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Autumn is, in my opinion, the most picturesque season; the leaves all change color, with a nice balance of yellow, orange, and red everywhere you look. It’s the perfect time to cozy up with your significant other and have fun. We only have a few weeks left before finals take over our lives. So, here are some cute, fun date ideas that don’t put a dent in your wallet. 

Disposable Camera Photoshoot

Put on a cute outfit, grab your significant other, and head to one of Boulder’s many instagramable spots, like Chautauqua and Pearl Street Mall, or take the drive up to the mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park. You can even go to places on CU’s campus, like Farrand Field, Varsity Pond, or, if you’re a book nerd like me, inside of Norlin Library. 

Disposable cameras use film, which means that you can’t see the picture you’ve taken until you’ve developed them. What I love about this is that you are forced to live in the moment —you can’t retake a picture a hundred times and you can’t erase any of them. Instead, you smile and pray you didn’t blink. 

Disposable cameras are $12.99 at Target, developing film can be done at any Walgreens or CVS for around $14.99, including a CD with digital copies. So, for less than $30, you and your significant other can have an afternoon of fun and immortalize those moments in pictures. 

DIY T-Shirts

Get messy and let your creativity run wild by upcycling your closet. It’s fun and great for the environment —you can use an old shirt or thrift a “new” one. Instead of tie-dying a shirt, paint it like it’s a canvas. You can do each other’s, do that TikTok trend and switch every few minutes, or simply sit together and paint. 

You can use a stencil or free-hand a design. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. To make your colors pop, especially when using dark-colored shirts, I suggest painting your first layer white or bleaching it. 

A regular T-shirt at Goodwill can be anywhere between $0.99 to $5.00, fabric paint is $1.97 per color at Walmart (or you can use acrylics, which can be less than $10 anywhere). 

Halfway through the semester, and with midterms around the corner, I’m sure we all need a moment to relax and de-stress, so why not spend an afternoon painting with your significant other? 

At Home Movie Night

Be it a Marvel Marathon or a RomCom or whatever movie you’ve wanted to see but haven’t been able to, make a night out of it. It can be super simple: setting up snacks or ordering take-out and snuggling on the couch; or it can be a little more produced: set up blankets and pillows in the back/trunk of your car, getting snacks, downloading a movie onto your tablet or iPad, and parking at a lookout or empty lot somewhere. The latter is my favorite to do because you can get out of the house, be in nature and chill with a movie —all without spending $50 at a theatre. 

If you want to watch a relatively new movie but don’t want to rent it from Amazon, RedBox has practically every movie showing in theatres, and then some, for $2 a night. 

Cook With or For Each Other

Although it can be intimidating, cooking can be super fun and lighthearted, and very affordable. You can find simple recipes in any place, but Pinterest is my personal favorite. You can find hundreds of recipes, from all over the world, and they’re relatively easy to make. 

You can make it romantic by setting the table nice and fancy, pulling out the nice cutlery, and lighting a candle or two. Or, you can make it laid back, with a simple meal and sitting in the living room while watching a movie or getting drunk on wine. 

Whether you want to stay inside or go out, you can still have a great time without putting a dent in your wallet. 

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Mariana Bastias

CU Boulder '25

“It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it.” -Oscar Wilde. I’m finding my place in a world that is changing faster than anyone can keep up with. Raised in Santiago, Chile, and settled in Boulder, CO, I’m an aspiring novelist with a passion for words, arts, and life’s idiosyncrasies.
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