Contrary to popular belief you can still be quite the lothario or bombshell in the dating world even if you are on budget. Try and tell a hipster this and they will fall right out of their thrift store loafers. "But I can't take you out on a date. I'm broke. I'm a starving artist, man. I'm working for my craft not for the man." So then the best you can hope for is some "found art modern bullshit" they made inspired by you and a text invite to "Netflix and Chill." I think that most of us want more, need more, deserve MORE! So even though I haven't had a paycheck that would cover more than the tax and tip on a fancy steak dinner since I left the corporate world to become a touring stand up comic, there are DEFINITELY ways to woo the woman ( or man ) of your dreams and not be forced to sell plasma. What I have done is compile a list of several free and super cheap date ideas for all you who are low on funds but high on hormones. I think it is best to let your potential lover know you are dating on dimes so they don't just think you are cheap. Make it an adventure and they may surprise and come up with some of their own thrifty ideas to spice up the night. Some of these are only available in Charlotte where I live, but will probably have similar offers in any city. Enjoy!
Terrific Taco Tuesday at La Unica in Plaza Midwood
So you have to pay a little extra for cheese or sour cream and such but seriously you can get out of here with 2 or 3 tacos a piece plus all the chips and AMAZING salsa you can eat for under $10 including tip. My favorite is the Salsa Verde which sometimes you have to ask for, but it is still free. If you go early in the day no one will probably want to order booze, which is a wallet drain! Just stop by the ABC store and Harris Teeter on the way home. Mix some limeade and tequila and you'll be saying DIOS MIO! by nightfall.
Aria $5 Bar Bites and a $5 movie plus snacks and after dinner aperitif
This is my favorite restaurant in uptown Charlotte. It's right in the center of all the action and big buildings. It's also across from the epicenter where the Studio Cinema Grill has a $5 groupon for movies before 5pm. I suggest the movie first. Stop in at CVS in the bottom of the Epicenter, pick up 4 pack of Barefoot wine and a couple boxes of candy. Now you're at $6 tops. Use your groupon for a movie. Obviously the scary ones are best so you can hold hands when you get scared. Then Aria has a DELICIOUS menu of select items that are $5 if you sit at the bar to eat. I have had such orgasmic plates like gnocchi with Gorgonzola pear sauce with prosciutto, lamb feta sliders, calamari, and even personal pizzas. I can eat a lot and I usually take a small box home especially since you get bread as well. Again DO NOT DRINK AT THE BAR. Alcohol makes us all a little loose and comfortable. It lowers inhibitions and makes you feel confident and sexy. This is why it is a go to when meeting new people or dating.
I KNOW. I wrote the book. Well the blog. But if you are not still feeling a little buzz from your movie wine then just wait until after dinner and you can make what I like to call a beercino. Fill a Starbucks or similar coffee cup with PBR or your favorite tall boy. You can split one can two ways. Then you can walk around uptown and enjoy the lights while you sip your budget beer. Hopeful this is seen as romantic and cute and not cheap.
Harris Teeter $4.99 Foot long sub + 2 Buck Chuck + Freedom Park = bonerville
Ok so we all know Harris Teeter has those pretty delicious subs at the deli they will make to order. You may even know that on Tuesday you can pick whatever 6 inch you want for the special price of $3.49. BUT did you know on Fridays you get a foot long for only $4.99?! Swing over to Trader Joe's and grab a bottle of 2 Buck Chuck ( $2.99 technically) and you have a perfect picnic for the park. Right now you are only at 8 bucks so feel free to grab some grapes or chips to add to the meal. Don't forget a bottle opener and some cups unless you want to drink from the bottle in a "rustic" manner. You can substitute out Harris Teeter for Publix and get whatever deal they have. It may not be as good but still better than some generic sub shop. You can also ditch Freedom Park and go for the new, gorgeous Romare Beardon park uptown near the Knights Baseball Park. After splitting a bottle of wine you can walk and talk or go straight to "their place" sometimes us starving artists have roomates or parents lurking so go to a nearby garage uptown and you can "park". Yes a grown woman in her 30s just told you to make out in a car after drinking $2 wine and I bet it will be one of the best times of your life.
I will continue to update this list with my finds and YOUR suggestions so stay tuned!