Valentine’s Day without a fortune

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, many students may be looking to woo that special someone. Problems tend to arise when one attempts to play Cupid on the traditional shoestring operating budget of most students. However, with a little creativity and a little effort, a date under $20 is a definite possibility. The following is a list of five examples of local options for cheap dining and entertainment.

1. Brunch. It is much less expensive to eat breakfast foods than it is to have lunch or dinner. Perkins offers inexpensive breakfasts such as omelets and pancakes. They come with hash browns or breakfast potatoes and three pancakes, a muffin or toast. Two “The Build Your Own Omelet” platters with two ingredients will cost $17.19 with tax.

2. Picnic lunch. Go to the grocery store, make some sandwiches at home, or if laziness takes over, go to one of the local sandwich shops. Grab a Frisbee, a ball and a blanket and have a picnic at Riverfront Park. After lunch get physical on the Frisbee golf course or play catch. Before trying to play Frisbee golf, check out for a complete set of rules and directions, or just go out and try getting the disc into the targets.

3. Matinee movie. Those who attend movies before 3 p.m. can snag a discounted rate. Matinee pricing falls just after lunchtime, so eat at home before the date. Two tickets will cost $13.50. Grab a snack with the left over $6.50. French fries or a slice of cheese pizza will keep it cheap. If a drink is needed, courtesy cups of water are free at movie theaters.

4. Appetizers for two. Applebee’s and other chain restaurants offer samplers that include a variety of options. The Appetizer Sampler with tax and tip is going to be about $14.14. Bennigan’s and Chili’s have similar menu items that will help in saving the green.

5. The easiest way to keep the date under $20 is to have the date at home. Keep it simple or make it fancy. For an easy fancy dinner, go to the Dollar Tree and get some candles and a tablecloth. Take a trip to the grocery store and buy a package of spaghetti, one jar of red sauce and a pound of ground hamburger or turkey. Cook the meat first, drain the grease, and put it and the sauce back into the pan. Slowly heat the sauce with the meat while the pasta is cooking and serve. After dinner, watch a rented movie or play a board game.

Extra tips to save money on dates

*Only drink water. Most places offer water for free. Sodas will kill the budget.

*Don’t order alcohol out anywhere. It’s much cheaper to drink at home.

*To save money on gas, keep the date close to campus.