Affordable affection

TPT-tested date ideas for a fun and inexpensive night

Rachael Gunn, managing editor

It’s a clear Tuesday afternoon, and while brainstorming the perfect date for Friday evening, a semi-stressed teenager is met with a dilemma. A fancy dinner and ice skating are at the top of the list, until they spot their withered wallet on the desk in front of them. With a pit in their stomach, they reach over and flip the brown leather open. Seven dollars and 34 cents.

Fortunately for the general population, and that poor soul, it may not take much money or preparation to create a meaningful night.

Baking at Home

Chocolates are a classic choice for a gift, but they can be expensive. If bought from brands like Lindt and Godiva, the consumer could pay $10 to $50 for 12 to 24 chocolates.

An alternative is to use resources already in one’s home to bake cookies or another dessert.

“My boyfriend and I have been dating for two years and one of our most common dates is to stay at home and bake,” senior Kaylee Doyle said. “It’s something we’ve been doing since the start of the relationship and both of us really enjoy it.”

The experience is one full of laughs and bonding, and the end result is generally a welcome perk, regardless of what dessert is made. Most of all, baking can be a fun and enjoyable pastime, especially when it is done with one’s significant other.

“It brings us closer together, and it’s really sweet because you both work really hard and get to enjoy the process,” Doyle said. “You get to spend time with the person that you love.”

Spa Day

Everyone needs to be pampered from time to time, and treating oneself to a face mask and exfoliating hand scrub can help one unwind while bonding with a significant other.

A diverse selection of face masks for all skin types are available at any Walmart or Target.

As for hand scrubs, Mary Kay has specialty scrubs for $20, or they can be made at home for under $5. According to the Nourished Life beauty blog, sugar is a humectant, meaning it can hydrate skin and improve sensitivity. Additionally, sugar contains glycolic acid, which can break down dead skin cells. Because of this, sugar is a key ingredient in homemade hand scrubs.

Just take two-thirds of a cup of white granulated sugar and mix it with about one third of a cup of olive or coconut oil. For a unique scent, add a few drops of essential oil; lavender and lemongrass both act as good relaxants. Many quality conversations can be had while waiting for the mask to dry or making the hand scrub, and sometimes, it is nice to share quiet moments with a person one cares deeply for.

Skyline Drive

Sitting together in nature can be a good way to unwind and admire the beauties of the earth as a couple. One such place that provides a scenic landscape is Skyline Drive, located in Shenandoah National Park.

Seniors Nicole Cohen and Ridge Wagner visited the drive together, and while their experience was somewhat incomplete, they still were able to admire the surrounding scenery.

“It was pretty and there were a lot of mountains and farms,” Cohen said. “The plan was to eat there and watch the sunset, [but] when we got there, it was dark so we turned around.”

The trip was cut short because of the time it took to arrive, so potential visitors should make sure to account for travel time in their date planning.

“We went to the farthest part of Skyline Drive, two hours away. That’s why it was dark,” Wagner said. “Then we got Subway on the way home- a nice little bonding experience.”

For driving directions and information about winter weather circumstances, visit

Rachael Gunn
Baking is a hands-on bonding activity that is perfect for a casual night in. An added bonus is the delicious treat to snack on afterward.
Rachael Gunn
Applying a face mask can be a fun way to relax with a significant other. Basic ingredients such as sugar and oil can be found in the kitchen, and essential oils can add a calming effect.
photo courtesy of Flickr Commons
Skyline Drive is a scenic locale that provides hiking routes and breathtaking views. The area features unique eateries for couples to visit before heading home.