystery shopping can be a good win-win opportunity for college students because:
  1. They are usually broke.
  2. They still want to go out and have fun with friends.
  3. They are tech savvy.
  4. They love to share their thoughts and observations.

No. 6: Take in a matinee

Ryan Guina, founder and owner of The Military Wallet
Matinees are generally half the cost of going to a movie later in the day or evening. Plan to have dinner or snacks after the movie so you don’t blow what you just saved on movie tickets at the concession stand.

No. 7: Skip the movies altogether

Dawn Casey-Rowe, author of A Broke Teacher’s Guide to Success
Skip the movies. [Watch] Netflix, Disney, or Hulu, but do it with elegance. Make sure family and roommates are out and make an appetizer or dessert table and fancy drinks. A home-made hot chocolate with home-made whipped cream, fancy coffees, or even soda and kombucha, with a serious plate of nachos – super affordable.

No. 8: Solve a puzzle

Kaylin Marcotte, founder and CEO of Jiggy Puzzles
Buy a cheap bottle of wine and stay in together over a puzzle. [Spending] $32 to $38 will provide hours of entertainment and quality time together. Then use the puzzle glue included with each Jiggy to turn it into wall art for the dorm or apartment.[A] percentage of every sale goes to an emerging female artist so it's a purchase [students] can feel good about.

No. 9: Cook dinner together

Ryan Guina, founder and owner of The Military Wallet
Plan one of your favorite meals and cook it together. Or, if you find a recipe that you’d like to try, go for it. Either way it’s a fun way to spend time together. It doesn’t need to be fancy. It may be something as simple as making your own pizza!

No. 10: Create your own dessert

Ryan Guina, founder and owner of The Military Wallet
You can’t have Valentine’s Day without some kind of dessert. If banana splits aren’t a favorite, then ice cream sundaes, or some other ice cream concoction can be part of your date night. Either plan to shop together for the ingredients as part of your date or pick up everything you need in advance. Be sure to pick your sweetheart’s favorites.

Bottom Line

A thin wallet doesn’t have to mean a thin dating life. Just get creative and show your special someone you care!What are your favorite cheap date ideas? Tell the community @OppUniversity.[blog-cont]
Samantha Rose

Samantha Rose has been a copywriter with OppLoans since 2018, and developing her writing expertise since 2011. She covers personal finance and financial education, and has interviewed professionals at Jump$tart, Junior Achievement, and state boards of education, among others. She resides in Chicago with her dog, Huey.

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