By Elaine Wilson
While embarking into my college adventures, my parents and I had a deep discussion about budget and set some hefty goals for saving money while away from home: $200 a month; $50 for groceries, $40 for gas, $110 dollars for miscellaneous expenses. So in an ideal situation, if I wanted to do something fun, I would have a lot of wiggle room. But let me also remind you that I have a raging coffee addiction and an insatiable love for pizza, which should come out of my miscellaneous expenses. That doesn’t leave a ton of room for if I were meet someone and want to go on a date, and the guy’s budget may be stricter than mine. So what options do I have for a fun and exciting date outside of just roaming campus aimlessly?
Now let me disclose, before I get into the nitty-gritty of dating on a budget, that I haven’t been on a date in quite a while. However, this time that I have spent NOT dating has led to many times that I have been able to dream up of imaginary date scenarios of which I could afford, along with previous high-school dating experiences in which I didn’t have an income.
The Walmart Movie and Chinese Take-Out Date.
Have you ever found yourself digging through the five-dollar movie bin in Walmart? This is an adventurous way to shake up the dinner-and-a-movie concept. You can even checkout Redbox for an even cheaper movie option, so long as you return the movie on time. And though Chinese food isn’t always the cheapest option, it’s also super sharable which can cut down the expenses significantly if your date is willing to share orange chicken and chow-mein.
Total date cost: about $15
Coffee at the Café Date
As long as you can resist buying a bagel, muffin, and biscotti on the side, this option still can keep the date low-budget and allows for a trendy atmosphere that will easily stimulate conversation.
Total date cost: about $9
Beginning of Spring Picnic Date
Grab a blanket from your room, make some PBJs, and you are set. No need to spend the big bucks on fancy cheeses and wines for a good time, and this is a date you can still keep on campus.
Total date cost: $5
It’s Football Night in America Date
Now I may be biased because I’m a huge sports fan, but this sounds like the perfect date to me. Going to a sporting event together or watching the game in the student union building costs nothing as a student. Be sure to sneak in some small snacks and a water so you aren’t tempted to buy concessions (I know the policy at my school is that the water has to be a bought, unopened water bottle to pass through the gates).
Total date cost: $2 if you buy 2 water bottles.
It takes some creativity to date on a budget, but it is not impossible. Mix it up and see what you can come up with!