When you’re a fresh college graduate, elaborate dinners and weekend getaways may feel a little out of reach — but does that mean you can’t enjoy a good date night when the weekend comes? Thankfully, no, it doesn’t. In fact, there are plenty of ways to have fun and get out with that special someone that won’t break the bank. Want proof? Below, consider some of the best, most affordable date ideas for postgrads!
Attend Free Events
Museums have free weekends, and cities have summer movie nights — why not take advantage of them with your date? To make the experience a little more special, get dressed up and/or pack special snacks to bring with you when you go. Even when an event is free, it doesn’t have to feel cheap, so plan ahead to make it memorable.
Cooking in the kitchen together stimulates all your senses and lets you experience the fun of working together to make something delicious. Discuss the menu ahead of time, set the table with candles and feast on a meal you’ve spent the night cooking as a team.
Pack a Picnic
Eating outside on a beautiful day is a priceless experience that lets you enjoy the outdoors and each other for just the cost of the food you pack. Whether you make a bunch of finger foods ahead of time or stop by the grocery store together to load up on snacks, a picnic is always a classic date activity.
Catch a Matinee
Just because you can’t spend $20 on a movie night doesn’t mean you can’t catch a good flick you’re dying to see. Check your local theaters for matinee rates and plan an afternoon date to cut costs. Often, matinee rates are significantly cheaper — sometimes even half the costs — of traditional tickets.
When you want a date day that will stretch your muscles as well as your stamina, try planning an activity like hiking at the forest preserve, swimming in a local creek or cruising community bike trails. Working up a good sweat together is a great bonding experience that’s as beneficial for your overall health as it is for your relationship.
Go Out for Coffee
It’s not terribly original, but grabbing coffee is an inexpensive way to get out and spend time together without spending a fortune. Similar options would include going out for ice cream, juices, desserts or pastries at a local bakery.
Take a page from your childhood and pull out the board games, popcorn and homemade cookies for a good, old-fashioned game night with your date.
Turn up the heat by creating your own spa getaway — take turns giving each other massages alongside candles, essential oils and soothing music. As your muscles unwind, so will your emotions, giving you both the recharge you need after a long week.
Enjoy the high of helping others by taking a day to volunteer in your area. Whether you serve meals at a food pantry, hang out with folks in a nursing home or clean a local park, when you do something to benefit others, you’ll usually come away feeling pretty inspired.
Act Like Tourists
Pretend you’re on vacation in your hometown and see local attractions like war memorials, battlegrounds, sculptures and other landmarks. Take photos and grab light snacks somewhere while you’re out. Sometimes just treating a town like a new destination is enough to make it feel freshly enjoyable.
When it comes to cheap date ideas, the sky’s the limit if you’ll think a little creatively and learn to be flexible. In fact, many of the best date nights revolve around unexpectedly running into a festival or a signing and being willing to go with the flow. Let the above ideas get your own creative juices flowing and think of fun ways to get out and enjoy time together that don’t have to cost a bundle. You may be surprised at what you discover when you do!
Article written by Mark Westerman
Mark Westerman is the Chief Marketing Officer for CareOne, Inc., a nationwide provider of debt relief services.
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