The classic “dinner and a movie” date has spawned a new meaning—four McDoubles from the dollar menu and a movie from Redbox. This is not the most romantic date, but it is an easy alternative to the high-priced theater.
The cost of going to a movie can quickly add up to as much money you make in one day; that is if you have a job. Despite the high prices, you decide to go regardless and will soon face the consequences.
Two tickets, one large popcorn and a large drink will have you thinking about how much money you just spent. Forget washing down your popcorn with a drink.
Many college students are faced with the same problem—they don’t have enough money to go out on a date. There are ways you can compensate for what you lack in your pants.
1. Cheap Movies
Tinseltown is not the only place to watch a movie in Chico. After high ticket prices and expensive food at the concession stand you may ask yourself, “is it really worth it?” No, it is not worth it. There are other theaters where you can have more fun.
The El Rey Theatre located downtown, shows classic movies every Tuesday for only $2. Aside from the cheap ticket prices, El Rey also has cheap refreshments, among these, beer! Cheap prices and lax rules attract Chico residents like 24-year-old Seth Silvera.
“When else can you go to a movie, drink a beer and not worry about getting kicked out. It’s awesome,” Silvera said.
The ultimate reward you get at the end of the night is knowing that Tuesday was a success and you are one day closer to the weekend.
Slightly farther from downtown, but just as much fun, the Pageant Theatre is another place to watch a cheap movie. “Cheap Skate Monday” is a perfect for a date night—tickets are only $3.
Before the movie, you can hang out at Café Flo and enjoy coffee, beer, or wine. Drink as much as you can before the movie, then order up one more drink to take into the theater with you. Yes, alcohol is allowed.
2. Go to the “Real Movies”
If old or independent movies are not what you are into, you can go to Tinseltown and still find ways to save money. Matinee shows are a few dollars cheaper, but between class on the weekdays and fighting the urge to sleep in on weekends, this might not always work.
Instead of spending a fortune at the concession stand, walk across the parking lot to the Dollar Tree and load up on snacks. There is an aisle lined with various candies, so chances are you will find something sweet. Don’t forget to grab a bag of pre-popped popcorn and a soda. Walk in with $4; walk out with a large bag of candy, popcorn and two sodas. Purchasing the same items at the theater will cost you more than $15.
If you plan your movie date accordingly, you may be able to watch two movies for the price of one. Find out which movies play back-to-back, or anywhere within 30 minutes of each other, and you can subtly slide into the next screening. A perfect way to kill time waiting for the next movie to start is munching on that candy that you purchased at the Dollar Tree.
3. Put That in Your Cup and Eat it
A conversation over a cup of coffee can run you anywhere from $8-$10. Be bold and opt for a cup of ice cream instead. Not only will this make for an interesting date, you will save yourself money. Coldstone Creamery offers $1 scoops of ice cream every Monday and Tuesday between 6-8 p.m. Two scoops, one cup.
Although ice cream in winter does not sound like the best idea, it doesn’t mean it has to be a bad one. Turn this cold idea into an opportunity to find creative ways to “warm up.” Here is a start. Guys: be a gentleman and lend her your coat. Girls: playfully hint that you are cold and could use something to warm you up.
4. Pick Your Poison
Meeting up for a drink or two at a bar does not have to be costly. Bar drinks can be expensive, especially if you are paying for two, but you can avoid paying $4 for a beer. Each night, different bars in Chico have different drink specials between certain hours, or throughout the entire night.
If you are looking for a stronger drink, then $2 Margarita Mondays at the University Bar is the place to be. The University Bar also has $1 pint night for select beers on Wednesday nights.
The fun at the University Bar is not limited to alcohol. If you have a pocket full of quarters, there are fun games to play that keep patrons like Nate Ferrini, 22, coming back.
“The U-bar is a nice place to hang out, talk, drink beer and shoot some pool,” Ferrini said.
You and your date can enjoy a game of pool, air hockey, or choose from a variety of arcade games.
Try different bars and find out which one fits your style, then figure out which nights will be the cheapest for you and your date. If you don’t feel like wandering, Duffy’s always has $2 Pabst Blue Ribbons—everyday.
5. Take Me Out to a Ball Game
Take your date out to a ball game and take it out of your pants—your Chico State ID that is. A valid Wildcat Card will allow you to attend any Chico State sporting event for free. Technically this isn’t free because part of your student fees pay for this. Now there is a reason to attend some games.
Basketball games are perfect for a group date. The loud atmosphere is not ideal for a one-on-one conversation, but it is perfect to get comfortable, let loose and go crazy. You and your date can share a few laughs yelling obscure things to the opposing team. The season lasts until March, with about two home games per week, so you will have plenty of opportunities to get out and get rowdy. Check the Chico State website for the dates of home games.
6. Lights, Camera, Get Some Action
Living in Chico makes it hard to catch a Broadway show. Settle for the next best thing—Chico State. AS LIVE! hosts entertainment events such as night concerts, comedy shows and movie nights. Of course, there are free events, too.
Paying money for a concert does not guarantee that you will see quality entertainment. A free concert might even give you a better experience. Lead guitarist for the band MIP, Dustin Rohleder, plays in many free concerts and knows how important the relationship between the crowd and the band is.
“Smaller venues allow the crowd to interact more with the band and the band can feed off of the energy from the crowd,” Rohleder said. “Free concerts allow the audience to enjoy the show more because they don’t have to worry about long lines or big crowds.”
If you are trying to have the best experience possible, you should consider the quality of the entertainment. Don’t fail to impress your date by wasting money on a lackluster concert.
7. Bowlin’, Bowlin’, Bowlin’, Keep Those Beers on Flowin’
Bumpers, balls and beer. Not to be confused with a bizarre sex ritual, this is an ancient act. One that probably dates back to your early childhood, though drinking beer might have been frowned upon.
Bowling is cheaper than a movie and you don’t have to worry about being quiet; perfect if you are planning on going on a group date. You can bowl at your own pace. This is ideal if you plan to go Monday nights, when beer is only $1. Spend a few minutes between frames to finish your beer, o make a drinking game out of the experience. What could be more fun than playing two games at the same time?
Even if you aren’t in a relationship yet, you can still impress your date. Don’t give up hope just yet. There are places you can go that don’t involve a lot of money. Like all good romantic movies, you will end up with the girl—or guy—or whatever you are into.