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Toronto, Canada

312 Adelaide Street West, Suite 301
Toronto, Ontario - M5V 1R2
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Dating on a Dime: Cheap Date Ideas for Broke Students

Written by Brianne Cail

Let’s face it: Dating is–and will probably always be–expensive. A movie ticket costs how much now? (*passes out) Most students aren’t exactly making it rain, but with a little creativity, you can go forth and swipe right without breaking the bank.

See, there’s a difference between being a cheap date and going on a cheap date. And there is nothing wrong with trying to save a few dollars while impressing that cutie from class.

Save a few dollars and keep the summer love strong with these cheap date ideas!

Get into Festival Season

I’m not talking about the big music festivals like WayHome. Hey, if you can take a date there then all the power to you–that’s impressive and your date will probably think so too.

But the smaller city festivals will work better with spending goals, and there’s no shortage in the summer.

Street festivals are full of free concerts, yummy food, people watching and tons of entertainment. And these days, there seems to be one to suit every person you want to win the heart of: dog festivals for the pet lovers, beer, wine (even rosé) and cider for those who drink, food for the foodies…you name it!

You could stick to your city or throw a road trip into the date and head to a little town nearby. It’ll be much cheaper than trying do dinner, drinks and a concert.

Take Advantage of Student Discounts

Student discounts are something you’ll truly miss when you’re graduated, and you should look into some of the great deals that make solid date nights.

Different venues like museums and theatres often have student nights that get you a serious discount or sometimes even a free night out. Sure, it might not be a Friday or Saturday, but there’s nothing bad about a mid-week date to spice things up.

No Shame in the Coupon Game

Next time you get a coupon in the mail, pop it on into your wallet with pride. Paying for a whole date with a coupon might seem cheap to some, but I’m all for it if it’s a sweet deal.

A lot of businesses will use free or a percent off, or even a two-for-one as a way to drum up excitement for events, new menus, and product launches. Sure, some are food-related, but if you’re lucky you could get a free tour of a local brewery which is entertaining and then some free drinks tossed in!

It’s an amazing way to try new things while saving money, and if your date is saying no to two-for-one appetizers? Well, maybe you need a new date.

 Date with a Cause

Nothing warms a heart more than volunteering for a great cause!

If you and your current bae have a soft spot for helping others, why not make a day out of it? Spend the day at an animal shelter, volunteer at a fundraiser, or help out at a local shelter.

You’ll get some quality time in together, learn about new causes and that whole feeling you get after helping someone? Feels a million times better when you’re with someone you care about.

 The Great Outdoors

The cheapest of cheap dates because it is free at any time of the year. And there are endless options here, all of which your date and bank account will love.

It’s nice to have a date every now and then that doesn’t require a lot of getting ready and planning, and escaping the usual buzz of the city will do wonders for any school stress you have.

You can go old school and pack a picnic and head to a park or beach, enjoy the sun, and relax. Bonus points if you bring along a classic board game. Snakes and Ladders anyone?

If you are an active pair, you can take a hike to get some views that you wouldn’t typically see (and also a super adorable Instagram pic) or rent something to try together like a tandem bicycle. Normal bicycles are totally acceptable, and not as potentially disastrous of a date idea too. Ride on lovers!

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.