Cheap & Snazzy Dinner Dates

Filed under: College Life, Money/Budget - Social Community Manager
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profile of girlBy guest blogger Tiana Bouma
Tiana is a senior at University of Oregon double majoring in Political Science and Journalism with a focus in magazine. Her hometown is now Bend, OR but she graduated from high school in Danville, CA. After graduating from UO, she plans on traveling and working for National Geographic. During her spare time, she enjoys music, reading, sports and movies.

Let’s face it – enjoying great food in the company of awesome people is a fantastic way to spend a few hours. But footing the bill for the tasty drinks and drool-worthy food can be difficult – especially since anything besides Top Ramen is a delicacy to most college students.

It’s already hard enough to fork over the insane amounts of money that are necessary to cover our college textbooks and school tuition without the temptation of treating ourselves once in awhile. So to help myself out, and hopefully a few of you as well, I have compiled some ideas on how to enjoy that dinner date out on the town without having to pull from your “Post-graduation vacation $$” jar.

Happy Hour

One aspect I am always looking to save on is the price for drinks on a nice dinner date since buying a few good drinks can usually end up doubling the price of a dinner. A lot of restaurants also offer appetizers and specific dishes, sometimes half-size, for lower prices during happy hour. You can find a Happy Hour any night of the week if you know where to go and have explored all of your restaurant options. To add a little spice to your dating life, try going to a new Happy Hour at a different restaurant every time you go out, make it a bucket-list item.

Websites & Coupons

There’s an ever-growing list of coupon and deal websites that restaurants use to entice new customers.  Groupon and Livingsocial are two popular websites that I have seen offer deals such as 2 for 1-dinner entrée coupons at local steak restaurants and “Buy a meal get a beverage or dessert free”. These hidden gems can provide you with a chance to try a place that may have previously been unknown to you or out of your price range.

Make A Meal to Go and Take A Hike

Although hiking isn’t necessarily required for this tip on how to save on dinner dates, sometimes it can be nice to go a little farther away then a city park if possible. In the coming warmer months, it can be romantic and sweet to take the usual dinner date somewhere in the open air and spend an evening enjoying nature and maybe even stargazing. To make the picnic, you can always order take-out from your favorite place to eat or visit a local grocery store. My usual weekly picnic includes a sourdough loaf, avocados, sharp cheddar cheese, turkey, prosciutto, salami, and a bottle of wine. I have spent many great nights lying on a blanket in the middle of a field laughing the hours away.


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