Amanda Hollman, assistant life editor, @HollmanAmanda
Single or married, dating can get expensive. Thinking of something that is fun but won’t break the bank can be a challenge, so we’ve done the footwork and found the best way to stretch those dollars on a date.
1. Game night: Pull out your favorite board or card games and have a friendly competition. This costs nothing unless you want some snacks, which don’t need to be expensive. Plus, you get to see the other person’s competitive side.
2. Go on an adventure: Utah County has a lot of options for outside exploration in all types of weather. The only cost you have to worry about is transportation and maybe some snacks if your trip is longer.
3. Play 20 questions: Even if you know someone really well, you can still learn more about them. No cost and you get to know the other person even better.
4. Cook something: A fun activity that gets both people involved and fed at the same time. This can vary in cost depending on what you decide to make, but planning on a budget will help and it’s sure to beat the price of going out.
5. Go to an arcade: Nickel City is one place where you can have some inexpensive fun. Grab a roll of quarters and see how many tickets you can collect. You can even make it into a competition to see who can get the most tickets.
6. Make a fort: Revert back to childhood and use blankets, couch cushions, chairs and any other materials to make a cool fort. You can play games or watch a movie when you finish. A no cost activity with lots of fun.
7. Bookstore: There are many options of what you can do for this activity. You can go to the children’s section and read your favorites or split up and find a book for the other to read. Go to Barnes & Noble, the library or another local, independent bookstore and have a good time at little-to-no cost.
8. Go to a UVU sports event: Athletic events are free with a valid UVU ID and range from $2-4 for non-students. Whether your date is a student or not, it is a low budget option that could be a lot of fun and you’ll have the chance to root for the home team. Go Wolverines!
9. “Drive in” movie: Depending on the weather, have a movie night indoors or out. With some cardboard, duct tape and a Fresnel lens—which can all be purchased for under $5—you can make your own makeshift projector. Once the DIY projector is finished, just hang up a sheet and watch a movie in a large format. IF that’s not your style, just stick with your flat screen for a movie night-in. Only cost is for popcorn and a Redbox.
10. Stargaze: In the warmer nights take a blanket and go look at the stars. You can search for constellations, shooting stars or just imagine shapes in the sky. The stars are still free and it’s a good chance to cuddle up staring into the vast expanse of space.
11. Do a craft: Painting, wire projects, friendship bracelets, coloring books, tie-die and so many other options can be done quickly and in small groups. Go to Wal-Mart or Hobby Lobby to find something cheap and fun. Make it a competition to build something on a budget or the best birdhouse. The possibilities are only as endless as your imagination with this one.
12. Photography journey: Bring a camera or a phone and have some fun. Go anywhere that will provide for some awesome shots. Don’t forget to get some with both of you in the picture so you can have a memento.
13. Do a puzzle: Depending on the size of the puzzle, this activity can take as little time or as long as you’d like. Try out various strategies and see what works best while getting to know each other.
14. Frozen yogurt: There are lots of frozen yogurt places around. You can have as much or as little as you want with a variety of toppings. It doesn’t usually cost too much and you can see what your date likes.
15. Thrift store scavenger hunt: Put together a list of common and unusual things then go to a thrift store and see how many you can find on a time limit. No cost for this adventure.
16. Skating: There are several places that you can go skating for a low price. Classic Skating on State Street in Orem has a special every day for roller-skating. Peaks Ice Arena in Provo has a special on Fridays during the school year for college students.
17. Downtown Salt Lake: Check out the historical sites up there including the Capitol, museums, Temple Square and others. Many of these places are free and if you use public transportation it cuts back on gas money and adds some adventure.
18. Go on a picnic: Pack a meal and find a cool place to set up. If it’s cold, put a blanket on the floor and have an indoor picnic. The cost can vary depending on how fancy you want to make it.
19. Dollar store: You can find entertaining games and activities for very little cost at these stores. See what creative things you can find then take them somewhere for some fun.
20. Coffee or hot chocolate shop: Whether it’s Starbucks or Cocoa Bean, you can get a drink and a treat for a good price and it gives you a chance to chat.