You’re going to date in college -- it’s inevitable. Whether you’re someone who likes to pick up the tab or you’re the one usually getting taken out, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a good time!
Here are seven ways to save money on your relationship as a college student, without feeling like you missed out on any experiences.
1. Take Advantage Of Free School Activities
Most universities offer free events for students. Just keep an eye out for ads on campus or join your school activity board’s Facebook page.
I went to USF St. Pete where they hosted biweekly movie nights outside -- there was even free drinks and popcorn! I was also lucky to attend school right on the water, where there was free kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding. This was free for students and up to three guests. Depending on where your school is located, you might have access to all kinds of awesome, free activities you have no idea they offer.
2. Challenge Each Other To Plan A Cheap Or Free Date
Going out on a date is synonymous with spending money, but it doesn’t have to be. Challenge each other to come up with the best cheap, or free, date. Here are 45 ideas to get you started.
Sometimes the dates you spend less money on can be more romantic than a fancy restaurant anyways. For the majority of my first dates with my boyfriend, we grabbed a cup of tea and walked around our local waterfront park.
3. Utilize Amazon Prime’s Student Discount
Amazon Prime offers a free six-month trial period for students, then a 50% off discount until you graduate. That means you get Prime for just $50/year!
Join Prime Student, and use your new Amazon account to save money on birthday gifts, holiday presents or everyday essentials. You can also watch movies and TV shows through Prime video.
Bonus: This doesn’t involve your relationship, but Amazon is a great place to rent college textbooks. I saved hundreds every semester by renting through Amazon instead of using the campus bookstore.
4. Responsibly Use Rewards Credit Cards
You’re in college, which means you’re on the brink of ~true~ adulthood. Adulting means establishing good credit, so it’s time to bite the bullet and open your first credit card (if you haven’t already).
Open a credit that offers great rewards: think, cash back, restaurant gift cards or discounts at your favorite retailers. For example, my Wells Fargo card lets me redeem points for tons of different gift cards, including Target, Carrabba’s, Panera, Outback, and Dave and Buster’s. Use this card for daily spending, and pay it off in full each month. Then, use your rewards to treat your S.O. to somethin’ special.
This one is a double win: you’re building credit, plus earning rewards that can be used for awesome dates or surprise gifts! It’s even better if you sign up for a credit card with a hefty sign-up bonus -- then you can really go out for a nice dinner.
5. Discuss Splitting Dates
Instead of one person always covering the bill, talk about splitting the bill or alternating who pays. Not all students have jobs, and it can be difficult for an unemployed college student to cover all the dates.
Instead of staying in all the time, offer to pay for a date. Or, split the date. Maybe you buy the movie tickets, and the other person covers drinks and snacks. My boyfriend and I do this even though we both have similar paying jobs, and he’s always pleasantly surprised when I pick up the tab.
6. Flash Your Student ID
There are tons of student discounts -- with a college ID, you can score deals on clothes, food and entertainment. Some of the most popular places that offer them? Subway, Chick-fil-A, Waffle House, Buffalo Wild Wings and Dunkin’ Donuts to name a few.
You’ll also want to check with your school’s website for local offerings. Since my college is in the Sunshine State, I was able to take advantage of discounted Disney tickets and free access to the Dali museum.
7. Study Together
This might not be the most exciting option on the list, but bear with me. It’s hard to manage your time as a college student, especially when you throw a relationship into the mix. You have to study anyway, so why not do it together?
My boyfriend and I always did homework together all through college, and we even helped each other out with certain subjects. Not only is it nice to spend time together, but you’ll also have a second set of eyes to read over your essay, or someone to bounce ideas off of. If your dorm room is a bit crowded, head to a local coffee shop or campus library.
These are just some suggestions, and hopefully they inspire you to be even more creative with planning dates and keeping your relationship on a budget. If you are looking to make cash for that special date, there are tons of ways to earn decent side money without having a time-constraining job.
How do you maintain your relationship on a budget?