The Finances of Dating – Who Spends More? #atwys

From now until further notice, I’m mostly going to be re-posting popular posts from the past. If a letter comes with a pt-piggy-bank-pink-2particularly interesting angle, I will post it and write a response. I need a break. Enjoy! Also, FYI…we’re doing some back end maintenance. If the site goes down, it’s due to that.

This was originally posted in June of 2011.

not to generalize, but women typically put in a lot more time, money and effort to get ready for that first date. I’m talking manicure, sometimes pedicure and getting hair done!  That costs money and on top of it, we put more effort into having a great outfit, looking pretty, etc….i realize its expensive, but please recognize that they put in money, time and effort to look nice for you! – Alexa


Alexa – Are you kidding me? Lets run down the bill for my date in NYC.

Hair Cut – $75
Transport – $10
Dinner – $85
Wine Bar – $40

If a girl spends more than half that (for the date itself) I would be surprised. And this wasnt even an expensive date. And, again, you really think the guy just throws on jeans and a sweater and thinks he is ready? Get over yourself. – Neal


Without letting this devolve in to a “who should pay on a first date” debate, I’m curious to hear what everyone spends – both in terms of time and money –  for a first date.

When I was deciding on whether or not I wanted to meet someone from an online site, I most definitely figured in how much I would spend for said “date” and weighed that against what the possible return on investment would be.

I’m not sure it’s accurate to say that certain expenditures are made “for a date.” Come on. A haircut or manicure? Date or no date, you’d be getting these things done. Clothes? Those can be re-purposed and worn any time. Waxing? Well, I think most women wax/shave fairly regularly even when they’re not dating or having sex regularly.

When I was setting up my budget in my Droid, I realized I had to actually create a whole section for dating. I could have listed most of these things under “Entertainment” but it wouldn’t be accurate. Plus, when I’m cutting corners, I like to have an accurate breakout of how things are spent and what can go.

The expenses listed under Dating in my budget are (and this is monthly):

$60 for cabs

$160 – $40 per date for tip/round of drinks/appetizer per date (3-4 dates)

I usually come in under and roughly spend about $175 of the allotted $220.

I am adverse to paying for an online dating site at this point. I typically do my own hair (except for trimming) , waxing, shaving etc. I highly doubt whether guys can tell the difference. I sometimes pay for a pedicure, but usually do it on my own. I rarely pay for a manicure since I typically ruin whatever the manicurist does within hours or a day from banging on a keyboard. I occasionally make a Victoria’s Secret run. I don’t buy make up specifically for dates. I’ve never been an accessories girl, so I have maybe 5 pairs of earrings that I never wear.  My shoes are always kept simple because of having flat feet and having been hit by a car in college and done a number on my back, so really high heels are out of the question for me and not worn often.

Now that I write this out, I think I want to expand this beyond dating. How much money do you all spend on keeping yourself up? I’m talking skin care, gym memberships, cosmetic treatments, hair, manicures, medical check ups, etc? Do you buy high end products from department stores? Go to expensive salons? Or are you an over the counter, do it yourself person? What products do you like?

For years I have used the Olay Regenerist line for my skin care routine. I can not say enough good things about this line and what it does for my skin. That and tons of water and regular exercise.  I use their creme cleanser, exfoliant, peel, masque and moisturizer. That runs me roughly $60 every six weeks. My hair/roots I do myself. That costs me about $12 every six weeks. I shop for clothes MAYBE every two months and spend about $150. The Gap, Ann Taylor and Banana Republic have great pieces that last and always have some sort of sale going on. Sometimes I’ll blow the whole $150 on a pair of pants or a dress because they’ll last for a few seasons. I’m pissed because I bought two pairs of cargo pants back in April and they are now falling off me because I’ve dropped a size down. I’ve never worn much make up at all, rarely wear foundation because I don’t like clogging my pores.I might spend about $50 every 2 months on cosmetics, usually lip liner and gloss. I’m a Loreal/Sephora girl. I honestly don’t see the difference between Sephora and Sak’s. Finally, I got a free gym membership in exchange for advertising. FYI…many gyms offer outreach programs to people who are willing to manage raffles at events or participate in street promotions. Ask your gym if they have something like that and you can save $80 – $150 per month.

So what’s your dating budget? What are your splurges or must haves? Where do you cut corners and how?

And…who do you think spends more money on first dates…men or women?


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5 Responses to “The Finances of Dating – Who Spends More? #atwys”

  1. ATWYSingle Says:

    testrt mee me meme

  2. The D-man Says:

    This is interesting to read. There’s a meta point about your comment that many of these things are things you do anyway. I think that in an LTR, each party is obligated to stay attractive. That is, stay in shape, dress like you would if you were still single, and behave in a ways that are generally considered attractive. Of course there are exceptions for illness, and there’s only so much we can do as we get older, but having that mindset is healthy IMO.

    In terms of my own spending, I spend about 120 a month on gym membership, and buy $300-400 worth of clothes about every six months. My haircut is really easy and inexpensive, so I don’t count that. Last year I splurged on clothes and spent about $1,000 in one trip, but I only do that every 3-4 years.

    I drive an luxury car, but I bought that for me, not to impress people. Nonetheless I do enjoy picking up a date in an Infiniti rather than the beat-up old SUV I had before. (I know many women don’t care about that kind of thing, but I still feel good about it.)

    For dates I also wear nicer clothes that I rarely use otherwise because I work from home and don’t go to a lot of cocktail parties (more like jeans and t-shirt meetups where beer is the beverage of choice).

    I haven’t been dating much recently, but if it goes beyond an initial drink I pay for dinner regardless of whether I’m attracted to her. This usually runs anywhere from $10-30. If there is mutual attraction, then on the second or third date I’ll probably take her to a mid-range restaurant, where I’ll spend $80-100. Sometimes it’s well after the third date because I live in an area with tons of outdoor activities, so multiple hiking or biking or even skiing dates may happen first.

    In my young and naive days, I used to think first dates should always be Dutch, and oftentimes future dates. Nowadays I know that some women are turned off by that. I feel like that’s just part of the price of being a man, so it doesn’t bother me.

  3. Lisa Says:

    I cook for my boyfriend (and sometimes his son) so that adds to my grocery bill. When the weather is good, we grill out at my house and always cook steaks (and not cheap ones) and seafood, and I buy beverages and nice desserts and make side dishes from scratch. When it’s not grilling weather, I usually double my Sunday dinners and bring him half so he can have a tasty homecooked meal and leftovers for lunch and dinner the next day, too. (He loves my cooking and loves to be freed from the task of having to cook for himself occasionally.)

    When we go out, he pays more, but I do pay sometimes.

    As far as grooming and personal maintenance, there hasn’t been all that much time when I wasn’t at least casually dating, so I can’t really compare. I just generally try to keep myself up, regardless of my relationship status.

    I drive about the same amount, regardless of who/how often i’m dating. If I’m just casually dating and don’t have any dates lined up for a given wkmd, I would still probably burn as much gas, meeting up w/ friends or going shopping or whatever.

  4. Mahkara Says:

    It depends a lot on the date. I’ve been known to buy clothing specifically for a date or get a manicure or whatever, but that’s pretty rare.

    Generally what seems to happen more often is that I’m expected to drive out to wherever they are (maybe $10 on gas, $20 for parking, $10 for tolls – so $40 total). Which is fine, but it does get annoying when I do that (and am stuck in traffic for an hour) and the guy won’t even pick up my drink. (Which generally costs no more than $10).

    I always offer to pay, since I’m not a teenager and can afford to. If he came out to where I am, I feel like me covering things is totally fair. Ditto if he got things last time. I tend to be a bit more peeved when I’ve spent a lot of time/money making it out to wherever he is and then covering coffee/drinks is too much for him.

    (Also, I feel like first dates – at least first dates after online meetings – should never be especially long or expensive. The goal is to see whether this is someone you’d like to talk to again, not to splurge. So grabbing coffee or a couple of drinks is reasonable, a big fancy deal isn’t. If someone is spending more than $20-$40 on a first date, they’re spending too much IMHO.)

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