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The Best Budget-Friendly Date Ideas to Spice Up Your College Relationship

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Holy Cross chapter.

So, this is my first semester having a boyfriend here at Holy Cross. And to be totally honest, it’s been pretty great. However, something that my boyfriend and I grapple with is the seemingly repetitive, mundane lifestyle that we have here. Whenever we want to spend time together, we usually do one of the following: hang out in one another’s dorm room, grab a quick meal in Kimball in between classes, or do homework together in Dinand. While I obviously have fun doing these things with him, I sometimes feel like the quality of the time we spend together while on campus isn’t the best. However, we are typical college students. We’re swamped with our own responsibilities, tight on cash, and aren’t looking to go out to a nice dinner anytime we want to spend time off-campus together. It’s definitely taken us both getting VERY creative to figure out budget-friendly and original ways that we can spend time together. But I figured why not share the wealth, so here’s my take.

Get Takeout from your favorite local restaurants

If you’re a foodie and have narrowed down your favorite spots in Worcester like I have, this one is a no brainer. Even if it’s something basic like Chipotle, getting away from Kimball’s repetitive menu isn’t always the worst thing in the world. My boyfriend and I love to take advantage of the BOGO nights at Volturno’s and split the cost, so it ends up being super cheap. And, you get some kick a** pizza too! Some other amazing spots I love are Baba Sushi, Nu Kitchen, The Flying Rhino, and Boulevard Diner. How could you complain about this one? Good food, quality time with you S/O, and supporting local businesses!

Commit to watching a movie series (but Actually watch them)

I know you’re all thinking what I’m thinking… who actually watches movies with their S/O? But hear me out! While this may seem super typical, picking a movie series to commit to is really fun. My boyfriend and I randomly decided to watch all of The Hunger Games movies recently, because we both hadn’t watched them since they came out. And let me tell you, who knew that a 20-year-old guy could be SO passionate about the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. He’s trying to convince me to watch all the Stars Wars movies with him next because we enjoyed our first attempt at this so much! It’s something to commit to, and definitely a way to spice up something that seems boring on the surface.

go bowling

I don’t know about you, but I love bowling. Every time I’ve gone, whether I’m with friends or family, I always have a blast. And, if you ask any college-aged guy to go bowling, I’m 99% sure they would say yes. If you split the cost of the bowling round, and each cover your shoe rental, the cost really shouldn’t be too high. Also, a lot of bowling alleys in the area have weekly specials on certain days with special discounts. Either way, it’s something fun to do off-campus and won’t break the bank.

Go hiking

While the weather is starting to become a little too cold for my liking, there are lots of local hiking trails that stay open all year round! A lot of the time, state parks don’t have a cost for entry, and you can spend the entire day there. As long as you bundle up in your warmest winter gear, I think getting outside can be a fun way to spend a day with your S/O.

Buy Cheap woo sox tickets

While baseball season is very much over, I think this would make a really fun date when the spring rolls around. Back in September, my friends and I got $9 general admissions tickets to a Woo Sox game and had such a great time. If you were looking for actual seats, I’m sure you could find some for cheap as well. Either way, baseball games are always a safe option when looking for something that both parties will enjoy.

HIt up your local thrift shops

While this may not be for everyone, I have dragged my boyfriend to countless trips to our local Savers. While we’ve usually gone to look for outfits for Catalina and Halloweekend, we still had fun browsing the racks and finding funky pieces for one another. To spice it up even more, give each other $20 and pick out outfits for one another using the cash, and see whose outfit is best. This won’t cost you much, but it’s still something fun to do!

holiday themed – hot cocoa + holiday lights drive

While I’m personally reserving this activity for my girlfriends, I think this would be a super fun and inexpensive date idea for the holidays! If one of you has a car, swing by a local Dunkin’ or Starbucks and pick up some hot chocolates. Blast the Christmas music on the radio and drive around local neighborhoods. Or better yet, find one of those Christmas light installations in a town near us. My friends and I are planning to drive through a local Christmas lights installation in Bolton, MA this weekend. However, I think this would be SUCH a cute date idea.

Cassie Smith is a current Psychology major with a minor in Rhetoric & Composition at Holy Cross. When she'd not spending her time working for HerCampus, she's catching up with friends, graphic designing on her iPad, or perfectly organizing her Pinterest boards and Spotify playlists.