Julie DeNeen is a writer and mom of three. She dated her current husband for the bulk of her teenage years. She knows about budget dating!
"Do you want to go out with me?" Eric asked nervously.
"Well sure, I'd love to!" Cassy exclaimed.
"Great, I'll pick you up around 6 p.m. tonight."
"Where are we going?" she asked.
Ah yes, the million-dollar question. Where do teens go when they want to go on a date? So much of our culture is not teen-friendly; many young couples end up locked in a bedroom watching television all night. It might take a bit of creativity, but you can arrange a fun and awesome date, no matter what your budget is.
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No-Cost Date Ideas for Teens
This category of dating requires the utmost planning and creativity, so turn all those dirt-poor brain cells into creating a wonderful night out for you and your special someone.
- Take a romantic moonlit stroll along the beach, a lake, or a scenic area.
- If you both are animal lovers, spend the afternoon loving on neglected animals at the shelter.
- Clean your parent's house together and hope they pay you for your time! Then you can move on to the next category of dating.
- Bring a picnic to a local park. Raid your parent's fridge and pack a picnic lunch or dinner.
- Hike a mountain.
- Have a photo date. Each of you grab old photos from your childhood and spend the day telling stories about your childhood.
- Look online or in the paper for free outdoor concerts.
- Grab a cookbook and pick a recipe you've never tried.
- Record your own YouTube video—a music video, how-to, or other humorous clip.
- Go to the library and find a good book to read to each other.
- Raid your basement of old-school board games and bet each other in Monopoly. The winner could get a free massage or coupon for overruling power the next time you go to the movie store.
- Go through the woods and try to collect as many wildflowers as possible for a brilliant bouquet.
- Go sledding (if there is snow, of course).
Cheap Date Ideas That Cost $10 or Less
- Go to your school's football or soccer game.
- Get a ticket for the school dance.
- Go to the YMCA and swim or work out together. It helps if one of you has a pass- the other can pay a guest rate.
- Go to a matinee movie.
- Go out for coffee at a cute coffee shop.
- Go miniature golfing together.
- Grab some magazines, glue, and a poster board. Make a collage of your relationship using only words and clips from the magazines.
- Go out for ice cream.
- Go fishing together.
- Go rollerblading or skating.
- Is it a holiday? A lot of stories and local organizations offer low-cost events (i.e. Halloween hayride, Christmas tree lighting, etc.).
Date Ideas That Cost About $20
- Go to a fast-food restaurant for dinner, but bring a tablecloth, nice dishes, and a floral centerpiece. Make sure you take pictures of your romantic night out. Who knows, the staff might think it's so cute, they will give you free food!
- Go to the movies.
- Find a museum or art gallery that looks interesting to you both.
- Spend the day touring your town. Take pictures of each other and make a montage at night to celebrate your relationship.
- Go out for breakfast.
- Buy $20.00 worth of food and create an elaborate romantic dinner at home.
- Check your local newspaper for any live theater. Amateur groups usually cost a fraction of professional tickets.
- Go tag-saling or thrift-shopping together.
- Design a treasure hunt for your special girl (or guy). Have them run all around town looking for clues that eventually lead to a prize.
- Get a friend to take "couples" photos of you two. Go to Walmart and print out your favorites to frame.
- Go to a local orchard and pick fruit together. Grab enough to make a pie later.
Group Date Ideas
Sometimes, it is just more fun when there are lots of people together. You can arrange events for very little money that equal a lot of laughs.
- Arrange a couple's volleyball, soccer, basketball, or swim competition.
- Do a bonfire on the beach (make sure it is legal first!).
- Go to an amusement park or local fair together as a group.
- Choreograph a dance and record a flash mob in public. Upload it to YouTube and go viral!
- Get one of those murder mystery kits and host a theme night at home!
- Set up a tent in the backyard and have an at-home campout.
- Have a Just Dance Wii contest!
Dating is about getting to know the other person. Any activity that connects you intellectually, mentally, emotionally, or in some quirky way, helps form a lasting bond. Even shoveling manure in the rain is fun with the right person. Keep it real, keep it fun, and don't get stuck in the teenage rut.