Are those butterflies in your stomach because of first-date jitters or because debt is calling you up? If it’s the latter, you’re not alone. In fact, a recent survey from Lendingtree noted that “22% of millennials (ages 26 to 41) and 19% of Gen Zers (ages 18 to 25) have gone into debt from what they’ve spent on dating.” Surprised? Let’s examine what makes dating so expensive.
There are many reasons why dating is driving more and more people into debt, but one of the main players is the overall inflation of goods. What was once an inexpensive and casual coffee date might now take a substantial chunk of money out of your wallet. Or perhaps the price of that perfect first-date outfit has increased considerably, not to mention the gas money that you’ll need to pick up your date. Rising prices will take you by surprise, and what you would typically spend on these items in the past aren’t necessarily what you’ll be spending on them now. If you don’t pay close attention to your transactions, you might not realize how much more you’re spending.
Another reason dating might be damaging to finances is due to the ever-increasing popularity of dating apps. Many young singles are on dating apps such as Bumble, Tinder, or Hinge; in fact, many are on all three at the same time. While not every app adventure turns into an actual date, many millennials and Gen-Zers find themselves going on dates weekly because of these apps, and the cost of these frequent outings can add up fast.
So, how do you pay more attention to what you’re spending? First and foremost, pay attention to what you’re actually spending. It sounds obvious, but the excitement of a date can often make you view your transactions through rose-colored glasses. We all want to spoil our significant others, but swiping without care will get you into financial trouble fast. Plus, with money-sharing apps like Venmo, you might not even realize how much money you are really spending. Budgeting and keeping track of your date-night expenses will allow you to properly examine your finances and make a plan to pay your bills on time.
Second, make sure to be honest with your partner about your budget. This probably isn’t the best dinner topic for a first-date, but at some point, you should have a honest conversation about your budget so that you and your partner can be on the same page. Don’t worry, low-budget dates aren’t always a dealbreaker. In fact, the Lendingtree survey reported that “85% of respondents said they wouldn’t feel offended if their partner took them on a low-cost date.” Besides, low-cost dates are definitely the better alternative to racking up debt that you could carry into the future.
Dating costs can add up fast, but that doesn’t mean you should swear off romance for good. Although it’s tempting to splurge, make sure to spend responsibly so that you can enjoy the dating world the way you deserve. After all, nobody wants a date with debt!