Cheap Dates Without Being ‘Cheap’

It’s been a little more than a week, and Valentine’s Day is over.  Everyone can sigh with relief because no longer will pink hearts, candy, and love be thrown into your face…at least until Wal-Mart clears away the Christmas decorations that will be out in July and declares that you the shopper should begin buying stuffed bears with fake roses in December.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love ‘Love’.  But I hate the pressure.  The pressure to look perfect and be perfect on that single amorous day, or any date for that matter, in which you bask in your significant others cuteness…yuck.

Seriously though, even as a single gal, I had a really good Valentine’s Day.  I went to dinner with a guy friend and ate yummy sushi at In The Raw on Campus Corner, then just chilled at home.  My night wasn’t boring or stress filled.  It was fun, really, fun.  And that got me thinking that was just what I needed: a ‘date’, if you want to call it that, with a playful attitude and not a lot of effort.

I figure if I needed that, every other coffee-drinking, anxiety-ridden college student might need that too.  So, I came up with some fun dates that could work for a couple of two years, a couple of two days, and even a group of friends.  And sadly acknowledging that yes, I’m very broke myself for having indulge in a silver, black and oh, so wonderfully high pair of BCBG heels this month, I decided to make the dates work for any (and by that I mean virtually every) college student, who’s low on cash.  Enjoy!

1.  And the Oscar Goes to…

A classic first date go to, how can you have a movie night that isn’t expensive?  Easy.  Rent a movie or even better raid each other’s movie collections (Hello, No Cash!).  Not only will you save money, but you’ll learn about the other person’s tastes.  Going through some one’s things, even if it’s just their movies, is exciting and enticing like you’re being let in on a secret.  Other benefits of staying at home:  you don’t have to sit in stiff chairs but can cozy down on your couch, the bathroom is only a few feet away, and you have remote if you need to pause, rewind, whatever.  My personal favorite benefit is that I don’t smell like stale popcorn when the credits roll, gross.  You can even make staying at home more entertaining by popping your own popcorn, buying a box of candy from the grocery store to share (we’re talking maybe $2 if you already have the popcorn), and lying out blankets in case your date becomes cold.  If only everything could be as easy as picking a movie, snuggling, and pressing play.

2.  All You Can Eat

Sick of eating out or slapping together a sandwich for dinner then try cooking-together.  This date idea is fun because you don’t have to cook for the other person (unless you want to be Julia Child or Emeril), so there’s no need to worry whether you’re going to burn the chicken or overcook the vegetables.  And this doesn’t have to be hard.  I’m not talking a four course meal or anything of that caliber.  My ex-boyfriend, let’s call him Joe, and I use to get together and make pizza on Friday nights instead of ordering in.  We’d use pizza dough from a box, canned tomato sauce, mozzarella, and any toppings that we wanted.  Sometimes we’d each make our own pizzas and like a competition see who’s turned out better.  Chopping, dicing, and slicing is a great activity to bond over, and when you’re done you get the reward of a delicious meal.  So, turn on your ovens and get cooking!

3.  Just a Walk in the Park…literally

Of course, you never know with Oklahoma weather, but let’s go with the idea that it’s 60 something degrees out with a clear sky.   What should you do?  Stay inside?  Lounge around?  Well, you could or even better: Call you that boy/girl you’ve been eyeing in psychology class and invite them to take a walk with you.  A walk on a beautiful day will give you the time to talk and get to know each other, all while costing you nothing.  If you’re too wired for just a walk then take a run together or go on a bike ride.  This activity will energize you while you unwind together.  And remember gentlemen, bringing your adorable dog (heck, even your roommate’s dog) adds bonus points!

4. Not Only Blind Dates Arouse Terror

This is definitely a group activity (I mean you don’t want your date to think you’re a creepy serial killer type), but why not try ghost hunting.  Now, I’m not crazy.  This is a cool date if you’re up for a little fright, and all you need is flashlights.  Let me set the scene for you:  You’re sick of going out.  You don’t have a lot of money, and yet, you really want to get to know your crush better without the pressure of keeping a conversation going through dinner.  A group activity would be best, but what can you do?  Try visiting an old grave yard, like the one off of Brookhaven Boulevard late at night, and let the spirits of the past haunt you.  If you want to make the night even creepier watch a classic scary movie like The Exorcist before going out.  I promise that by the end of the night, you’ll be in a fit of laughter from mistaking a shadow for a dead person, you’ll have memories that will last to the grave, and if you’re lucky, your date might cling to you so hard from fear that you’ll have to hold onto to them too, of course.

5.  Campus Isn’t All About Homework

My last date idea is really the simplest: take advantage of the activities on and around campus!  Why?  Because they won’t cost you much and sometimes absolutely nothing.  Check out the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. Highlights from the Adkins Collection will be featured March 7, 2008  and be on display until January 31, 2009. (Admission is free for students with a valid OU ID).  Or try watching movies that are frequently offered at the Union (Also free for OU students with valid OU ID).  Last week, I saw Step Brothers with my friend, Bobby, on Thursday.

Some other cheap dates: spend the afternoon at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History or listen to bands at the Opolis.  Dinosaur exhibits may seem like something you’d go to in elementary school, but ‘wowing’ over past creatures such as the Procamelus is entertaining for all ages.  The Sam Noble Museum is near campus and located off Chautauqua Avenue.  (Free to OU students with valid ID).  most expensive date idea on this list, the Opolis offers a variety of musical talent for everyone.  Coming soon: William Elliott Whitmore and Samantha Crain; Feb. 27th; $8 in advance, $10 day of show, Starlight Mints and Crocodile; Feb. 28th; $15 in advance & day of show, Tyvek; March 5th; $8 in advance & day of show.  For more information:

I hope everyone indulges in easy romance of the non-cheesy type with these easy date possibilities.  As a single girl, I can say I’m always up for trying something new, and I bet you’re your date will be too.  For now I’m going to keep coming up with terrfic schemes and who knows, maybe someday, I’ll even get to go on one of these dates!

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No Comments on "Cheap Dates Without Being ‘Cheap’"

  1. pmofo
    24/02/2009 at 5:42 pm Permalink

    Your date ideas are quite good, but I some other ideas that may come in handy.
    1. Have your date get tickets to a completely crazy event, say a ballroom dance competition perhaps. It is festive and fun for all!
    2. Regularly scheduled TV time. Americans average 5 hours a day in front of the Tube these days, why not make that time to spend with a loved one. Wathching things like, I don’t know, Greek or Step Brothers, can be some great QT with your CUTIE.
    3. Singing! Everyone loves to sing so make some harmony (instead of purple).
    4. Festive Western Theme Date Parties. Who doesn’t love boots and spurs and lasertag?

  2. Mel
    12/03/2009 at 1:33 pm Permalink

    Great ideas, Katie!

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