College Dating on a Budget

By Sarah O’Brien

Nothing screams “I’m a broke student” quite like handing your crush wilted Aldi flowers outside a coffee shop. We get it, you’re young, searching for love (or at least a shift) and your part-time job won’t allow for anything resembling extravagance. Not to worry, here’s how to do college dating on the cheap. Remember love doesn’t have to hurt…your pocket.

Bake together

Couples who bake together stay together so say us. Not only is baking is a super fun and cost effective way to keep the date night spend at a minimum, it’s also a brilliant rainy day activity. Start from scratch with an easy cupcake recipe or break out your Betty Crocker mix and get cracking in the kitchen. A ‘Death by Chocolate’ cake never hurt anybody. So get your Martha Stewart on and whip up some confectionery delights. The only thing you’ll be fighting over is who gets to lick the spoon!

Try a spot of mini golf

You don’t have to be sporty McSportsman to enjoy a good game of mini golf. An indoor themed adventure course might be just the ticket to a cheap date with a difference.  For those living in the Dublin area, rain-forest adventure golf in Dundrum could tick all the right boxes. They cater to those with disabilities, have cool animatronic sound effects and offer a 19 hole golf course. Normally tickets go for around €9 but students get a 10% discount with a valid student ID.

Check out your local art gallery

Looking to appear suave, sophisticated and all the other ‘S’ words one might use to describe James Bond? Try taking your other half to the local art gallery for a cultured twist on date night. Either, you’ll both be genuinely awed at the magnificence of the work you see before you bringing about some sort of existential crisis, or you’ll be giggling like bold children at how ludicrous that phallic art installation was…hmm not so suave after all.

‘Cards against Humanity’ double date

Relationships, especially in their infancy, tend to take up most of our free time and energy. We get it- you’re young and in love. But remember those lovely eejits you call friends? They’re starting to forget what you look like. Kill two birds with the one stone and invite your friends around to play a game of everyone’s favourite Cards against Humanity. You’ll all laugh yourselves silly and your friends (who were starting to wonder if you’d been kidnapped), can rest easy again.

Volunteer together

Go volunteering with your significant other for a feel-good date night alternative. Have a look around your community and see what services are under strain, maybe a nursing home needs volunteers to read to the elderly or your local soup kitchen could do with a helping hand. You’d be surprised how much bonding can occur while you’re making sandwiches! And you know the funny thing about volunteering is that no matter how much you give, you’ll always get more back in terms of happiness and positive vibes.

 Have date night at home

You know what’s wonderful about watching a movie at home versus the cinema? You don’t have to sssh anyone (not that you would), fight for the armrest or deal with obnoxious people chewing loudly with their mouths open. Instead, you and your crush can chill out in the comfort of your apartment, cook a great meal and drink some €8.99 wine. To set the ambiance, light a few candles and try to ignore the sound of your housemate snoring in the next room.

Check out the local comedy club

Tickets for comedians like Jimmy Carr might be exorbitantly priced and out of your impoverished student budget but don’t let that stop you from getting a belly full of laughs. Take your date to the local comedy club and settle in for some amateur stand-up, as awesome and awful as it can be. While you’re there do a bit of talent spotting (not like that cheeky!) and see if you can spy the next big comic genius- X-Factor style. Finally, if you’re really lucky you might even happen across an established comedian like Al Porter doing a free impromptu gig in an old haunt. Now you can’t do better than free can you?

To the comments, what’s the worst college date you’ve ever went on?

*This article first appeared on



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