Last night, I got a frantic phone call from my friend, Rich. Apparently, he’d finally asked out the cute cashier at Chipotle in the Beverly Center.

Much to his surprise, the girl said, “Yes.”

I replied, “Dude, that’s a good thing. You actually like her, right?”

He told me he did, but he was scared about what to do on his date. You see, Rich is unemployed and broke.

Like so many other 20-somethings in this economy, he’s getting by with help from his mom and dad. So basically, his rent and car payments are covered.

Unfortunately, he’s got no money to do anything else. He wants to rock this chick’s world, but all he’s got going for him is a SICK loft on Cosmo Street in Hollywood.

I told him he should start there.

There are a lot of great ways to have a dynamic first date without spending a wad of cash. Kickin’ it around the house can be just as happening and romantic as any night in a fancy club or restaurant.

Want a lighthearted evening filled with great eats? Try emulating your favorite cooking show. I read in a magazine once that a woman and her boyfriend often have “Top Chef” nights: They set a timer and then compete against one another to see who can cook the best meal in the shortest amount of time. As a fan of the show “Iron Chef America,” I think it would be fun to have one ingredient that you both like as the focal point, then you and your date race to prepare a memorable dish that highlights that ingredient. You can even get into the spirit by playing some crazy theme music in the background for inspiration.

This way, you’ll control the cost of the meal by using items that are on sale at your local market. I guarantee you this date will be infinitely cheaper than if you took him or her to a restaurant. And at least this way, you can rest assured that the meal will be a big hit.

Twitter parties are becoming a big thing in the city. I went to one the other day – against my better judgment – and actually had a great time. Since Twitter is free and so easy, any dummy can use it, your date will have NO excuse for not getting into the spirit of things.

Prepare a light and easy meal – nothing too heavy. Maybe you could make a couple of bowls of pasta and a nice pitcher of iced tea. Invite your date and maybe another couple over and spend the evening Twittering your every move. I know it sounds crazy, but five minutes in and you’ll be hooked.

If you absolutely want to get out of the house, try some innovation. Movie junkies may remember the 1980s classic film, Some Kind of Wonderful. In the film, Keith (Eric Stoltz) gets his friend Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) to chauffer him and his date around town. While I don’t advocate people adding to the massive gridlock in Los Angeles or expanding one’s carbon footprint, sometimes a romantic cruise through town at night can be a really awesome way to get to know somebody.

Grab a nice rose for your date at 7-Eleven (many are a mere $1.99). Invest in a nice bottle of Coppola wine (many bottles are under $20 and available at Trader Joe’s). You’ll be able to find inexpensive wine glasses at IKEA or 99 Cents Only Stores. Prepare a couple of sandwiches or light finger foods, then have a good buddy to drive you and your date around Los Angeles for an hour or so while the two of you dine in the back of the car.

Maybe you can take a nice stroll to the beach and kiss under the stars. After all, with your buddy manning the car, you won’t have to worry about parking costs.

Museums are always a romantic way to get to know somebody. There’s nothing sexier than strolling through a quiet building, holding hands with somebody and enjoying fine art. Afterward, the two of you can cap off the evening with coffee at a quaint cafe or coffee shop. Two cups of coffee or tea and a couple of slices of pie are an affordable way to get to know your date.