Cheap Dating Ideas When You Owe Student Loans

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Bethany McCamish

By Bethany McCamish

January 21, 2019

It is your turn to plan date night. When you have student loans, you worry that date night will involve spending money you don’t have, especially if you follow the crowd with entertainment followed by an expensive dinner.

Don’t sweat it. No matter what your interests are as a couple, you can have a date night that won’t hinder your debt payoff plan. Spend time instead of money for a fun date night with these ideas.

Food Centric Date Ideas

  • Pack a picnic with your favorite foods
  • Get breakfast out since this is one of the cheapest meals
  • Participate in a free wine tasting at your local liquor store
  • Go to the Farmers Market or Costco or Whole Foods Market and try all of the free samples
  • Collect your own fruit at an orchard or a U-Pick berry patch
  • Grab a pizza and go to a local park to eat it
  • Order only dessert at your favorite restaurant
  • Ice cream is one of the least expensive luxuries
  • Cook a meal together from a YouTube video or online tutorial
  • Make your own chocolate-covered strawberries

Active Date Ideas

  • Find a new bike route and explore
  • Climb a mountain with a new hiking trail
  • Train together for an event like a 5K
  • Go for a long walk together at the local park
  • Take a Yoga class since most studios offer the first class free
  • Go dancing at your local square-dance center
  • Check out specialty gyms with free classes like Rock Climbing

Nature Lovers Date Ideas

  • Use an app to find constellations as you stargaze away from the city
  • Watch the sunrise or sunset
  • Find a nearby nature preserve and look up what birds or animals may have migrating patterns there to watch
  • Camp at a State Park which is cheaper (or free) compared to all National Parks and Forests
  • Go for a Scenic Drive and look for the photo icon on Google maps for picturesque stops along the route
  • Walk at your local dog park, even if you don’t have a dog

Metropolitan Date Ideas

  • Volunteer together for a cause you believe in, like Habitat for Humanity
  • Go to a community play at your local theater
  • Attend the summer free concerts or cinema in the park in your nearby city
  • Go to the library and read together
  • Do some people-watching at the city shopping center or main square
  • Find a local art gallery opening (art galleries are free and openings have food and wine
  • See a high school music or drama performance
  • Attend ‘Free Museum Night’
  • Find a historic site in your city and check it out
  • Go to open houses and other realtor events together to plan your dream home
  • Crash a wedding together


Stay at Home Date Ideas

  • Make a time capsule and bury it in your backyard
  • Have a spa night together with massages, facials and a bath
  • Eat by candlelight at the table
  • Create a themed taste test, choosing things you both haven’t tried before
  • Challenge each other to a game of poker and gamble your pennies from the change jar
  • Make a planned movie night with popcorn and candy
  • Do a photo shoot of each other
  • Make a milkshake or a sundae and eat it in your backyard
  • Do a puzzle and sip some wine
  • Create vision boards or talk about your futures together
  • Plan a treasure hunt by hiding clues around the home
  • Make a playlist ahead of time for your significant other and listen to it together

Lastly, do not forget about the seasonal things like carving a pumpkin, baking and decorating Valentine’s Day cookies, or looking at Christmas Lights.

Making date nights happen is essential to the health of a relationship. Student loans and debt does not have to stop this from happening. Create a small budget category for date nights and know that having a fun time does not need to involve spending a lot of money.

If you are struggling with student loan debt, there are ways you can lower your student loan payments, including enrolling in an income-driven repayment plan, temporarily going on a deferment or refinancing student loans to lower your interest rate.

Keep in mind refinancing federal student loans means a loss in many benefits – income-driven repayment plans, any federal forgiveness programs, generous deferment options, and more.

Sign up for our free student loan newsletter for expert advice on how to borrow student loans responsibly and how to deal with student loan debt.

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