Just in time for the weekend! We’ve all heard of Rick Steve’s Travel Guide on a Shoe-string budget. Now, college senior at Notre Dame pens the new edition: Dating on a Shoe-String Budget. In response to our previous post “How to Bring Dating Back; a Suggestion“, Tess lists some practical, lighthearted, and creative ideas for enjoying each others company, without sacrificing your wallet or your integrity. Do you have any more to add?
“I want to ask girls out… but dating is expensive.” That’s the complaint I hear from a lot of my guy friends. Especially since my fellow Love and Fidelity Network blogger David Laprade wrote about the need to bring back a dating culture on college campuses, collegians across the country are ready to break free from the hook-up culture and venture out onto dates. Yet as poor students, most guys can’t treat their ladies to society’s portrayal of romantic dates such as fancy outings and four-course meals.
Dating isn’t about impressing someone but about getting to know the other person – does she have a sense of humor? Can he keep calm and think clearly in a crisis? Can we even stand each other for more than a few hours? The date ideas offered in this post will give men and women a chance to get to know each other so that they can figure out the answers to these questions.
These ideas are for all the guys who are running out of ideas for cute, fun dates that don’t leave a huge hole in your wallet. They are for the ladies who desire to help their boyfriends with creative ideas and will want to forward this article to your boyfriends. Most of all, this is for every college student who is tired of the hook-up culture and the “hit it, quit it” mentality – students who are ready to spend time getting to know another’s character before committing to something more.
I’ve broken down the date ideas into categories for easy reference (The Great Outdoors for both warm and cold weather, Culture, & Off the Beaten Path). Now, without further ado, I’m proud to present…
Cute, Cheap Date Ideas
The Great Outdoors – Warm Weather
The classic simple date is, of course, a picnic. Grab some sandwiches (and a bottle of wine if you’re of age and feeling classy), then head for the nearest park, forest preserve, or even campus quad.
Go fishing. Time to relax, unwind, and talk for hours – what’s not to love?
Take a long walk together and be sure to stop for ice cream.
If you live in a city, check out a farmer’s market or local art show.
If you live in the country, head to the rodeo or county fair.
Take a leisurely bike ride in a pretty neighborhood.
There are only a few more weeks to use these ideas, so pack in a few dates before winter hits!
The Great Outdoors – Cold Weather
Rediscover your inner child and go sledding on the nearest hill. No sleds? Use trays from the dining hall. End the day with a steaming mug of hot chocolate.
Ice-skating is always fun (and the perfect occasion to hold hands for the first time. You didn’t hear it from me).
Around Christmas time, do some window-shopping: check out the windows at Macy’s or Marshall Field’s.
Go out dancing – swing or salsa. There are always places that hold cheap or even free dances in the community. It just takes a little Google research.
Museums in your area probably have free admission or student discounts – find out online.
Go to free or discounted movie screenings, which are usually plentiful around college campuses. (For New Yorkers, try the free outdoor movies in Bryant Park on Tuesday night.)
Is your lady into theater? Instead of shelling out cash for a Broadway production, check out a student play – inexpensive and fun. One of the best plays I’ve ever seen was a free high school production of the hilarious comedy “Noises off.”
Do an at-home “cultural night” themed around different nationalities. For example, drink tea while watching The Importance of Being Earnest (or Pride and Prejudice if you want to win her heart forever). Eat gyros as you enjoy My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Cook arroz con pollo while watching Dirty Dancing.
On that note, did I mention how much fun it is to cook a meal together?
Off the Beaten Path
Just like they do in 500 Days of Summer, go explore Ikea. Seriously fun.
If you live in a cool (read: reasonably safe) city, hop on public transportation and get off at a random stop where you’ve never been. Then wander around and explore!
Grab a group of friends and play hide and seek all over campus.
Sign up to do service work together. It’s a great way to see what her character is really like.
Have a game night with some friends. Everyone loves playing Charades.
If all else fails, procure a copy of The Onion’s Atlas of the World or Monty Python and the Holy Grail and go read/watch it together. You’ll both cry with laughter. If she doesn’t think it’s funny, remind yourself that the purpose of dating is to discover those differences and then go find yourself another girl to ask out.
Men, I hope you find this helpful. Now go work up your courage and ask out your crush! Have a great weekend!