Do you ever have those moments when you are watching your favorite rom-com or soapie and wish you could be wined and dined like Carrie Bradshaw? No? Just us? Anyways, the struggle has never been more real than in the dating world as a broke girl. To make things easier for you, we’ve made a list of all of the best, and fanciest, date ideas that will make you feel like the luckiest girl in the room, but without putting you in debt.
1. Bring the date to your place
There is one major and obvious way to save money—staying in with your date. But just because you don’t leave the house doesn’t mean you have to settle for Netflix & chill. To shake things up and keep it classy and cheap, invite your partner over for a night in. Clean up your kitchen and make it look fancy—set the table, put out some clean dishes and throw on some heels. When you’re done, it won’t even look like you stayed home to cook. You can have an amazing time together by wearing your best and cooking a romantic dinner together. To make it even better, light some candles and make some DIY cocktails.
2. Go to a museum and dessert
In the world we live in, there are very few things that are free. One of the best is art museums, especially if you are student. Whip out your ID card and spend a night with Van Gogh. A perfect date night includes your best outfit, a date and a cozy night in a museum. You save money and you don’t actually have to talk much, which he may say he hates, but we know he secretly loves it… well, maybe. Just remember that there are other museums besides ones that involve staring at a painting for two hours. Make sure to look into history museums, science museums and other interactive exhibits. It’s important to find something that both of you enjoy. As well, to make things even better, you can head out for wine and dessert and discuss what inspired you, whether it was a Monet or a monkey. You save money by getting in for free so you can spend more on ~ChOcOlAtE~.
3. Make Groupon your best friend
You may have scowled at your mother when she suggested you do this five years ago, but now you’ll thank her. Groupon is a website that has the best coupons and deals for everything that you could possibly imagine. From a three-course meal to couples massages, you can get the fanciest stuff for way less than retail price. Interested in salsa dancing? Done. Feeling like going to a wine tasing? Done. Groupon has anything and everything that you could possibly imagine that leave you feeling like you own the world (without spending the world). Jennifer, a junior at Columbia University, says, “For my two year anniversary with my boyfriend, we decided to try something new and get a Groupon for two at a super fancy steak house. We got three courses and wine all for $25 a person and it was absolultely perfect. For what we got it should have been at least $40 each but because of the deal, it was perfect. I would do it again in a heartbeat.” Much like Jennifer, other students say that using groupon is a “cheap” and “fabulous” way to save money and stay classy.
4. Enjoy a picnic in the park
You may have seen it in all the movies and thought that it was so cheesy, but there really is nothing better, or cheaper, than a picnic. Pack a bag with all of your favorite foods, grab your date and find a nice cozy spot in a park to sit and chat. Bonus points if you pretend like you’re in the 1960s and wear an era themed dress—just don’t forget the wine opener! You save money by not going out and most times you already have all the food you need in your house. You would be surprised at how upscale mac and cheese feels when you eat it on a pretty plate outdoors! Plus you get to feel like you are in your favorite romantic comedy and what really could be better? Nothing.
5. Drink champagne under the stars
There is one thing that happens every night (most times) that does not cost any money to look at: the stars. Grab a blanket and a bottle of champagne (cheapest if you get the $5 stuff from Trader Joe’s) and hit the road with your date. Find a nice overlook on a clear night and relax and enjoy the moment. There is nothing more romantic than a night sky and someone you care about. It makes you feel like you’re worth a million bucks, but without actually spending that much. Ushaia, a sophomore at New York University, says, “I surprised my girlfriend and took her to a local park to star gaze after a night of cooking in. She was so happy that we got to spend time together outside of our apartment but also super excited that I went the extra mile and brought a bottle of sparkling wine. I never thought I would be the kind of guy to like this sort of stuff but I got to admit, it was truly romantic and the only thing that cost money was the wine. My girlfriend loved it so much she told all of her girl friends to do the same with their dates.” Sounds good to us!
6. Check out the student center
If you’re still in school, chances are you have a student center that offers many discounts to local attractions and shows. If this is the case, there are so many ways that you can get tickets to Broadway shows and operas at a very cheap price. You still get to enjoy the classiness of a night out but without spending full price. For example, at New York University they have a full student central ticket box office. They offer discounted movie tickets, theatre productions, ballets and excursions that the students can use for themselves and for guests. One student, Liz, says, “I never took advantage of the student offers my senior year and I wish I had known about it sooner. So far this year I have saved so much money on dates because of the student discounts and it’s not like it’s stuff nobody wants to see, it’s the big hits such as Aladdin and Spring Awakening. They even offered a program for students to apply in bulk for the Hamilton lottery, which is so cool.” Although the student discounts differ from school to school, it is important to check it out sooner rather than later. It’s known that the good stuff usually tends to go fast because of high demand.
7. Indulge in a spa night
We know you love giving yourself a face mask every now and then, but what about your date? Bring out the candles and scented bath salts and turn your ordinary bathroom into a bubbly heaven. You can use materials you already have at home such as oatmeal and honey to create a body scrub that both of you will love. As well, the act of creating some DIY products will definitly be a bonding experience for both of you. Once again, buy some cheap-but-delicious wine, pour yourselves a big glass and enjoy. At the end of the night, you both will feel like you went to a five-star spa, but without the debt. Bonus points if you take turns giving each other massages. But make sure that your date gives you one first because you deserve it!
Overall, there are so many cheap and incredible ways to save money while still giving yourself a date that you’re happy with. But let’s be real, one of the most important things to remember is that it doesn’t matter how much money you spend or don’t spend as long as your date makes you feel like you’re Queen of the World.