How to Split the Costs of Dating

In a perfect world, money would not be an issue. Or maybe if I had a perfect personality (instead of my neurotic, analytical self), dating costs would not be an issue. Or maybe if we lived in a world where traditional female and male roles of nurturer and provider did not exist, then it would not be an issue.

I thought I would share some of my thoughts on how to split the costs of dating.

According to reddit, 44% of women are bothered when asked to split the costs of dating. Another poll indicated that 64% of men believed that women should contribute to dating expenses and 44% of men would stop dating a women who never pays. The article cited that there is a sense of “tapered chilvary” where the guy will pay for most things from the start, and the couple is expected to achieve a more egalitarian sense of splitting the costs later on.

I see that there are two distinct periods where the behaviour is different and where who pays for the dating cost varies.

Courting Period

How to Split the Costs of DatingNow, I would not say that I am super traditional, but I do evaluate whether the guy is a cheapskate or if he is a gentleman. I am not a gold digger, far from it, but I do not want to be taken advantage of and I do not agree to expensive dates unless I was interested in the guy. It's not the expensive dates that impress but the quality of the company (and if you're cute, that helps too). So a cup of coffee or a quick bowl of ramen noodles is plenty impressive! I always offer to pay and I am not that judgmental if on the first date, the guy accepts my payment of my own share.

Related: Why Equality in Relationship and Finances Might Not Work for Everyone

On a second date one time (the first date, he ate a large meal and I just had a glass of wine) I went for a quick meal with this guy who bragged he made over 6 figures. He ended up going to the bathroom at the end of the meal and the bill came (maybe he really really needed to go to the bathroom, but I personally would make sure I hold it until after the bill comes). I ended up paying and he had no qualms about it. I was not super impressed but that's the judgmental side of me talking! Needless to say, there was no third date.

Dating Period

Now, in the dating period, things change because of the more egalitarian approach to relationships. Although I am 100% sure that my boyfriend spends more on me than I do on him (e.g. he gets me flowers, chocolates, pays for some dinners) sometimes I felt that I was paying more, for example, paying for more meals in a row. It led to a very non-romantic feeling, resentment. And the resentment was likely not for good reason too, as I only FELT like I was paying more, there was no proof. Therefore, one of my girlfriends suggested using the Payback App (you know, the one you use for trips and travel). It is a brilliant idea and doesn't look terrible when you use it (for example, what looks terrible is each of you putting in $10 for a $18 bill and trying to split the change between both of you). It just involves one person paying for the date cost and inputting it into the app. Next date, the other person pays for the date cost and whoever “owes” the other money pays the next time. So no actual exchange of money or nickel and dimeing at the end of the day.

Related: Finances and Relationships

So far, my boyfriend and I have used this on one of our getaways and it has worked well.  Also, staying in and cooking together works well too!

On a somewhat related note, if you want to really save money, meet someone online, as the costs of dating are significantly less, according to Time magazine because people who meet online get married after 18.5 months of meeting, and those who meet the conventional way get married after an average of 42 months of meeting. Of course, this assumes that every relationship is destined toward marriage or cohabitation, which is of course, not always the case.

Related: Is Paying for Online Dating Worth It?

Readers, what do you think? How do you split your dating expenses? (Note that I am talking about dating expenses, not household expenses!)

4 Comments

  1. Dayle on May 1, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Hi there,

    Thought I would share my experience and opinion. I’ve been off and on single, mostly single for the past several years and done a lot of dating. 9 times out of 10 the guy will pay the first time we go out, which I am fine with, but going foward I prefer things to be 50/50. And I don’t mean nickle and diming, but that we would just take turns paying. This worked fine for the most part. I am not a gold digger either, but I also do not want to be spending a ton of money on dating if the other person is not.

    Fast forward a few months. I have been with bf for about 5 months now. We were introduced and set up on a blind date by a mutual friend. He is 2.5 years younger than me (I’m 30) and he makes about the same amount of money I do…just mentioning that for context. Anyway, the first date we went out for dinner kinda… apps and dessert, and a couple drinks each, maybe a $50 bill. So the waitress brings the bill, and since it has been my experience that many guys actually get OFFENDED if I attempt to pay on the first date, I don’t make a move for the bill or say anything. He waited forever (it felt like) before getting out his wallet and paying the bill, and going on to tell me that my friend had enlightened him on my 50/50 policy so he thought he would toy with me a bit and see if I’d argue with him about paying even though he said he would never have let me. It made things light and really got us off on a good note in my opinion. I told him I’d be paying for the next date, and I guess the rest is history!

    We took turns paying while we went out on several “dates” after that, and we still do take turns paying, somewhat, if/when we go out. But it’s more like he pays for most dinners, but I am usually the one paying for tickets for stuff (sports games, concerts) because I’m the one ordering them online. I haven’t tallied it up nor do I plan on it. We quickly progressed to taking turns cooking at home because we each have a house and so we might as well cook, plus save the extra expense of going out constantly now that we’re “together”… we both prefer dinner at home and have been going on once or twice a month. So awesome!!

    Cheers
    Dayle



  2. Marie @ My Personal Finance Journey on May 1, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    When me and my hubs was still dating before, we always split our bills, at first he refused that idea, but I insisted him because I just want to be fair. And it really worked out well, I also told my younger sister that she should give a share when they would go out for a date with her boyfriend.



  3. MakintheBacon on May 3, 2014 at 8:02 am

    I’ll admit I’m a bit old fashioned in the sense that if the guy asks me out, he should pay for the first date. The subsequent dates we have been on, I have offered to pay but with two of my exes, they always insisted on paying.

    (I’ve always found that portion of the first few dates awkward, the who pays for the bill part and whether or not you should hug or kiss on the first date. Lol).

    I have asked guys out a couple of times myself and even though I made it clear that I was to pay since I asked them out, they still insisted on paying for the first date.

    With my partner, I asked him out, he paid on the first date, however on the 2nd date, I picked up the tab. We continued to take turns picking up the tab on the dates after that. And we’re still together.

    I have no problems splitting dating expenses. I think it shows to guys that a girl is confident about her finances and can take of herself financially.



  4. Jason on May 4, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    In my previous relationship experience, we would usually just ask for separate bills. It was uncomfortable for me at first but it was always her choice. I even asked about it and she said she liked being able to take care of herself. It was kind of an independence thing. Her brother’s relationship worked the same way, so that seemed to calm my nervousness towards it. Sometimes I would sneak off and pay the bill because I liked to take care of it. I was pretty good with romantic gestures that didn’t cost a lot. Handmade cards with a single flower, those kind of cheesy things. She loved it. I agree with cooking together as well. That made for some great date nights.



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