Wallet-Friendly Date Ideas

Let’s face it, as college students, money can seem “tight.” College can be a trying time to save and budget money while attending school, full-time or part-time. With limited spending money, non-necessities are either very limited or taken out completely. So with these limited funds, it is sometimes hard to maintain a social life let alone a romantic relationship.

 Now with prices rising, a night out at the movies or a restaurant can be extremely expensive and dig a large hole in a college student’s pocket. According to Michael Ceply, media blogger of The New York Times, “The National Association of Theater Owners said the average ticket price for 2011 was $7.93.” Along with movie prices, the average cost of dining out is hiking up as well.

The NY Daily News states, “According to industry publication Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN), a second straight year of rising commodity costs will force restaurant chains to pass on higher food costs to consumers by hiking up menu prices.” With prices inflating everywhere, it can be difficult for college students to afford eating out or escaping to the theater for a romantic evening. However, have no fear. There are many other inexpensive and even free date ideas out there for couples to engage in. Dating does not have to suffer because of a person’s finances.

As stated before, movie prices are rising significantly. With the establishment of Red Box Movies, a kiosk of DVD rentals, usually located outside of convenience stores or grocery stores, an individual can rent a movie for the reasonable price of one dollar a night. So, rent a movie, buy a bag of popcorn and some treats and the movie theater can be recreated in the comfort of your own home.

Another fun at-home activity is cooking dinner together. Pick a meal or treat you or your significant other have been dying to try. There are some great recipes located at The website has a whole section dedicated to “cooking for two.” With over 750 recipes and a variety of meal selections, a fun night of cooking for two is just steps away. Not only is cooking at home an easy way to save money by avoiding dining out, but it’s an interactive activity for a couple to try together.

Another great environment for free and inexpensive dates is right outside your window. The outdoors has so many options for dating activities, such as hikes, beach fun, outdoor sports and so much more. Kristen Shedlock a senior states, “I grew up hiking with my family, and going on a hike for a date is a fun time to spend with someone.” Some hiking routes in New Jersey can be found at

Along with hiking, some inexpensive outdoor sports that are fun date ideas are tennis and basketball. “I love playing tennis. It’s cute and free at your local park. It’s one of my favorite date ideas,” states senior Stephanie Struniewski. Along with tennis courts, many local parks have basketball courts as well. If your date is up for a game of basketball, it’s an interactive way to spend time with your partner! However, if you plan on having a more “sporty” outdoors type of rendezvous, make sure your date is up for it.

Being that the University is just a couple of blocks away from the beach, it is a romantic and enjoyable spot to take a date. The beach can provide a couple of date ideas. Senior Kara Hunt said, “My favorite date so far has been having a picnic on the beach.” To reenact, Kara’s dream date is simple and can be completed with a few steps.

First, grab a blanket. Next pack some snacks in a picnic basket and lastly hope the beach weather is comfortable for a picnic. Some other “beach-motif” ideas are going for a walk on the boardwalk, and if the boardwalk has activities available, play some games and grab some ice cream or treats of your choice. Some more dating activities on the beach could be playing beach volleyball, Frisbee, surfing, or just sitting on a blanket/towel and watching the waves or sunrise. The beach can be a dating oasis, and it’s only a couple of minutes away.

Bringing a date to a new hot-spot of their choice can be a fun way to get to know their interests and hobbies. A great way to find the fastest deals from “hot-spots” in your current area is singing up for Living Social at or Groupon at These websites provide members with day-to-day deals that are currently going on in the area. The two websites will email you the “deal of the day” and any other the current deals in your area. A lot of these deals are possible places to take dates out.

For example, some of the previous deals the sites have posted include: horseback riding, weekend getaways, dining out deals, concerts, amusement parks and so much more. The deal options on these websites are endless, and have the potential of saving a person up to 80 percent off the original pricing of the deal. There is no fee to become a member, so might as well join the website and cruise for coupons and deals for date ideas. Senior Chelsea Grasso says, “I love going to the zoo or the aquarium! I also like sporting type of dates like mini golf!” Luckily, websites such as and have the potential to offer date deals for the aquariums, zoos, and amusement parks.

The world of dating does not have to put a huge dent in a person’s pocket if they follow some of these tips and guidelines. Creativity can go a long way in the world of dating. “I actually prefer the free, creative dates my boyfriend surprises me with,” states senior Jaimee Saracen. There are many free and inexpensive dating options out there available for college students. With a little research, and some budgeting knowledge, the world of dating can be exciting and inexpensive for college students to engage in.