Home Dating & Relationships Dating Twenty Cheap or Free Summer Dates

Twenty Cheap or Free Summer Dates

Nothing better than chicken, but some free chicken.

Men are always complaining about how much it costs to take women on dates. They don’t have money for frivolous spending on dates and going out to eat. Ironically, they have plenty of money for video games, gadgets, beer and bar food, but that’s neither here nor there. One of the great things about the summer is that you have the ability to save money by taking your date out. By out I mean, outside. Along with today’s fresh mix from Carver The Great, I’ve jotted down one of my renowned long lists. This one is called, “Twenty Cheap or Free Summer Dates.”

Today’s Mix, fresh from Carver The Great is Summertime Fly Vol. 2:

1. Free Concerts and Festivals – The summer brings you an excellent chance to visit outdoor venues for free or inexpensive dates at a concert or local festival. It’s one of the few dates where you can’t say you didn’t do anything. Most of these are listed in your local paper.

2. Movies in the park – There will be “Movies on the Lawn” in just about every city in America. Pick up your local paper and find the one nearest you.

Why not a shameless plug?

3. Ice Cream – Instead of dinner, skip the appetizer, entrees and drinks and head straight for dessert. Visit your nearest Cold Stone, then take a stroll and save a ton of money.

4. Go for a bike ride – When we were kids, “riding bikes” was the most fun you could have on a summer day. Rent or borrow a couple of bikes and explore.

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5. Go on a hike – Most parks are free and have excellent hiking trails. If there’s one in your area, or a few miles away, I would totally recommend you take advantage of this inexpensive date.

6. Words With Friends – This doesn’t even require that you are in the same place. Set up a date to play WWF and on the side you can share some conversation in the chat section.

7. Karaoke – Bobby Brown once said, “All we need is a stage.” He couldn’t have been more right. There’s tons of karaoke bars, find one and you shall find fun.

8. Picnic – Groceries will always be cheaper than eating out. If you grab a blanket, some Tupperware and some adult beverages, you can turn your picnic game all the way up.

9. The beach or pool – It costs you nothing to spend a few hours lying out in the sun. You guys can do some reading or just spend a couple hours chatting it up.

10. Watch a movie on your iPad – There’s thousands of free material online these days. You can download a box office hit onto your iPad and you have an instant movie theater.

11. Volunteering – Why not take advantage of the weather by giving back to the community. This is a great way to spend time with your date and feel good about doing it.

12. Stargazing – The stars are at their clearest in the summer. Check the weather forecast for a clear night, grab a blanket and stargaze for hours.

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13. Pick some fruit – Find a local strawberry or cherry farm and go out and harvest some fruit for yourselves. Finish it off with a bottle of champagne and you’re winning for a little over the cost of a bottle of wine.

14. Wash your whip – This sounds like a ridiculous idea until you actually think about it. Don’t think about the work aspect; think about the fact that you’re both wet, soapy and in the mood for horseplay.

15. Crash somebody’s cookout – Cookout crashing is not as easy as it sounds. You have to find a way to show up, bring absolutely nothing and then get into the flow of things. The best way to do this is to immediately go to the Spades table and say you have next. People won’t interrupt you while you’re playing cards.

16. Window shopping – My boy didn’t have money for a date but he really liked the girl. I told him, he should take her to West Elm and decorate their imaginary apartment. He thought I was playing, I’ve done this at least six times and won.

17. Go camping – I know, I know… not everybody likes the outdoors. However, there’s no better feeling than it being just you, your significant other and the great outdoors. Now that’s quality time together.

18. Have a photo-shoot – Grab your cameras, pick a park or excellent backdrop and meet to take some pictures of each other.

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19. Pull the menu from an expensive restaurant and make the entrée yourself – Many of the premiere restaurants will turn over their menus for the summer. Pick up a new menu and spend an evening trying to duplicate the recipe with your date.

20. Reverse the date – Start off with brunch (cheaper than dinner), then catch a matinee (cheaper than regular prices) and finish off the date back in bed.

If you guys are wondering how these lists are made, I’ve always just asked people to send me their ideas on a topic. I rarely use Twitter, most times I try and ask a broad representation of people ranging from bougie to ratchet. I think today’s list had me rolling because some of these ideas when explained to me in full detail, they actually made sense. If you’re still having problems trying to date on a budget after this date, face it, you don’t like the girl.

See... the way my bank account is set up...

This is the part of the show where women hit up that guy they haven’t been able to get to do anything and tell him about himself.

What about y’all, do you have any ideas you’d like to add? Any thoughts on summer dating in general? And yes, do the ladies really buy it when a guy says he’s too broke to date? You’ve always got to make your decision if you’re the “date girl” or the “come over and chill girl,” word to NC17.



  1. Omg I love this!!! Im a woman and each idea made me excited. I love smart men and budgeting is pure intelligence

  2. I thought all these ideas were yours at first! I was like, "Gon' head, boy! Dr. Jay might could get a date!" Lol. I definitely like this list, especially the Day Date. That brunch/matinee combo is a win!

    And no, I don't buy it when a guy says he's too broke to date, because I'm a cheap date. *shrug* I'm just glad that you took the time and effort to have a plan at all. As long as we're not hanging out at your house, I'm pretty much happy. As far as ideas, I went on a date at a park and we ended up playing kickball and volleyball with the kids there. I had sooo much fun. I've also had dates at billiard halls, skating rinks… I'm not opposed to meeting friends/family early on because I get along with most people, so I don't mind group outings either.
    My recent post Awesome First Dates [That I've Never Been On]

  3. as someone too broke to date, lol….even i have plans, just gotta work with your budget, and think about what you'd like to do…and invite her to do it with you…and some examples were given in the post.

    but for me, i'm a bowler…so i'd probably take dates to different alleys.

    also, don't sleep on livingsocial coupons.

  4. Play words with friends with the phones up, all trust *jigga voice* As a dollarnaire i can appreciate this post. I have done most on this list. Also i’ve

    21. People Watching- Forget birds, forget whales its much easier to head somewhere and make fun of my own species.

    22. Babysitting- My nephew has sealed the deal for me on few occasions #clutchgene (although he’ll be 5 soon and is starting to name drop might need a new one). Kids are also good comic relief also the best part it shows me in a good (temporary) light.

    23. Coffee shops/Bookstores- Especially now the college kids are gone (did I just say that i feel old) bookstores are a nice spot to go and dont have to buy a thing, free A/C and plenty of icebreakers

    24. Newbury comics- See Bookstore

    thats all i got *steps out doing Broke Phi Broke chant*

    1. #23 is where i like to go for a 1st date! You find out all you need to know about your date like what they like to read(if they read) what type of music they like, and how open they are to your interests. Also there is usually a snack bar so you can grab a cheap meal as well!

  5. Museums!! I'm spoiled because I live in DC and most of the museums are free and I love to just wander through and chat, or check out a new exhibit and take advantage of the air conditioning. I also think the zoo is a great date since I'm a biologist and nerd by nature. A lot of people don't think they would like the zoo, but end up having fun.

    1. Stamped! museums in DC are definitely a winner for a good hangout date. I would also mention just walking around on the national mall in the evening time when the sun is not on full blast. Overall, very good list.

    2. Have you seen what they're doing over at the Hirshhorn Museum? It's awesome. Great light show. Also, I love the Air & Space Museum along with Natural History.

      1. I haven't but I'll be sure to go if you recommend it. Natural History is my hands down favorite. They always have a cool new exhibit, and you definitely need a few trips to see it all.

  6. "he should take her to West Elm and decorate their imaginary apartment."
    Dead, dead, DEAD!!!!!
    I am all about the dessert date life. <delete>and since I've started dating these lazy-ass millenials I have to come up with the date ideas any way<delete> It's a great no-pressure first date, and if it goes well, you can always do drinks or tapas after.
    All of the botanical gardens/zoos in NY have a "free before 10 am" policy, and it's a great thing to do before the kids get there. I also really love "nothingdays" (not great for a first date, you need a bit of chemistry for this) where we research the latest "up and coming" neighborhood, go there and just walk around with no plan. You might catch a few open-houses, find a new hole-in-the-wall, bump into a block party or street fair, or just have a great day walking and talking.

  7. Dr. J, this is the sweetest list! It seems so intimate…to me. My bf reads the posts…but Imma make sure he read this one, lol.

    P.S. – IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *tosses confetti up and runs around in it*

  8. I think these are all great except the iPad one. It assumes that just any and everyone has an iPad. Buh?

    But guess what?

    I'm posting this from my iPad.


    But seriously, are there any posts about time management? Money isn't a big factor, but I just don't feel like I've got time to date the way I probably need to date. I don't even feel like I've got time to plan a date.

    1. I definitely agree, but what I do is try to go on dates during the week and who says you can't set up more than one date on the weekends? That's the best and most efficient way to hangout with potentials.

    2. I'm pretty sure Slim Jackson has a post around here somewhere about Time Management, but that's a good suggestion.

  9. Playlist for today's mix:

    1. Dear Summer by Jay-Z

    2. Summer Wit Miami by Jim Jones & Trey Songz

    3. Indian Summer by Nicolay

    4. Kissin’ You Remix by Total & Diddy

    5. Rock The Boat by Aaliyah

    6. Adorn by Miguel

    7. Lovely by John West & Pusha T

    8. Middle Of The Summer by Meek Mill

    9. Summer Time by Fresh Prince & DJ Jazzy Jeff

    10. Summer Love by Justin Timberlake

    11. Back & Forth by Aaliyah & R. Kelly

    12. Best Of Me by Jay-Z & Mya

    13. Loungin’ Remix by LL Cool J & Total

    14. Around The Way Girl by LL Cool J

    15. Outstanding by Gap Band

    16. Best I Ever Had Remix by Beyonce & Lil Jon

    17. Before I Let Go by Frankie Beverly & Maze

    18. Candy by Cameo

    19. Kiss by Prince

    20. PYT by Michael Jackson

    21. California Gurls by Katy Perry & Snoop Dogg

    1. That's how my ex felt before we went. But we went early, before all the kids got there and strolled through, avoiding the particularly funky animals, like the apes. The animals are really fun in the morning/early afternoon when they're just getting up, being fed and haven't had kids banging on their enclosures for the last few hours lol. You should try it!

  10. This list is a definite win… if you can't find anything on this list entertaining then something is truly wrong with you.

    Great Post 🙂

  11. "If you’re still having problems trying to date on a budget after this date, face it, you don’t like the girl." Or the dude isn't into these types of things, or he just wants to hit and doesn't want to do anything or go anywhere unless it involves you cooking, and/or in the bed en la casa………that seems to be the problem sometimes.
    Very very very impnt when dating to find someone who truly likes to do many of the same things you do.
    Unfortunately though u have some guys who are just "avg Joe's" and are quite content to do nothing more than chill at home watching movies most of the time.

  12. This is a damn good list though Doc J. I'm one of those people who can always find inexpensive, and free stuff to do. Where you live I guess makes a difference. But thats what I love about living in a fairly big Metro like DC or Philly or epecially if you live in NY. You can Always find inexpensive stuff to do in these cities. Summertime is the best time for dating because there is literally always something to do and there are lots of deals. Another thing to do is subscribe to online deals and coupons. My favs are Groupon and Capitol Deals. Always read the paper as often as u can because there is always something in the newspaper tellin you whats goin on for the weekend.

  13. Oh and camping, and the pool may be a little much for your avg typical sista…..remember the hair gots to stay in tact yall…..lol
    As for windown shopping, for most women that just leads to unecessary purchases and spending money that you really don't have…….dangerous!

  14. And what exactly is Words with Friends???? thats a new one.
    My date idea's are:
    The zoo
    The aquarium
    some type of city tour
    playing board games or any type of game like twister or something fun
    Goin to a friends house party (even though I don't think folks still have house parties and "sets" because I haven't been to one in a minute.
    Ladies – take him to your girlfriends or female family members sex toy party
    Fella's – take her to your sisters or female family members sex toy party
    A wedding and reception – yes someone took me to a wedding on a date and I had a ball.
    Play a sport together like tennis, raquetball or softball. Have your date participate if your on a team.
    Work out together.

  15. If your really into the person and like them and enjoy spending time with them and want something long term and you aren't just dating just to date or for an fwb type thing then it makes sense that you should include the person your dating into your lifestyle, after the initial first few getting to know you dates. This is what helps you see how well the person flows with your life and if they are a good fit for you and your lifestyle.

    1. Yeah you can actually do cooking classes, mixology classes… all types of classes. My boy took a girl to a dance class as a first date once.

  16. *organizes suprise SBM party for Cyn*

    I've never done anything on this list; for that matter I don't think I've even been on a date before — BUT!…

    I have done some of this with my female bestie/groups of friends/with my father. Maybe had I moved or been allowed to be near my boyfriends I would've gotten to do stuff like this but I just got to do practice tasks lol.


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