So we’re all looking for ways to save money these days, and one sure fire way is to find someone to shack up with so you can split the bills. Here are a few ways to get you to that point without spending a ton of money because a) you have to find someone and b) it takes at least a few dates to convince someone to move in…for most of us, anyway. While we at The CuT are pretty frugal (cheapskates), I did enlist some help from friends and local young professionals for some of the information below.
There’s always the cheapest method–friends of friends, coworkers of friends, someone you play softball with, etc. We’re going to assume you can handle those interactions yourself. For those of you who are more internet-inclined, we’ve already covered this but if you’re looking to do it cheaply, PlentyofFish.com is a free site that some of my friends have enjoyed using. (And if you listen to Howard Stern, this is the site they were referring to when talking to Beaver Phillips, the author of Cut Paste and Bang.) Assuming you are looking for more than the book’s title, you can find both on the site, from what I’m told.
One of the most important things a male friend mentioned is that open lines of communication are important. Being yourself and honest and open with a potential mate can save you a lot of time and money by not wasting it on the wrong person. (According to this source, even if you’re just looking to get some, being honest and open about that will probably get you there faster too, rather than many dates of wining and dining before getting down and dirty.)
Where to Take Them
“Dating is expensive,” a male friend recently told me. Well, duh. Traditional dating is expensive. Dinner and a movie is going to add up. So let’s get a little creative and economical.
Happy Hour Just about every place in Hartford has a happy hour deal most days of the week. And, with a Happy Hour, you’re not locking yourself in for hours on end, or have to commit a weekend night! While specials change regularly, some of the best Happy Hours I’ve found in Hartford have been Koji, Dulce and Feng as their specials include price breaks on appetizers as well as drinks. If you’re not into being in the Beat, local places also have Happy Hour specials, like Tango in Glastonbury. (If you want suggestions outside of the Hartford-area, write to the Anti-Couric…I operate under the assumption that everyone lives near me.)
The Great Outdoors Take an afternoon hike in one of CT’s many state parks. Not only will you get some good exercise in, but it’s actual quality time not spent shouting at each other in crowded bars or restaurants. Not to mention, you don’t need to spend lots of time on hair and makeup, or ironing.
If you’re more sedentary, take a picnic to the park like Elizabeth Park or Bushnell Park in Hartford, or Harkness Memorial in Waterford. Be sure to bring cards or a Frisbee, or some other form of entertainment in case conversation lags. You can always head to a beach as well, but only if you’re ready to see and be seen in bathing suit attire.
Cook Together A home-cooked meal is not only more intimate, but can also be pretty darn impressive no matter what sex you are. You can even make it more of an adventure, picking out a recipe together and shopping for the makings at fun places like a local farmer’s market. The bonus is that you’ll also be supporting our local economy.
Local Sports I love baseball but tickets to the Sox (or Yanks…if you’re so inclined) are not only hard to come by, but expensive as hell (and then add the transportation, parking, food, beer, etc.). If you just want to have a good time and watch one of the best games (in my opinion) America has to offer, you can do so by staying local. Vintage Baseball in Colt Park is a blast whether you love the game or not, and can take you back in time. Connecticut is also full of minor league teams with the Rock Cats, Defenders, and Bluefish. There are also New England College Baseball League games in Manchester and Danbury which are both cheap and fun…and a great place to people watch/mock. Come winter, you have the Sound Tigers and the Wolf Pack for AHL action and tickets can come cheaply.
At the Drive-In Movies are so expensive these days…unless you’re going for a matinee and sneaking into a second and third movie. However, at CT’s few drive-ins, you get the most bang for your buck since you get a double feature and you can bring your own snacks instead of paying $10 for a small popcorn and small soda (can we say rip off?).
Get Cultural I’m serious people. We’ve got culture coming out of our pieholes here in CT and since, as tax payers, we are helping to support it, take advantage of it. The Mark Twain House has free concerts and sometimes free food (like this Thursday’s ice cream social!). The Hartford Jazz Society often has free performances indoors and out. Real Art Ways admission is a suggested $3 a person and their exhibits are always changing. The Greater Hartford Arts Council calendar even lets you search for free events in the area, and believe me, there are plenty of them. I know, I know…arts and culture make you yawn, or seem really snooty but many of the organizations are totally unsnooty.
Hopefully this gives you a good start to find creative, fun, outside-of-the-box date ideas that aren’t going to leave you living in a cardboard box.
If you’re just looking for a shag, I’ll leave you with some advice from a young man who wishes to remain anonymous (for good reason): “Three PBRs, Pandora music and a CVS candle…about $7. You both getting yours in a cost effective and timely fashion…priceless.”