If you’re single and looking for love, you know all too well how challenging it is. Not only do you have to put your best foot forward and hope there’s chemistry, but you also have to bankroll the whole thing. And if you’re doing all of this in 2023, you know all too well about the cost of loving dating trend that’s taking over. Here’s what you need to know about it (and how to get around it).
What is the cost of loving dating trend?
Simply put, the cost of loving is all about how expensive it is to be single and actively looking for love these days. Trying to get to know different people to find someone who’s a good fit for you is expensive. Even if you’re going dutch and paying your own way, the costs still mount up. Between buying drinks and meals, paying for movie tickets or other date activities, and even ensuring you have something nice to wear for a night out, dating can take a serious toll on your finances.
In addition to the normal costs of dating, inflation has made things even worse. According to a survey by Match, singles are spending an average of $130 a month on dates, which is 40% more than in the previous decade. Given that the prices of pretty much everything else in life are going up, from food to rent and utilities, pretty much everyone is feeling the heat. However, it doesn’t have to be like that.
How to date on a budget and beat the cost of loving
- Plan affordable dates. Look for free or low-cost activities to do together such as hiking, visiting a museum on free admission days, or attending a community event. Don’t feel pressured to go to the fancy new restaurant in town in an effort to impress. Stick within your budget because dating isn’t worth going into debt.
- Cook at home. Instead of going out to eat, plan a fun and creative meal to cook at home together. Of course, this doesn’t work for a first date. However, if you’ve been out a few times, maybe opt for staying in!
- Go for a picnic. Pack a picnic basket and head to a local park or beach for a romantic and affordable date. Pack some of your favorite snacks and drinks. When the weather is beautiful, get out there and enjoy some fresh air and each other’s company.
- Look for discounts. Check for coupons, Groupon deals, or discount codes for restaurants or activities you want to do. You’d be surprised at how many places offer money off. Happy hour is always a good option too!
- Explore your city. Take advantage of free tours, street fairs, and cultural events in your city. This is easier when you live in a place where there’s a lot going on, of course. Playing tourist in your own city is one of the most fun things you’ll ever do.
- Use public transportation. Save money on gas and parking by using public transportation or walking to your date location. It’s not just good for your wallet, it’s good for the environment too.
- Share costs. Split the cost of activities, meals, and transportation to save money. Plus, going 50/50 is a great way to embrace equality too.
- Opt for BYOB. Choose restaurants that allow you to bring your own bottle of wine to save money on drinks. Grab a bottle of $2 chuck from Trader Joe’s and have a great evening!
- Be honest. Communicate with your date about your budget and find creative ways to have fun together without spending a lot of money. They may in the same position and grateful that you brought it up.
How to have a conversation with your date about money
It can be a bit awkward to talk to the person you’re dating about finances, but there’s really no shame in it. Whether you notice them struggling with money or you’re strapped for cash yourself, here’s how to broach the topic. (And yes, you really should.)
- Choose the right time and place. Find a quiet and private place where you both feel comfortable and relaxed. Obviously, this isn’t a convo you want to have before it’s your turn to buy another round at the bar.
- Be open and honest. Start the conversation by explaining that you think it’s important to talk about finances and why. Be honest about your own financial situation and ask your date to do the same.
- Be respectful. Avoid criticizing or judging your date’s financial situation. Also, ask them to offer you the same courtesy in return. Remember, everyone has different financial circumstances.
- Listen actively. Give your date a chance to speak and actively listen to what they have to say. Ask questions and try to understand their perspective. However, don’t get too personal when you don’t know them much.
- Discuss expectations. Talk about how you expect to split costs and any other financial expectations you have for your relationship. For instance, if you know they don’t make very much, make it clear that you don’t want them picking up the tab. Or, maybe you both agree to split things 50/50 to lessen the burden.
- Plan ahead. If you’re planning a future date, be clear about your budget and what you’re comfortable spending. You don’t have to get down to the nitty-gritty and plan every cent. Still, it’s good to have a plan moving forward.
- Be flexible. Be willing to compromise and find creative solutions that work for both of you. For instance, if one of you gets a better-paying job in future or is feeling flush one day, be open to switching things up.