My little brother confided in me that having a girlfriend is squeezing his budget. When he was in college, she often picked up the tab. But now that he has his degree and is working, it’s his turn to take her out. “Eating out is expensive!” he told me. Um, yeah.
Part of the problem is that because of their work schedules, the evening is the only time they can get together. In my budget for a new college grad I allotted $20/week for fun and $30/week for food. That is not enough to eat out every night. So how are two twenty-somethings to find fun without spending a lot? I brainstormed this list of 9 dates.
1. Get a Netflix subscription for $10.69 per month, including tax. This “one DVD at a time” subscription gives you about 3-6 DVDs per month, depending on how quick you watch and return each disc. The two of you can fill your Netflix queue with movies and TV shows you pick together. Cost: $2.50 per week.
2. Get moving. Pull on your sweats and go for a run together. Nothing like seeing your sweetheart break a sweat to drum up romantic tension. If you don’t run, try another type of exercise like, biking, swimming, or Ultimate frisbee. Cost: free.
3. Go on a night hike. Experiencing a park at night is a completely different than seeing it during the day. Leave your flashlight off and let your eyes adjust. Can you believe how many sounds your ears hear? Make sure the park is open after dusk and that you know the trails well. Cost: free.
4. Find an art gallery opening. Free snacks, wine, and music are par for the course at galleries opening a new art show. Dress neatly and make a game of window shopping for art. If you had the money, what one piece would you buy? Where would you put it in your house? What was the artist trying to accomplish? Cost: gas to get there.
5. Go out for dessert. Pick up scoops of ice cream instead of going out for dinner. Or better yet, pick up a pint at the grocer and split it at a park or the beach. Cost: $6.
6. Free museum night. Most museums open their doors to the public for free one night a month. Find out which night it is and make a date. Cost: gas to get there.
7. Volunteer together. Finding a place to volunteer in the evening may be challenging, but ask around your local pet shelters or library. Cost: gas to get there.
8. Game night. Invite friends over to play board or video games. Provide a few snacks, like chips and nuts. Cost: $5.
How do you take out your sweetie without going overboard?