When my now husband and I first started dating, I was a graduate student, and he was an undergraduate. We were both broke, but we didn’t let that stop us. We spent nine months mostly going on free dates before we became engaged. If you’re short on cash, don’t let that interfere with your dating life. Instead, follow these creative dating tips when broke and go out and enjoy life. Who said dating has to be expensive?
Free Date Ideas
You may be under the misconception that dating is expensive, and it can be—if you let it. But there are still fabulous ways to spend time together that are free or cost very little and are fun.
Why not take a scenic drive and explore the area around you? We enjoy this most when the leaves are changing in the fall, and the scenery is gorgeous. But a scenic drive can be fun no matter the season.
If you live near a college town, see if they have any free performances. Colleges frequently have free music concerts. Some towns also have free plays in the summer or free movie viewings outdoors in the park.
One of our regular summer dates was a music concert the college held every Wednesday night. We got to spend time together, listen to good music, and, best of all, not spend any money!
Trip to the Beach
You can hit the beach for some daytime relaxation and fun. Or, for a more romantic date, try going to the beach an hour before sunset. There’s nothing better on a summer night than walking the beach, feeling the cool breeze, and watching the sunset.
Hiking can give you a chance to see how adventurous the other person is and to see how he or she handles difficulty if you take a more challenging trail. Or, you can opt to take an easier trail and have fun seeing the scenery and spending time together in nature.
Take your sweetie on an adventure. Geocaching is a free treasure hunt about which some people are almost cultish. Using GPS, find the nearby coordinates and the treasure that someone else has hidden.
You both have to eat, so why not cook together? This activity gives you a chance to see how you work together as a team and delegate responsibility, plus you get to eat something that’s (hopefully) tasty after all of your hard work. If you have a good few hours to spend on preparation, you could even turn it into a little romantic restaurant-style dinner at home. You can get dressed up, perhaps with your favorite perfume (plus some extra True Pheromones to make yourself even more appealing), set a beautiful table with candles, flowers, etc., and recreate a special meal that the two of you have had in the past.
If you have a bit of money to spend, you can make cooking together more of an adventure by buying a meal kit like HelloFresh. If you can’t afford that, Blue Apron has all of its recipes online for free. Just buy the ingredients you need.
Eat2Explore has boxes that include recipes for three meals from another country. Each box has directions, the sauces and spices you need, and a little bit of information about the country. You supply the ingredient. We’ve used several of these boxes and enjoyed trying foods from other countries.
My husband and I cooked together at least two or three times a week when we were dating. We both still like to cook, but now we take shifts—one cooks, one does the dishes. We figure when the kids are grown, we’ll have more time to cook together like we did when we were dating.
If you live in the country, there’s something so romantic about putting down a blanket, lying together on your backs, and watching the stars. Of course, it’s fun to find constellations, but many times, if you stay there long enough, you can even see a shooting star or two. Plus, the stillness and the beauty of the night sky make for a very memorable date.
Go to a Museum
Many museums have one or two days a month when admission is free. Just be prepared that if you go during this time, the museum will likely be packed.
Some libraries also offer culture passes. These can be checked out and used for free admission to museums in your area. If you use these, you can go for free without dealing with the overcrowding that the one free day a month usually brings.
While the free dating tips when broke can supply you with many great dating ideas, there may be times when you want to go out and spend a little money. These fun date ideas don’t cost much money.
Go Out for Dessert
While getting an entire meal together at a restaurant might be a bit pricey if you’re broke, you can share a dessert for a fraction of the cost. For example, a Caramel Apple Blondie from Applebee’s is only $6.99. Or, their Brownie Bite is just $1.99. Plus, many of these desserts are so large, they’re like a meal in themselves.
Going to a coffee shop can be the perfect, intimate date. You can chat and focus on one another while sipping a beverage.
If you’re bookworms, you could get your drink at a bookstore coffee shop and spend an hour or two perusing good books and discussing them. My husband and I loved this type of date. We frequently went to coffee shops from the start of our relationship until after our first child was born.
Though you’ll have to pay for the supplies, that will likely be the only expense when painting together. If you’re both artistic, you could try to paint on your own with no direction. However, if one or both of you are artistically challenged, there’s no shortage of YouTube tutorials to watch. For instance, you can now find many of the PBS Bob Ross tutorials on YouTube.
Being short on cash doesn’t has to kill your love life. If you use some of these creative dating tips when broke, you can continue to enjoy spending time with your romantic interest in a way that doesn’t leave you with even less money. The most important aspect is being together. Doing that doesn’t have to be expensive or boring.
Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in New York, where she loves the natural beauty of the area.