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  • UNITE Editorial

Six Date Ideas for Broke College Students

With how expensive everything is in Singapore, dating can seem like a headache. But there's actually a whole array of free (or almost free) and fun activities that you can have with your partner. Instead of Netflix and chill, why not try out these thrifty yet unique date ideas!

1 // Have a splash at Jurong East Swimming Complex

When the term "swimming complex" is brought up, you might be thinking of the usual rectangular pools and carefully drawn-up swimming lanes. But Jurong East Swimming Complex actually has three spiral water slides, a huge wave pool, and a lazy river!


Water parks are usually pegged as places for family fun. However, they're also great places to have a splash as a couple. The trip may cost you few dollars, or even nothing at all. Think of it as a budget Wild Wild Wet or Adventure Cove. While it doesn't have the exact same ambience, it's definitely much, much cheaper.

Head here for more information.

2 // Check Out Free Workshops and Events by NParks

Craft workshops are the Hot New Thing, and they're frequently touted as the perfect date idea for introverts. But with most workshops costing three digits, the price may seem downright staggering.

Fortunately, NParks regularly holds a wide variety of free workshops, such as nature art, yoga, pouch-making, and birdwatching. It's evident too that these workshops are not just for young kids, so feel free to make it into a date idea.

There's also other free events to choose from, such as picnics with live music, free movie screenings, concerts, and festivals. Plus, there's plenty of guided tours too - which gives an informative twist to any eco-friendly date.

Credit: NParks

If you wish to go DIY, there’s a whole range of mapped-out hiking trails for you to try. A long walk with plenty of time to chat, surely makes for a chill weekend trip with your date. Head here for a list of upcoming events!

3 // Get Discounted Dinner Dates with DateIdeas, Chope and NUStyle

Maybe you’re not that sure of your date’s interests yet, or maybe you just want to play it safe. With the standard dinner date, you’d have to expect a price, because free food is really hard to find. Nonetheless, there are plenty of ways to cut down the cost.

There’s always lots of food promotions going on around the island, but it can get challenging to keep track of them all. Check out the DateIdeas Telegram channel, which regularly recommends worthy food promotions and other discounted events while you’re on the go. Also check out Chope, which has plenty of 1-for-1 deals if you book through their website.


There’s also NUStyle, which recommends all sorts of student discounts, particularly for food and beverages. With that, you can make use of being a NUS student to grab cheaper food, cheaper shoes, and even cheaper dental.

Whether you’re going dutch or footing the bill, food discounts can go a long way in stretching your dollar at a dinner date.

4 // Eat and Play at Esplanade

The Esplanade is no doubt well-known to most locals. But for anyone unfamiliar with it (perhaps a few exchange students), it’s an arts venue with plenty of free performances, live music, workshops, and interactive exhibits.


Programmes and events at the Esplanade change regularly. Its visual arts space, Jendela, also changes regularly in its theme. The roof terrace provides a spectacular view of the skyline, and it is often a quieter part of the Esplanade. Simply chill out or picnic at that spot in the evening, to give your date a perfectly romantic atmosphere.

5 // Check Out Free, Interactive Exhibits at Substation

Like the Esplanade, Substation is an arts venue, but it is the lesser-known, hipster counterpart. It also differs from the Esplanade in many ways, for example, it has a particular focus on Singaporean culture. The arts centre is also known for its uniquely interactive art gallery, as well as its theatre and dance studio.

Credit: The Substation

The Substation has plenty of highly interactive (and free) experiences that require registration, as there are limited slots to ensure the interactivity. If your date is into the arts and an atmosphere of mystery, this makes for a great outing - just make sure to plan ahead.

6 // Attend Free Lectures and Events by NUS Itself

Credit: NUS Centre For the Arts

Surprising as it might sound, I read NUS’s ‘spam’ mail. Or maybe I’m just a nerd. But take a cursory look at the titles (as opposed to mass-deleting all of them) and you might find free fun events all over campus. There are free movie screenings, interesting lectures/seminars with dinner provided, plus various festivals and events by our many school clubs. Attending these events is also a great way to know about clubs and interest groups you might have missed out on during orientation.

There are other way to find out about NUS events, include the event brochures at CLB, the posters around campus, and of course, browsing the NUS-related websites. Joining a club with your partner is a nice way to spend more time with them. For events such as film discussions and study group sessions, those are great ways to bond with a more intellectual partner.

Got A Free, Fun Idea? Tell Us More

Drop your own ideas in the comments, so others can find out too. And if you had no idea where to go for a thrifty date, hopefully this article was a bit of help. As most of these activities are highly seasonal and change regularly, make sure to check ahead and plan ahead.

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