It’s that time of year again- warm summer days and long evenings firing up the grill for a cookout. Between weddings and vacations, the summer season can get expensive pretty quickly, and it’s easy for dates to take the first hit.

When it comes to dating on a budget, there’s no better time of year to spend quality time together without spending a fortune. Here are 3 of my favorite summer dates that won’t break the bank:

Farmers Market Mornings

With summer in full swing so are farmers markets. Odds are your city has a farmers market, even if it’s small, and that it will be open on the weekends. Unlike the mall or other shopping ventures, the farmers market is a great way to browse around together. Go earlier in the day and grab a coffee as you walk around, exploring the goods your local farmers market has to offer. If you do end up making a purchase on locally grown foods, it’s likely to be less expensive and more practical, which you could use to cook dinner together later that night.

Dog Days of Summer

Dogs and puppies make for the best dates, especially if you’re just getting to know each other. With a dog around, things are less likely to get awkward, and there will always be plenty to talk about, even if you just end up chatting about the dog. Every Sunday my boyfriend and I take my dog for a walk in one of the many parks where we live. Each week we try to switch it up and try a new park or trail, so we’re experiencing something new, getting plenty of exercise, and, obviously, my dog is a huge fan too. Grab a beer on a dog-friendly patio or beer garden afterward to cool down.

If you or your significant other doesn’t have a dog, you could always borrow one. Seriously! Ask your friends with dogs if you could walk it for an afternoon, and I promise they’ll be eternally grateful. It’s one less to-do item to check off their list!

Festival Feels

Music festivals, especially the popular ones, cost big bucks. Don’t let the big-ticket festivals keep you from exploring smaller festivals. Many food or drink festivals are free or very cheap. While you’re there, you can usually sample some snacks along the way. Summer is prime time for cooking festivals, art shows, and even some local music festivals with lesser-known bands. It’s a great chance to get out of the usual and expensive “dinner and a movie” rut while also trying something new.

Every season offers something unique and a chance for seasonal specific memories! The key is making the most of your time and money, but don’t get so hung up on planning the date that you miss the whole point: spending time together.