Spread the love

Cheap Dates

For The Broke

College Student

By Abigail Dye

January 14, 2018

College is a magical time with endless new experiences, lectures, friends, memories and so much more. What college does not offer is an endless amount of – cold hard cash.  It is not exactly easy to come up with the money for a fancy dinner date when in college, so here are five date ideas you can execute for next to nothing.

Movie Night

The old “Netflix and Chill” date is always a good fallback, but here are some ways you can spruce it up. Build a fort either on the bed or around your television using all the blankets, sheets, pillows, air-mattresses and sleeping bags you have. Cheap Christmas lights can be found at Wal-Mart or the dollar store to give your fort a magical glow. While you’re out, pick up some popcorn, candy and snacks for the occasion. Rent a movie from Redbox, stream online or even buy a DVD on Amazon, all for under $5. A few easy steps can turn “Netflix and Chill” into a romantic stay-in movie date.

Trivia/Karaoke Night

Trivia night at local bars and pubs is an excellent cheap night-out. Google “trivia night” or “karaoke night” along with your city, to find a local spot to take your date.  Here are a few great spots that offer this in Chicago.

Courtland’s Garage has free trivia night on Mondays at 7:30 p.m. along with Build Your Own Burger for $5 and $1 off all beers – making for a cheap dinner date as well.

The Whistler in Logan Square offers free “movieoke” the first Wednesday of every month at 9 p.m.  This is a fun spin on karaoke where patrons recite scenes from classic movies.

Falcon Inn in Hyde Park has free karaoke on Friday nights and cheap deals on drinks.


A wonderful, timeless and cheap date is a good old fashioned picnic. The simplicity of this date is divine, and with a few tricks you are sure to have a good time. Of course, for a picnic date, you need the essentials such as sandwiches, a basket and a blanket.  You can spice up your date by bringing along a bottle of premixed mock-tails.  There are delicious easy mock-tail recipes all over the internet. You may also consider bringing a deck of cards or a board game for entertainment after your sandwiches.

A disposable camera is also a great item to bring on a picnic, it gives you both something to do as well as the ability to capture some memories. Make sure to pack a Bluetooth speaker and lastly, but most importantly – go somewhere beautiful.  Promontory Point, The Lakefront and Jackson Park are just a few gorgeous places to host a picnic in the Chicago area.

Release Your Inner Child

Some of the best cheap dates out there are the things that were most exciting as a child. Going to an arcade, playing mini-golf, riding bumper cars, bowling and laser tag are all great inexpensive date ideas. Top any of these options off with ice cream and you’ve got yourself a full-proof date. Here are some great places in Chicago to release your inner child.

Ignite Gaming in Skokie is a video arcade that features multiple gaming consoles, high-end gaming PCs and private rock band studios along with food and drinks.

Diversey Driving Range has an 18-hole mini-golf course located adjacent to the range nestled into Lincoln Park. There are plenty of restaurants located in walking distance from the range.

WhirlyBall Chicago is located just outside of the Lincoln Park area featuring food, drinks, bowling, laser tag and bumper cars.

Emporium Arcade is a barcade in Wicker Park that offers a wide selection of arcade games, cheap drinks, and even live music.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Roller Skating and Bowling Center is located on the South Side and offers both roller skating and bowling for a fun date-night.

Leave a Reply