Let’s Fall in Love – On a Budget

10 date night ideas under $25 in Muncie.

There’s something about being young and in love. 

It’s the thrill of getting to know someone’s interests, quirks, and personality that makes dating in college fun. With a mixture of new found independence and maturity, college is a place where love creeps in and out as students navigate hookups and relationships. 

When a relationship does start to blossom in college, it can be easy to get swept up in studies and social life and forget about an element of dating that makes a relationship flourish. 

Date night. 

Going on dates during a relationship is crucial in strengthening communication, increasing intimacy, and staying committed to a partner, according to Daniel Dashnaw, a marriage and family therapist and editor for Couples Therapy Inc.  

Despite the importance, going on dates as a college student may be a challenge if the cost of school, housing, groceries, and other necessities are your responsibility. 

Several college students work either full time or part time if they are in charge of covering any expenses. 

According to the Urban Institute, in 2015-2016, 41% of full-time college students had a part-time job. For full-time, dependent students with jobs, they made an average income of $3,900 that year. For students who fall under independent, they averaged an income of $13,880. 

Managing any financial responsibility and going on dates with your significant other can quickly become a stressful, financial burden.

However, it’s possible to be money cautious and still spend special time with a partner.

No matter what the season, there are affordable date night ideas waiting for you and your partner in Muncie. 

A Summer of Love – Summer Date Ideas

1. Build a bouquet at Barnside Blooms 

Estimated price: $7.50 – $20.50 

Spend time with your significant other by picking out flowers to make your very own, unique bouquet. Located south of Muncie, Barnside Blooms offers an array of flowers for bouquet-making. Whether you add some sweet thai, pampas plume, or strawberry fields, spend some time under the sun, crafting a colorful arrangement. 

(I wouldn’t add the Love Lies Bleeding flower, though.) 

Ball State students and couple Paloma Sutter and Devin Holmes visited Barnside Blooms earlier this year and recommended it as a date spot. 

“The weather was super nice and there was a huge variety of flowers still there,” Devin saysid. “The people were very friendly and even offered to take our picture for us.” 

While their 2022 opening day for cut flowers and bouquets has yet to be announced, the farm had their opening day on June 26, 2021 last year. 

2. Fun at fair

Estimated price:  $5 for parking, $2 per person for admission for each person in the car, walk-in admission is $3

From July 18-23, grab your significant other and head to the Delaware County Fair. Checkout the exotic pet show, fair rides, and all of the funnel cakes during this classic summer date idea. 

3. Cozy up for a concert on the green

Estimated price: Free 

Catch a free concert with your partner at the Yorktown Civic Green. The Yorktown Chamber of Commerce is putting on 10 free concerts this summer in their downtown area. At 6 p.m., hit the food trucks and cash bar (for those 21+) and enjoy the concert at 7 p.m. Spend your date night enjoying live music and each other. 

2022 Concert on the Green performers:

5/20/22 – Mike Milligan and Steam Shovel

06/03/22 – GrooveSmash

06/17/22 – Big Roscoe & The Hammers

07/15/22 – Andrew Young

07/29/22 – My Yellow Rickshaw

08/05/22 – Southridge

08/20/22 – Indy Annies

09/10/22 – Toy Factory

09/24/22 – JamBox

10/01/22 – Stella Luna

Ball State students and couple Paloma Sutter and Devin Holmes visiting Barnside Blooms with their bouquet built. Photo provided by Paloma Sutter.

Fall Deeper for Each Other – Fall Date Ideas

4. Pumpkin patch date

Estimated price: $16

Once the leaves start to turn orange, it’s time for all things pumpkin. What’s more classic than a pumpkin patch? Checkout Landess Farm in Daleville. Their “Fall Fun on the Farm” special will run from September 19 – October 31, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday – Friday. Admission is only $8 per person, making this date affordable for students. A ticket will get you a small pumpkin, hayride, and an unlimited pass to their corn maze. Checkout the patch and get lost in the corn maze with your special someone.  

Cold Hands, Warm Hearts – Winter Date Ideas

5. Go on an enchanted walk at Minnetrista

Estimated price: Free

Bundle up and grab your partner’s hand for the enchanted luminaria walk at Minnetrista. Start the winter season off looking at twinkling lights with good company. This free event will take place on December 2 and 3 from 6-9 p.m.


Couple and Ball State seniors Mason Mast and Dalton Dietrich on a date together. Photo provided by Mason Mast.

Love Blooms – Spring Date Ideas

6. Picnic with your partner

Estimated price: $20-25

Enjoy the return of spring weather on a picnic date. Make your own charcuterie board with your favorite meats, cheeses, fruits or other foods to craft your own unique snack. For couples that are 21+ and willing to spend another $5-10, add your favorite inexpensive wine. 

365 Days of Love – Year Round 

7. Date at DOMA

Estimated price: Free 

What’s more romantic than looking at art with your very own muse by your side? The David Owsley Museum of Art is open to the public year-round, closing only on holidays and important university dates. While it’s closed on Sundays and Mondays, visiting DOMA is the perfect date idea if you’re planning something last minute and haven’t had payday yet. The museum features a variety of collections and exhibits to see. 

Jericho Barr-Redmond, left, and Noelle Byrer, right, look into each other’s eyes in the ballroom of the David Owsley Museum of Art, Wednesday, April 6, 2022 in Muncie, Ind. Katie Catterall, Ball Bearings Magazine.

8. Explore the farmer’s market at Minnetrista 

Estimated price: Free 

On every third Saturday of the month, Minnetrista hosts Muncie’s farmers market. You and your significant other can explore the outdoor market from May – October and the indoor market November – April. Full of local vendors, the farmer’s market is the perfect way to get out in the community while making a date out of it.

9. Hit the Thrift

Estimated price: Free 

Spend the day checking out some local thrift stores with your partner. Pick out an outfit for each other or make up background stories for the different items you find. This date idea is great for simple fun and it’s free, unless you pick something out, of course. Stop by the two Attic Window thrift locations for a special Muncie thrift experience. 

10. Go to the Greenhouse

Estimated price: Free 

Full of events all year, the Dr. Joe and Alice Rinard Orchid Greenhouse is a great place to spend time with your partner while being surrounded by flowers and greenery. Take home a succulent in May and sample tropical-inspired dishes made by Ball State’s culinary students in November. 

For Ball State senior Mason Mast, being a busy college student is something he feels shouldn’t stop couples from finding personalized date ideas that work for them and their partner. His partner, Ball State senior Dalton Dietrich agrees. 

“Dates allow the opportunity to escape reality for even the smallest amount of time to just be together as a couple and show that your relationship is a priority,” Dalton says.

For Mason and Dalton, they do homework, binge watch shows and movies, have picnics, and dinner together to keep their relationship exciting and change their scenery every once in a while. 

The couple has also shared their two favorite obsessions with one another.

“I’ve become a huge fan of Drag Race and we will be seeing some famous queens on tour later this year,” Mason says. “Similarly, Dalton has started sharing articles about Marvel theories and doing his own research and obsessing before we go to movie premieres together.” 

For every couple, there’s the perfect, affordable date night option waiting for them. It’s just a matter of finding a time and place where they come together and spend time growing their relationship.