Header credit: Mandy Yeh for

Header credit: Mandy Yeh for

Between studying, internships and social events, it can be difficult to find time to date in college, let alone maintain a steady relationship. Let’s face it, expensive, dinner dates don’t work for everyone, especially those without a car or deep pockets. Here are some realistic, romantic, and most importantly, budget-appropriate date ideas.

Explore Campus

Some of the most romantic dates can come from the simplest of outings. Take the time to explore campus with your guy, either on bikes or by foot. You’d be surprised how many nooks you can discover when you’re not in a rush to get to class. If you go at night, bring a blanket and an iPod so the two of you can enjoy some stargazing—it’ll be an excuse to snuggle.

Afternoon at the Museum

Many colleges and universities are either within walking distance or a short bus ride from terrific museums. Spending an afternoon getting some culture will not only stimulate your creative and intellectual sides, but the exhibits will also make for great conversation. Added bonus: Many museums offer discounts if you show your student ID, and if not, check the museum’s Web site for free-admission days.

Dorm-Cooked Romantic Meal

Surprise your special someone with a tasty meal whipped up in your very own dorm kitchen—no instant ramen allowed! Don’t know where to begin? Try starting with an easy salad of mixed greens tossed with chopped grapes and Roma tomatoes. For the main dish, pasta is one of the easiest meals to make and can also be one of the most romantic. Check out Real Simple’s pasta dishes, which live up to its promise in terms of preparation and ingredients. Finish off your meal with peanut butter Hershey’s kiss cookies. These are guaranteed to make him melt.

Get Your Pulses Racing

Even if you’re not an athletic couple, an afternoon spent playing Frisbee on your campus quad, hitting balls at the tennis court or challenging each other to a basketball game will get your hearts racing. Competing and directly interacting will be a healthy change from sitting in your room watching movies. To keep things heated, challenge him to a friendly bet: whoever loses has to treat the other to frozen yogurt or a smoothie after.

Help Your Community

By inviting your special someone to volunteer with you at a local charity or non-profit organization, you’ll not only give back to your community, but impress him with your big heart as well. Talk about a win-win situation. For volunteering ideas, visit and enter your city and zip code. The Web site will automatically suggest places to volunteer that are near campus.

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