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It’s finally summer – the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and there are so many things for you to do with your guy! How about going to your fave band’s concert? Oh wait, tickets are super expensive. Well… how about dinner at a nice restaurant? Hold on, that costs a lot too. Ugh.

While in college, you and your guy probably aren’t made of money. With most of us working part-time jobs or an unpaid internship, there isn’t much leftover cash to spend on expensive dates at concerts or fancy restaurants.  But what if you could go on dates that hardly cost anything? Her Campus is here to give you some fun dates that won’t empty your wallet!

Have a Picnic

Grab whatever you can find in your kitchen and head outside for a picnic! You can spread a blanket in a nearby park or in your backyard; either way, you get to enjoy the outdoors and each other’s company. If you live near a lake or a beach, have your picnic there. That way, you can hop in the water after you get hot in the sun! You and your date can have fun putting together sandwiches and desserts, and by the time you’re finished, you’ll be fuller than if you paid for a restaurant meal! Try this strawberry and feta salad, or this cheddar and apple sandwich.

Hike in the Great Outdoors

Speaking of enjoying the outdoors, a hike is a great way to spend the day with your guy! Find a nearby national park or hiking trail, put on your running sneakers, and start moving! You and your date can work together to make it through the trail, whether you’re climbing a mountain or jumping across streams. Lauren Paylor, a rising senior at Duke University and a contributing writer for Her Campus, says she and her boyfriend spent their first day of summer running and hiking in a national park. There was no cell service, so it was the perfect bonding experience for the couple. “He helped me cross a stream and we found a beautiful lake. It was fun, romantic, and free!” she says.

Go to a Summer Concert

Those concert tickets may be expensive, but there are plenty of free performances during the summertime! Check your local newspaper, restaurant event calendars, or your town’s website to see if any cool musicians are coming to your area. They may not be world-famous artists, but some local bands know how to put on a show! Lots of cities also have free music festivals; for example, Boston’s Earthfest is an all-day event with free food and music. You and your date can eat, dance, and have a good time!

Host an At-Home Movie Night

Sometimes there’s nothing better than snuggling on the couch with a blanket, a bowl of popcorn, and your date to watch some cheesy romantic movies. Or if you’re up for it, pop in a scary movie and see how long you can wait before getting scared and turning the lights back on. Having a movie night is the perfect date after a long week at work—not to mention, it’s free!

Bake a Tasty Dessert

Whether the two of you are master cooks or complete newbies, try baking some cookies, brownies, or if you’re feeling ambitious, a cake! The final product might not be perfect, but you can have fun finding the ingredients and maybe adding in a few of your own. If you don’t have any recipes around the house, there are plenty of websites that provide instructions on how to bake just about anything. After you’re finished baking, you’ll have something yummy to bring on your picnic. Perfect, right?

Stay Up all Night Stargazing, then Watch the Sunrise

What’s more romantic than gazing at the sunrise or the stars with your date? Not much, that’s for sure. Bring a blanket and find a spot on a field or the beach, far away from any light pollution. If you’re stargazing, look up some constellations beforehand and try to find them with your guy. If you’re watching the sunrise, have you and your date both bring a warm cup of coffee and cuddle up as the sun breaks the horizon. These are two things every couple should do at least once!  

Make a Digital Scrapbook!

Making a digital scrapbook with your date is the perfect activity for a rainy summer day. Take a bunch of cute pictures together and download a scrapbook template to display them on. To make it extra romantic, fill the scrapbook with pictures from your previous dates (maybe that hike or the free concert). You can have a fun time and have a project to show for it!

Jill is a junior magazine major at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She's the editor-in-chief of 360 Degrees Magazine, a cultural magazine on campus, and spent last summer as an editorial intern at South Shore Living magazine. She's from the seaside town of Marshfield, MA—so, needless to say, she loves spending her summers on the beach. She also loves reading memoirs, going skiing, and traveling. 
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