Adulting, College Life, Dating, Relationships

Cute and Cost Effective Date Ideas Just In Time For Valentine’s Day

cost effective date ideas

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s spring editorial intern Selma Dizdarevic. Find her on Instagram at @_s3lma. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

In the spirit of it being less than a month until Valentine’s Day, I’ve been scouring the internet for cute new date ideas for my partner and me. But, if you’re a college student like I am, you know that blowing money on dates all of the time just isn’t realistic. Whether you’re looking to ask someone new on a first date, or are in a long-term relationship and want to keep the flame alive, it can be tough to plan something fun while balling on a budget. We totally get the struggle, so that’s why we’ve come up with five cost effective date ideas that won’t break the bank (or anybody’s heart!)

Hit Up A Local Bookstore

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Maybe this is just the English major in me talking, but there is nothing like walking through aisles of books with a cup of coffee in your hand and your person by your side. Bookstores are the perfect spots to wander for hours talking about all the books you’ve read and the ones on your to-be-read list. This makes a great date because you can learn a lot about someone based on the kinds of books they like AND it costs nothing, unless you’re like me and you just can’t walk into a bookstore without bringing something home for your bookshelf (Don’t say I didn’t warn you!).

Take Your Muse To A Museum

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If you’re S/O is a work of art, let them know by planning a date at a museum. This is a perfect date idea if you love the thought of unplugging from the world and enjoying peace and quiet with your favorite person. If it’s a first date and you’re feeling nervous about it, it’ll be hard for you and your date to run out of things to talk about because museums are packed with things just waiting to be explored. And fortunately for your wallet, many museums have low-cost entrance fees, so you get to save money, spend time with your special someone, and enjoy some seriously amazing art.

Pick a Picnic

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If you have a flair for the romantic, plan a picnic for you and your date at a park. This is one of the most classic and low-budget date ideas out there. All you need is a blanket big enough to lay on, some wine (sparkling if you’re underage) and small things to snack on, like fruits, cheese and crackers (think charcuterie board!) Bonus points if you can find a spot overlooking the sunset or a nice view. Regardless, picnic dates are affordable, intimate and relaxing. It might look super simple, but trust us, you’ll be sure to romance your way into a second date with this idea.

Write To Each Other

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This date idea is for all the sentimental romantics out there. Opt for a quiet night in with your s/o and write each other a love-dovey poem or a letter. If you express yourself better in writing, this is a great way to communicate how you feel for someone. It’s a free, cute and intimate way to bond with your lover on a deeper level and is enough to help strengthen any relationship. So, grab a pen, channel your inner Shakespeare, and confess all the feels for your favorite person.

Take a Hike (Straight Into Someone’s Heart)

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POV: You’re trying to come up with a date idea with someone who loves the outdoors, being in nature or being active in general. If this is you, a good option would be to go for a hike! First, your outdoorsy person will notice that you care about their interests, guaranteeing you another date. Second, it’s a free way to get some gorgeous views. And, pro-tip, pick an easier trail that you won’t have you all breathless and sweaty. That way, you can still manage to hold up a conversation during the hike and get to know your date just as if you were talking with them at an expensive, candlelit dinner.

Did you like these cost effective date ideas? Do you have any more ideas for low-cost dates? Let us know in the comments below!

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