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8 affordable date ideas

Varty Yahjian headshot

Varty Yahjian

Rockstar marketing intern

Sometimes, a Michelin-starred wine and dine isn’t the best way to go about planning your date. Moreover, setting the bar that high may not be good for your wallet’s overall health. There’s nothing better than a sweet, thoughtful date that’s memorable and doesn’t feel like it’s taking a bite out of your bank account. Time is what you should be excited about spending, not money! Here are ten date ideas that you and your significant other will love:

1) Camping in your backyard

Camping is a great way to connect with your wild side and test your survival instincts. If you can’t get to a free campsite because you’re pressed on time or don’t desire the drive, you can mimic the experience in the comfortable wilderness of your yard! The only real cost to you would be a tent -- you can use your phone as a flashlight, scour your kitchen for snacks or pop over to the local gas station store, and finally, collect blankets and pillows from your house! It’s super romantic and makes for a great cuddle space. You can even elevate the experience and get creative by downloading a movie or series off Netflix. Here are some fun backyard activities and tips to plan your “trip” like a pro.

2) Stand-up comedy

Sometimes the best kind of entertainment comes in the form of a $15 open mic at the local comedy club. Sure, the chances that this newbie is the next Dave Chapelle are slim, but if anything you can laugh at how lame his jokes are. Also, most comedy clubs will offer you a deal with admission -- who doesn’t love $5 off margaritas on a Thursday night?

3) Go to the museum

Nothing says “I really enjoy hanging out with you” like a few hours spent walking through silent rooms of artwork or artifacts and communicating through whispers and glances. Plus, that scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with Sloan in the museum is perfect...who wouldn’t want to recreate that? While some museums do operate on a steeper price, there are several free options and most, if not all, museums offer student discounts. Here's a website that organizes the best museums by state.

4) Cheer on a local baseball team

Not all of us can afford a trip to the stadium during the final round of the World Series. Most of us, however do love the environment: The hot dogs, cheering, and wearing the same color as the other fans. While you may not get to see the Cubs, you can still head over to the park and catch the local little league semifinals. Chances are someone’s mom will be handing out snacks to spectators in the stands, and if not, you can always load up on your own food and recreate your own version of nachos with this chips ‘n’ dip platter perfect for two. You can still cheer for the team you want and you’ll spend some time outside. Maybe you can have a picnic after! Which brings us to our next date idea…

5) Plan a picnic

If you live in the city, sometimes it’s nice to get away from bustle and spend time in a communal area that isn’t the office or public transportation. Picnics are a great way to get creative and show your ability to plan ahead and prepare. Thoughtfulness will get you far! Pack your picnic basket with your favorite wine, cheese and sandwiches or buy a pre-packed set from a local vendor. So go ahead, lay your blanket down and spend an afternoon counting clouds and enjoying each other’s company.

6) Arcade night

Arcade games are a classic win-win. There’s a reason every eighties movie referenced the arcade as the place to be; the lights, sounds and questionable smells all somehow work together to create a unique experience only elevated by nostalgia. All you need are a few dollars for admission and some quarters to play. You can finally use the coins that have been sitting on your bedside table after your last fast food run and can race your partner without needing to get in a real car and actually risk your lives. Indulge in a slice of arcade pizza if you’re feeling adventurous!

7) Find a drive-in movie theater

In an age where movie theaters charge upwards of $20 for a packed theater and overpriced concessions, the drive-in has become a hidden gem. Where fifty years ago it was the place to be, today you’ll have to do some searching to find a drive-in movie theater. Worry not, though! Most cities have arts programming and someone is always attempting to revive the drive-in concept. If you really can’t find one, try the drive-in’s sibling: the outdoor movie screening!

8) A leisurely bike ride

A bike ride through some residential streets or if you live near the beach or in a wooded area, a nice bike path, can be both exhilarating and relaxing for everyone. It’s a great way to see the city and you’re bound to find some gems you didn’t see out of your car. Plus, you’ll be doing the environment a favor! Renting a bicycle is affordable if you don’t own one, most places won’t charge more than $20 for hours of fun.