It’s no secret that most college students can barely scrape together enough money for books and food. This dilemma forces them to be as creative, and more importantly, economical as possible when it comes to dating. Unlike doing laundry and buying cleaning products, dating is not something that can be easily sacrificed amongst the college crowd, as it is a central part of collegiate life
Here are a few ideas for dating on a budget:
- Take advantage of Mother Nature. One idea for students trying to create a magical date on a small budget is to have an outdoor picnic, take a hike or stroll through a park, tube along a river or relaxing relax on the beach.
"You can never go wrong with a picnic," says Andrew Greer, a 20-year-old junior and aviation major at the Middle of Tennessee State University. "I’ve taken many dates on picnics and girls always think it’s very romantic. And it doesn’t matter what food you take. Even if you make sandwiches, they’re always impressed you took time to make a meal."
- Coffee anyone? AskMen.com suggests taking a date to a coffee house, preferably one that provides free refills, and spend the night getting better acquainted with one another. The website highly recommends visiting coffeehouses for a first date.
- Use your surfing skills. CitySearch.com is an excellent resource for free events happening in cities across the country. The website not only lists the events in each area, but also ranks and critiques them as well. For example, the website suggests that students attending college in Richmond, Va. spend an evening walking the grounds of Maymont, a 100-acre estate filled with romantic pathways and gardens, while students 21 and over in Jacksonville, Fla. can tour the Anheuser-Busch Brewery and receive free beer samples. The only money you’ll need for these activities is for travel expenses.
- Maybe you can get lucky… Another idea is to take advantage of radio station giveaways, which can include concert tickets to some of the area’s most highly anticipated shows.
"Winning concert tickets is the best way to make a date think you’ve spent a lot of money when you really haven’t spent a dime," says Robby Bursey, a 19-year-old junior and advertising major at Radford University. "Especially if it’s for a concert that’s been sold out for months."
- For the not so lucky… For students not fortunate enough to win any contests, many radio stations, especially those in large cities, host free concerts. Radio station DC 101 in Washington, D.C. provides free concerts each Saturday evening during the summer in downtown D.C., with such notable headlining acts as G. Love & Special Sauce, Better Than Ezra and Cake. A picnic beforehand and a daylong date can be spent at practically no cost, says Bursey.
- Check out the campus scene. "Many colleges offer lots of free activities," says Greer. "Such as lectures, readings, movies, dances, barbeques; lots of different things. Students should check their college’s Web page to find a calendar of events and take advantage of what’s offered."
Forking out cash for dates is a problem the majority of the population is faced with, not just college students. But when it comes to decorating a dorm room, coming-up with an excuse to miss an exam or trying to impress a date without exceeding a double-digit budget, students will stretch not only their wallets, but their minds as well, in order to ensure a cheap, but worthwhile, evening.