Dating in college has the potential to be a lot of fun, but for many students, the worry it can create over money cuts into the enjoyment factor.
If you’re a student who isn’t flush with cash, how are you supposed to woo a potential sweetheart without adding to the debt you’re probably already taking on?
Money can seem like both a path and an obstacle, but if you get creative, it doesn’t have to be either. Avoid the concerns of money entirely, or at least, lessen its importance, with these tips for dating in college without going into debt.
Stick to Your Financial Guns
First things first: don’t give up on sticking to your budget just because someone has turned your head. By throwing caution to the wind in order to have a good time, now, you’re just borrowing trouble that will have to be repaid later — and it will have to be repaid with interest. Sure, there are some people who don’t know how to have a good time without spending a ton of money.
If you aren’t one of them, and you hope never to be one, then not being able to afford to date someone for whom money makes the world go ’round is more a blessing than a curse. Arguments over money are the number one cause of stress in relationships. By sticking to your budget while dating in college, then, you’re ensuring the people you date have similar values in relation to spending money — something that will help reduce stress in a marriage or partnership down the road.
Aim (Monetarily) Low
That being said, you don’t have to forego spending money entirely. There are plenty of options that cost a little money, and that’s the beauty of them: they cost a little. Like this list at Top10BestDatingSites.com shows, it’s creativity that counts. Just set yourself a reasonable limit, and you can find plenty of ways to enjoy going out with someone without giving yourself a money headache.
Go see a matinee movie. Share some half-price appetizers during happy hour at a local restaurant. Go to the grocery store and pick up ingredients for cookies, then spend the afternoon making them together. Limitations can help create opportunities for fun and for getting to know someone in ways that having plenty of money cannot.
Another great way to date in college without going into debt is to find ways to spend time together that your grandparents would have enjoyed. Besides the fact that old-fashioned fun carries enough nostalgia to also feel incredibly romantic, the types of fun your grandparents would have enjoyed back when they were your age actually allows for people to get to know each other more easily, because they tend not to be centered on media that takes you out of the present.
So, go on long walks. Meet in the library to study together. Go grab a coffee, or feed the ducks. You’ll save a lot of money, and you’ll quickly discover more than you thought possible about the person you’re with.
Free Culture Abounds
Free culture abounds — especially when you’re in college. Take in a men’s or women’s basketball game. Go listen to the choir when they perform Handel’s Messiah in December.
Never miss a theater department performance. College life is teeming with interesting and free-to-cheap cultural opportunities. So long as you stay informed about what different departments, groups, and people are up to, you and your dates will never want for something to do.
Even if you go to college in a big city, choosing to spend time with a date in nature is an option. Take the train or a bus out of the city and go hiking in a preserve that’s relatively close by. If your school is close to the ocean or another large body of water, get up early and catch the sunrise over the waves.
Nature can afford so many chances to make memories and connect with someone, whether you enjoy hiking, mountain biking, swimming, camping, or reading. Simply get outside and share it with the person you’re dating.
Dating in college doesn’t have to create financial stress.
Follow these tips, and you can have a great time that you won’t still be paying off years after you graduate.
photo credit: Phonar Task. By Amber Nichols and Daisy Ware-Jarrett via photopin (license)