Summer Dates if You're Broke AF

Find yourself a cheap date and take them on a cheap date.

Summer romance has a certain kind of excitement to it: beautiful sunshine, warm nights to spend outdoors, and the allure of a simple sundress or muscle-baring tank top make our hearts flutter a little extra during a summer fling. Ideally, these flings play out the way they do in movies, with seamless dates and charming adventures. In reality, once two people find themselves in the midst of a summer courtship, dreaminess can be replaced by the dreadful realization that fantastical summer dates cost actual money. Fortunately, with a little creative thinking, summer dates can be planned and executed with lots of romance and little spending.

 Photo: Jen Palmer/ VIA Unsplash

Photo: Jen Palmer/ VIA Unsplash

Stroll around a farmer’s market. Even though you may not make any actual purchases, meandering up and down farmers’ market aisles can be a casual and pleasant way to spend time with someone. You can admire colorful produce and flowers and usually find some free samples to curb any cravings induced by looking at glistening heads of baby bok choy. You might even find some vendors selling homemade crafts for you to politely praise while wondering who in their right mind would spend money on paper clip earrings.

Visit a local animal shelter. Many animal shelters allow volunteers to socialize with animals and sometimes even take dogs on walks. There are few things  easier to bond over than kittens and puppies. You and your date may experience your best chemistry yet while your hearts are simultaneously bursting with love for adorable baby animals. Warning: spending time with delightful and innocent creatures in need of homes may lead to spontaneous adoption. Proceed with caution.

Take a sunrise hike. This idea is a twist on the classic great-outdoors date for people with limited funds. Getting up before the sun is always work, but watching a sunrise from the top of a mountain with someone you care about is always worth it. You and your date can even stop for (cheap) pancakes on the way home! Who doesn’t love a good breakfast date? (Bonus: this one doesn't have to be in last night’s clothes.)

Cook an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink meal. There are a number of websites that allow you to enter all the ingredients that you already have in your refrigerator or pantry and receive a list of possible recipes in return. (Check out SuperCook.com and MyFridgeFood.com.) Trying something new, like an innovative recipe, is a always a great way to spend a date. And not only will you avoid spending money, you’ll finally get a chance to use those dried lentils that your mother insisted were a good “pantry staple.” Whatever that means.

As J.Lo once said, “Love don’t cost a thing.” We all know by now that this is a big fat lie, but love doesn’t always have to break your bank. We wish you well on your frugal fling.