College is an exciting time, but it can also be financially restrictive. So, what do you do if someone you see on campus catches your eye and you would like to spend some time with them, but money is limited? Here are some ideas that won’t set you back a bundle and will be fun for you and your date:
1. Is this a new community for the two of you? If so, contact your local Chamber of Commerce and see if they have guided tours or walking-tour maps of the community. Especially if you’re going to be there for 2-4 years, it would be nice to see what kinds of local interests there are. If one of you is already familiar with the area? They could be the “guide” sharing their familiarity with the community.
2. A much more intimate evening out, and usually one that is a lot less expensive, is to go to dinner at a smaller restaurant which is owned and operated by a local family. Avoid the big chain restaurants with their copy-cat menus. Find something small and unique to the area in which you are now living. Not only will the food be more delicious, and home-cooked, you could become friends with the proprietors and enjoy their friendship for the length of your college years.
3. When the weather is nice, you could pack a picnic lunch and go for a hike or spend the day at the beach, depending on the area you are in. Even a bike ride to a flower-filled meadow next to a running brook can be romantic and won’t cost a cent except for the lunch.
4. A lot of the bigger bookstores have book and poetry readings and they are usually free. Some even have mini-shows by local singers and artists and sell their CDs at a discount, plus you can get them autographed! Go out for coffee afterwards and, if you just attended a poetry reading, take turns trying to write the next award winning poem on your napkins! Who knows. . . you could end up having your own poetry reading.
5. Weekends during the summer you can visit your local farmer’s markets. This is a good place to pick up some great fresh fruit and other foods. Take a small ice chest with you to pack your purchases in and head off for a day at the zoo!
College is an exciting time and the memories you retain from your college days will stay with you for the rest of your life. If you give some thought to how you spend your time with that someone special, not only will you save money, but you will have unique memories to look back on. Much better than night after night of pizza and beer at the student center!