Before we can talk about getting money right for dating season, ask yourself: when exactly is your dating season? Is it universal? Is it “cuffing season”? Do you have a specific time of the year that you like to date more than others? The answers to these questions is the first step in laying out your plan. Follow these steps to get your money right for dating season; identify your timeline, plan your strategy, forecast how much you’ll date and set aside how much you’ll spend.
Planning is the core of every aspect of your financial life, but planning to date as a single man or woman requires a different approach than dating in a relationship. But first, let’s clarify something. The true essence of dating as a single person is the exploratory phase of getting to know people. Whereas dating “exclusively” has a different set of rules and expectations.
In your planning phase, set your intentions for dating. Are you dating for fun? Are you dating with the intention of getting into a relationship or a new set of friends with benefits? Your intentions will help you with how much money you should plan to spend. Then identify your dating ground. Dating apps, going out to bars or networking events? The club or church? Social media DMs — there are a lot of options. Most of which come with an upfront cost. After you establish your why and how, it’s time for the fun part. What type of dates and where will you go?
The energy you bring will set the tone not necessarily how much you spend. Coffee dates, happy hour, concerts, sporting events, comedy shows, fine dining, traveling all have their respective pricing tiers. There are “cheap dates,” “impress me” dates and “build rapport” dates. The sweet spot is the free activities that can feel more like a date than some of the others. Outdoor movies in a park or free drive-ins, free museums, free concert series, afternoon or evening strolls to sightsee to name a few. My advice: build as much rapport as possible before getting together in person. You’ll avoid spending money on people and feeling like it was a waste of time (and money) afterwards.
Dating requires a level of selflessness and diligence because when you’re trying to figure out where the money is coming from you may have to make some tough calls. Take a look at all the things you like to do for yourself – shopping, brunch, hanging out, traveling etc. They’re all ideal categories to redirect your funds for dating. Side note, if you currently don’t have room for these things in your monthly earnings, you’re not ready for anybodys’ dating season.
If you need creative financing like a second job or selling hot items in your closet; this is an indicator that you’re not ready. Your money is better served by saving for another season of dating. If it’s been awhile since you’ve dated, take a look at how much you typically spend dating yourself or hanging out with friends. This is your benchmark for how much dating someone else may cost, times two or three. So the amount you allocate for food and entertainment needs a nice boost. Then determine how much you’d like to spend for each type of date. This will help you establish your pricing tiers and you can strategically decide how many dates you want to have before an “impress me” date. Please don’t jump out there with one of those first! It’s too costly and detrimental to your dating path.
View dating for the business that it is and go into the month knowing how much you have to spend on dates. This viewpoint will also help you see when you need to implement those free activities and maintain your allure if you’re concerned with those types of things. Everything is strategic. Even who pays but please understand, if you ask someone out on a date it’s on you! Gender roles are not excluded. If that person wants to pick up the tab even though you asked, appreciate the generosity. Something to keep in mind after you’ve been out with the same person a few times. When the tab comes, don’t rush to pick it up or put your card down. Keep the conversation going and provide a window of opportunity for the other person to pick up the tab. Or at least offer to pay. If this was a dating column I would have more to add on this but I digress.
These are the basics to the money of dating but when feelings develop your strategy is vulnerable. It can go out the window putting your finances at risk. If this happens to you just make sure you leave your credit card at home until you can see clearly. Just remind yourself to plan, forecast, set aside your money, go on dates and repeat.