And don’t think you’ll save more money once you’re in a relationship.

By Lauren Phillips
September 24, 2019

Dating isn’t cheap. Anyone who’s dated around a bit knows that going out with a new person costs a good chunk of money, especially if you’re really trying to impress that person. (Most relationship apps may be free, but going on dates with people you meet through those apps certainly isn’t.) Even if you split the cost of your dinner-and-drinks outing or your trip to the movies, you’re still paying for the opportunity of possibly finding love—and, according to a new survey, the cost of dating doesn’t decrease once you’ve entered a relationship.

Banking and budgeting app Simple, working with OnePoll, recently conducted a survey of more than 2,000 Americans to find out how much people spend on dating and going out on dates. According to the survey, a single person spends about $168 per month on dating; if they date for their whole life, that’s at least $121,082 spent on dating over the course of a lifetime, so it’s no surprise that seven in 10 people say dating is expensive.

People who have already coupled-up can’t be too smug, though. Putting in the effort to keep the spark going is one of the signs of a healthy relationship, but it’s certainly costly, even if the money comes from the joint bank account. According to the survey, people spend even more money going out on dates to keep their romance alive after they’re in a relationship—about $185 per month—and 49 percent of people surveyed say it’s more expensive to be in a relationship than it is to be single. Popular methods of preserving a relationship include enjoying dinner and drinks, date night at least once a week, physical affection, attending a concert or show, and celebrating milestones, most of which cost money.

Obviously, there are ways to decrease the amount of money you spend on dates. You can always go on fewer dates or pick free or cheap dates, whether you’re single or in a relationship. Many people pick the first option, according to the survey, with 24 percent of respondents saying they avoid dating because they don’t have the finances, and 51 percent saying they’ve canceled a date because they were unexpectedly low on funds. That’ll have a negative effect on your love life, but it might mean reaching financial independence earlier, if that’s your priority, but 62 percent of people say they don’t have a robust dating life because their finances don’t allow it.

And don’t think men carry the burden completely: 66 percent of men offer to pay for a date, sure, but so do 42 percent of women (24 percent of women offer to split the check).

Is dating great for your finances? That $100,000-plus lifetime cost says no. (That’s more than enough for a down payment on a house, to put it in perspective.) Still, dating is a worthy expense if you’re eager to find or maintain a loving relationship.

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