Dear Adam,

I want to do something romantic with my special friend, but I'm broke. Do you have any ideas?


Dear Muffin,

(For the sake of this discussion, I'm going to assume “special friend” means “girl or guy you're totally hot for.”)

So you're cheap and in need of dating advice. You came to the right place. It might be hard to believe, but I was once in your position. Then a little thing called The AS Review turned my life around. I hope the same can happen for you.

Let's review some traditional inexpensive and romantic dates first. Sure, you could always go down to Film is Truth and rent a nice foreign movie, but who wants to waste their time reading subtitles? Not you, my friend. Of course, there's the farmer's market on Saturdays—if you're into getting up early on the weekend just to stand around in the cold, that is. No, Muffin, put these silly notions out of your mind and listen to this expert's solutions:

Go to Red Robin and pretend it's your birthday.

What's more romantic than driving out to Bellis Fair, hanging out in a family restaurant and getting a mediocre dessert? Getting that mediocre dessert for free. Plus, the wait staff will serenade you with their copyright-law-evading version of “Happy Birthday.” Sure, you might not immediately impress your date, but wait till their eyes twinkle with the complementary candlelight.

Send your date on a scavenger hunt.

Remember back in high school when you thought it was cute and clever to ask your significant other to the dance with a series of increasingly complicated and time-consuming tasks? Your date is bound to enjoy a trip down memory lane when you send them on this quest. Some items you might want to include on the list: this week's groceries, a photo of them mailing your bills, that library book you need for a paper due tomorrow, etc. Just think how happy your special friend will be to see you after a hard day's work.

Check out the wildlife at the Feed and Seed on Railroad.

Zoos are great places for a romantic encounter. (Who can forget the zoo scene in “The Graduate” where Dustin Hoffman's character so successfully woos Mrs. Robinson's daughter?) Unfortunately, Bellingham doesn't have one. What we do have, though, is the Feed and Seed on Railroad Ave. Goldfish, hamsters, plant food—you name it, they may or may not have it. They've got a pretty good deal on rakes, too.

Enjoy the Horseshoe Cafe's pie happy hour.

Every day, the Shoe features pie happy hour from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Need I say more?

Ride the night shuttle indefinitely.

You're already paying for the shuttle with your student fees, so why don't you take advantage of it? A few laps around the City of Subdued Excitement will get that special boy or girl going like nothing else. (Just make sure to keep your voice down in the York neighborhood. Nothing ruins a date like angry homeowners.) The shuttle runs until 3 a.m., so if the rest of your night doesn't work out, at least you'll have a ride home.

If none of these ideas are to your liking, you could always just hit up the Blue Book for coupons. Coupons are awesome. Or, you could order a meal at some nice restaurant and complain about the food until they comp it for you. At least it'll be a good story to tell your kids.

One last tip: No one likes a cheapskate. So when you're asking this person out, make up something about how special they are, and you can't put a price on how you feel about them. Just remember to be yourself—except the broke part—and your special friend will appreciate the effort.

Yours in cheap dates,


Got a question? Want to get an expert's advice on it? Send any and all questions to, and Adam will do his darnedest to help you out.