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Fun and Inexpensive Dates for Teens

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 6pm 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.


Dating With No Money

This category of dating requires the utmost in 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 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.
  • A picnic at 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).
Andrew and I collaged an old piece of furniture with love letters and pictures of each other!

Andrew and I collaged an old piece of furniture with love letters and pictures of each other!

Dating With $10.00 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 workout 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 two magazines, some 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.)

A Date for $20.00

  • 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 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 dates are always more fun!

Group dates are always more fun!

Group Dating

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!

This Is Awesome!

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.


Zoejane Brown on February 02, 2020:

I LOVE THESE IDEAS, they are just not what i am looking for. here i am 14 years old and my boyfriend is 15 we haven't been together for all that long, but i am happy with him and i hope that he can see that, i have 13 days to plan out a perfect valentines day and its hard because we have jobs in the summer but were broke in the winter, i am not really an outside person but i would love to go to the lake and have a picnic or something. its just so cold, an also we have school on Valentine's day so we prolly will end up doing something the next day. i just litterally have no idea what!!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 18, 2012:

Love your photos! Great idea for an article. I agree with others that the organization here is wonderful.

Stephanie Henkel from USA on August 18, 2012:

Your article shows that teens (or couple) can have some wonderful fun on a budget by doing some creative planning. Love your ideas and will pass on to a few broke teens I know! :)

shruti sheshadri from Bangalore, India on August 18, 2012:

hahah :) You really are a cool mom! I doubt how many moms i can find who give such tips! :)

Brilliant hub, you still are very young at heart :)

Melanie Chisnall from Cape Town, South Africa on August 17, 2012:

Aah, dating on a budget - haven't we all been there? When my husband and I were in our teens and I was still in school, we didn't have a lot of money. Some weekend dates included walking to the shop and buying a couple of sweets or a chocolate. Other times we'd get cheap take-aways or snacks and eat at the dam.

I love your suggestions and wish I'd known of a few of these back then. Brilliant article Julie :)

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on August 17, 2012:

Thank you. Just wanted an insight, you shared. I dated in SF in a time of free concerts. So much was free. movie were $1.00. There was always a school dance. Big macs were $.25. really

Julio E Olmo Sr from Florida, USA on August 17, 2012:

Agree...we could've used this info a while back hahaha

KDuBarry03 on August 17, 2012:

This is a great source of information for all my friends! This can also be applied to college students (we are always broke!). A lot of my friends and I love to go to the city and just stroll around and window shop. That's always a great time and a lot of fun!

Thanks for sharing another great and informative hub, Julie! Voted up and shared!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on August 17, 2012:

Terrific dating ideas for teens! Makes me wanna go back and do it all over again. Not!!! I would really want to participate in a flash mob! :) UP! Awesome!

Joshua Zerbini from Pennsylvania on August 17, 2012:


Awesome tips here for all those teenagers without any money! :) Oh, and I love Flash Mob videos! Thanks, I hadn't seen this one yet.

L Brander from Canada on August 17, 2012:

Loved the way you categorized this hub, really helpful to find the perfect date idea!

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on August 17, 2012:

@realhousewife- LOL- I know really? I just hope people understand by now that I'm not good at responding to comments. I do my best to comment on their hubs, which is what everyone wants anyway right?! Thanks for stopping by!

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on August 17, 2012:

Pretty cool ideas! I did lots of that stuff in HS and college too...going to the mall and group dates were THE best! Lol. I had a crowd I hung with and we did everything together. We lived in "the sticks" so driving back roads was a free bee too!

Now, I hope you respond to this in the next ten minutes, I'm waiting. LOL LOL

Brenda Kyle from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA on August 17, 2012:

Love all the ideas, and did some of them. I like all the options and it is funny. I came in looking for ideas suited to my daughter and found some new ones for myself too. Sharing the hub with brides.

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on August 17, 2012:

This article was awesome. Seriously, loved your advice on how to date on a budget for today's teen. Would have loved using some of your ideas as a teen who who always broke back in the day!! Also, the Flash Mob video was perfect inclusion here! Nice job and have voted up and shared too!!

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