Dating can be scary. You have to go out into the unknown, meet up with potential partners, and face the challenges of rejection and occasional boredom. Dating on a budget can be even scarier. It’s expensive for a start. All those trips to restaurants and cinemas soon add up. Then there’s the expectation that you will pay for your date’s evening, traditionally placed on men. Very soon the question of whether you should date or not becomes less about meeting that special someone, and more about your bank balance.
Fair is Fair
Everyone has different ideas when it comes to dating. This can depend a lot on culture and upbringing, but also on individuality and personality. By the same token, people will have different ideas about the financial aspects of dating, such as who should pay.
Traditionally speaking, men are expected to pay in Western society, especially on the first date. Though times are changing, and equality between genders implies a more equal split of the bill, men are often be expected to cover the expenses.
But let’s get to the nitty-gritty. No matter what is your opinion on gender politics, or indeed no matter your gender, it is unfair for someone else to turn up to a date and expect that you to pay for everything. Similarly, it is unfair for you to turn up completely broke and expect your date to cover you.
Of course, you should date within your means in the first place, otherwise, you will be in for a nasty shock. There are a lot of situations in which a decent poker face will get you a long way, and dating is one of them. An unexpectedly high bill is a killer, so do your research first so that you can be kind and give a tip, rather than having to do a runner while your date is in the bathroom.
Let’s Talk Finances
The first date is the time to get to know the lovely human being sitting in front of you. It’s also a time to show a bit of personality and have a bit of fun. Talks around finance rarely bring excitement and fun, unless your date loves their job as an accountant, and wants to spend the whole night advising you on taxes. Yawn.
So, when is the appropriate time to talk about finances? The answer is just whenever it comes up naturally. An image of your general financial circumstances is going to come out when you talk about your living situation, career, and employment, lifestyle and through your approach to dating.
Honesty is the best policy when dating, and this is true when talking about money and employment. The worse mistake you can make is to have a few extravagant dates at the beginning, only to make yourself broke and unable to uphold the false image you have painted. Set the tone from the beginning by suggesting dates that you can afford.
Your date must come to accept you and understand where you are and where you are going. This requires empathy from them, but above all honesty from you. The bottom line is you don’t want to be with someone who only likes you for the money (which you don’t have) and the lifestyle that you (can’t) provide. You can get to know someone without spending loads of money, and genuine connections do exist without flamboyant and displays of wealth.
Dating Within Your Means
Just as you should stick to your budget in order to avoid debt and financial hardship, you must also date within your means. Respect yourself and your own position in life, and expect the same from those who you choose to get close to. If you really don’t have money to spend (or just don’t want to take a materialistic view towards love) then you could try out:
Dating without dating – Meet people in your life, socialize with friends, pursue your own interests and connect with people naturally along the way. You don’t need a dating app for this approach, nor do you need the artificial fertilizer of money. All you need is an open mind and heart, and a willingness to pursue your goals while inviting others into your life.
Dating for free – If you want to go on dates, either with strangers or with people you have met in life, why not suggest dates that don’t cost a lot of money. You could head out to the countryside for a walk or bike ride, or go to museums, cultural attractions or free shows. If your date is the outgoing type (and your friends are not too embarrassing), invite them round for a BBQ.
Showing up for a date with a tight budget is never easy.
But as you can see, it’s more than doable if you have the right approach.