14 Foolproof Cheap Date Ideas for 20-Somethings

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With all the money we spend on rent and student loans, most of us can’t afford extravagant dates. Fortunately, we don’t need to. As resourceful, creative twenty-somethings, we can come up with cheap date ideas that are just as enjoyable as a three-star dinner.

According to Match.com, singles spend an average of $61.53 on dating each month. If you live in a pricey city, it’s easy to spend even more.

Why cheap date night ideas are a smart money move

By saving with fun cheap date ideas, you can pay off debt faster and put money away for retirement. Saving for retirement is especially important in your 20s, as your money will grow exponentially over time.

Let’s say you put $100 a month away starting at the age of 25. At a growth rate of 5.7 percent year, you’ll have a savings of $16,124 when you’re 35. At 45, your savings will have ballooned to $44,597. Most people will have even more because they’ve been able to increase their monthly contribution over time.

Or, let’s take student loans. If you have $20,000 in student loans, you could pay it off in monthly installments of $219 for 10 years. In total, you’ll end up paying $6,285 in interest.

If you were able to increase your monthly payments to $384, then you could pay the loans in five years and only pay $3,032 in interest. By paying $165 more a month, you can cut the amount you pay in interest in half. Plus, you’ll be free of student loan payments five years early!

By paying attention to your dating budget, you can put your money toward other areas that will have a long-lasting effect on your quality of life. Match.com estimates that people pay $738.36 per year on dating. After five years, that adds up to over $3,600.

The next time you want to go out, try out of one of the 14 cheap date ideas. You can still make a connection while managing your money responsibly.

Fun cheap date ideas to try this year

1. Rent bicycles and explore your surroundings

Take out your bicycles or rent a couple from your city’s bike-sharing program. You can explore your neighborhood or find a pretty bike path. If you pack snacks, you can stop for a picnic along the trip.

2. Host a laid-back game night

Instead of going out for dinner and a movie, bring your date and a few friends together for a game night. Whether the game is Cards Against Humanity, Resistance, Punderdome, or good old-fashioned Clue, you can all have fun without racking up a big bill.

3. Throw on your athleisure and exercise together

Are you into running? Lifting weights? Yoga? Plan a day of exercising with your date. You could jog outside or take a free yoga class. Lots of gyms give out free day passes to potential new clients.

4. Play tourist for the day

You probably see the sights when you travel, but have you ever toured your own city? Pretend to be tourists for the day and visit noteworthy spots in your area. You might be surprised what you learn about your surroundings when you look with fresh eyes.

5. Ask each other the “36 questions that lead to love”

According to Dr. Arthur Aron, couples can ask each other 36 questions to form intimacy and pave the way to love. You’ll develop a strong relationship through “sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure.” You can find all 36 questions here. This isn’t the best of cheap date ideas for a first date, though. Most people will probably be scared off by intense personal questioning.

6. Head to the woods and go hiking

Throw on your hiking boots and plan a day of hiking with your date. You can get to know each other while conquering a physical challenge. If you’re both outdoorsy, then you may enjoy this activity more than sitting through a movie.

7. Go on a grown-up treasure hunt with the Geocaching app

Geocaching is a free app that takes you on a treasure hunt around your city. You use GPS to find hidden containers. When you find them, you can sign the log book and exchange trinkets. There are over two million geocaches in 185 countries around the world. Just download the app to see if there any geocaches near you. Then you and your date can start the hunt!

8. Make your own photo or Snapchat story

Get creative with your date by curating a photo or Snapchat story of your day. You can be as artsy or silly as you want, and you’ll end up with a fun collection of mementos from your wanderings. Well, the Snapchats won’t last long, but you get the idea.

9. Netflix and chill (no subtext intended)

Euphemisms aside, you and your date can binge on that Netflix show you’ve been meaning to watch. Maybe you can even get your hands on a projector to set up a home movie theater experience. Don’t forget the popcorn.

10. Browse a flea, food, or farmer’s market

Track down a bustling marketplace, and spend the day combing through antiques or sampling food. You’re bound to find some unique items and conversation starters.

11. Gather ingredients for a picnic

Instead of going out to dinner with your date, plan a picnic. Grab some groceries and a picnic blanket, pick a pretty spot to snack and get to know each other.

12. Look for free hours at a local museum

Lots of art museums offer free entrance during a certain window every week. Look around to see if any local museums offer free entrance. You can also look around for any free tours, fairs, festivals, or brewery tours going on in your city.

13. Rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboat

Do you live near a river or lake? Boat rentals tend to be cheap, and you can keep them for the whole day. Getting on the water gets you out of the ordinary without much expense.

14. Use Groupon for dinner or a show

Groupon has a discount for everything, from restaurants to pottery painting. It even offers a date night package.

Cheap date night ideas are a smart money move

These cheap date ideas aren’t just fun, they can also transform your budget. One major rule of personal finance is to spend less than you earn. On your next date, try these ideas so you can funnel your money in other directions. You’ll take control of your spending while having unforgettable experiences with your date.

For more on how to save for retirement in your 20s, check out this useful guide. If you’re dealing with student loan debt, you should also read this article on how to pay off student loans fast.

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Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
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& Graduate

Visit Earnest

1.89% – 5.90%2Undergrad
& Graduate

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2.25% – 6.09%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.89% – 6.77%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

2.39% – 6.01%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

1.99% – 5.41%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of July 31, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 7/31/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.


2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

All credit products are subject to credit approval.

Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.

As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

  1. Checking your rate with Laurel Road only requires a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
  2. Savings vary based on rate and term of your existing and refinanced loan(s). Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Review your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
  3. After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship. During any period of forbearance interest will continue to accrue. At the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized and be added to the remaining principle amount of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment (“AutoPay”) Discount: if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster.

Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.

Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.

Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.

KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

This information is current as of September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
 


3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 2.99% APR to 6.09% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.09% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.25% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.18% plus 2.32% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. See eligibility details. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. 

4 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.

The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of September 10, 2020.


5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. ‍All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.16% effective August 10, 2020.

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.