Good time on a dime

Renee Rosenow

$10.

At some point in most of our lives we have stumbled across that miraculous bill lying in plain sight, ready to be snatched for the spending. Once beheld in our hands and once we have gotten over our initial shock of our unbelievable luck, we ask ourselves, “where to spend?”

It shouldn’t be squandered on something frugal and it should be savored and spent over a long period of time.

See how I spent $10 in a night in Eau Claire.

I started my evening with a trip to Infinitea Tea House, 112 E. Grand Ave. I was feeling in the spirit of winter, for whatever reason, and got the chocolate mint green tea for $1.75. I was very tempted to try the pineapple-mango black tea for $2.15, though. Infinitea has a feel much like a coffee house and is the perfect spot to sit and catch up with someone.

Afterwards, I made my way over to campus for “The Hopefuls” concert. “Chester Bay” opened and it was only $3 for three hours of entertainment – not bad. Now I had spent almost half my money, so I was thankful that University Activities Commission had free popcorn at the concert. UAC has three concerts a semester and it’s definitely something more people need to take advantage of.

My friend and I decided to then head over to Acoustic Cafe, 505 South Barstow St., to satisfy our late-night sugar craving with some of their hand-dipped ice cream. At $1.49 a scoop, where can you go wrong? I was feeling generous so I bought my friend an ice cream cone as well. Acoustic has free entertainment every weekend and it’s a very relaxing environment to be in.

With my remaining $2.27, I wasn’t sure what to do and I was feeling tired. I decided to save it for

the next day for lunch. I felt satisfied with all the things I was able to accomplish in just a measly $7.73 and was glad I still had money left over.

I had a slow start to my Saturday morning, but was still craving a piece of greasy deliciousness. For just $2.84, I relieved this craving at Jeff and Jim’s Pizza, 421 Water St., and got a slice of my favorite kind of pizza – pepperoni. I know I went slightly over my budget by 57 cents, but we have to remember, I bought my friend her ice cream cone the night before.

This is just one way to spend a night in Eau Claire, as there were many other things going on as well. The Singing Statesmen performed on campus. The Stones Throw, 304 Eau Claire St., as well as House of Rock, 422 Water St., have concerts every weekend, usually costing around $5. If you think your night is lacking a little excitement, and you happen to be 21, then definitely check out two of Eau Claire’s finest music venues.

If looking for a fresh start to your day or a quiet way to end the night, the Nucleus Cafe and RacyD’lene’s Coffee Lounge, 405 Water St., is there for you. They have very inexpensive breakfast and lunch menus, as well as a very thorough coffee menu. Most of their drinks are between $1.25 and $4.00. The more expensive drinks are some of my favorites and have odd names like “The Barry White,” which is raspberry and white chocolate, or “The Frigid Girlscout,” which has peppermint and chocolate.

Whether you’re looking for something to do off-campus or on, at night or in the morning, Eau Claire has plenty of inexpensive ways to spend your new favorite friend – the $10 bill.

$10.

That’s a lot of money if you want to buy those little plastic toys outside of grocery stores. Not a lot of money if want to buy a new house.

It might not seem like much to some, but that’s the budget I was given for a night out in Eau Claire.

A “night out” typically takes place on the weekend, but after doing some research I found out it would be best to go out during the week. That’s because many businesses offer specials to draw in more of a crowd on weekdays.

After viewing all of my options, I decided Tuesday would be the best day for me.

I started at 5:30 p.m. and the first thing I wanted to do was get some food. By far the best deal in town (to me) is “Taco Tuesday” at Taco John’s, 242 Water St.

For the entire day the restaurant offers a reduced price on tacos. A hard shell taco is 69 cents and a soft shell taco is 99 cents.

I like variety so I ordered two hard shells and one soft shell, totaling $2.50 (exactly), including tax. Obviously it isn’t the same as an authentic Mexican restaurant, but for the time and the price, Taco John’s was perfect and tasted great, too.

Because I’m a fast eater, I was done by 6 p.m. and on to my next activity. From there, I drove 20 minutes to Action City, 2402 Lorch Ave., and was ready to start my next adventure.

At this point, I still had $7.50 left, but I needed to save money for a movie I wanted to catch later.

I began panning the prices of things to decide what I wanted to do.

Go-karts were $5, but if you want to go the faster speed (which I did, of course) it costs an additional dollar. Although it was within my budget, there was no way I could spend all of my money for Action City in 10 minutes, especially because there was still over two hours until the movie started.

Next I noticed laser-tag, but it was also $5, so I decided against it for the same reason.

After viewing the rest of my options I realized I would probably get the most “bang for my buck” if I played different arcade games. Not only would it fill the time much better, but it would also give me a variety of things to do.

I spent $6 on tokens (four tokens per dollar), leaving $1.50 for the movie. I was entertained with games from Pac-Man to Skeet-ball and so much more. My favorite part was that if I performed well enough, the machine would award me with tickets that I could redeem for prizes.

I only played one game that didn’t award tickets, air hockey, but it was still well worth it.

As we all know, time flies when you’re having fun, and before I knew it, it was 8:40 p.m. and time to head towards the theater.

Twenty minutes later, I arrived at Cameo Budget Theatre, 315 S. Barstow St., for my 9:10 p.m. showing. Cameo usually charges $2.50 per movie, but on Tuesdays they offer tickets for just $1.50. I handed the employee my final $1.50 (that’s right, I spent exactly $10, tax included!) and headed in to see Tropic Thunder.

I was less than impressed by the film, but I won’t get into it; that’s what our review section is for.

By the end of the night, I was very satisfied with all the action I received for the amount I spent.

Now I know that with a little research, there are plenty of things to do in Eau Claire, no matter how small your budget is.

Cegla is a sophomore public relations major and Scene editor for The Spectator.

Pellegrino is a sophomore print journalism major and a copy editor for The Spectator.