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Ever Wondered How Much Singles Spend On Dating? Here’s The Answer

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Singles may be increasingly willing to split the check on dates, but searching for love remains a pricey endeavor. A coffee here, dinner there, drinks afterwards, a movie on weekends… it all adds up, but to how much?

According to Match.com’s ‘Singles in America’ study, an annual survey of 5,000 singles around the United States, the average unmarried American spent $1,596 on their dating life in 2016. In major cities, that average is higher. In New York City, for instance, it’s $2,069.

The average includes the things you’d expect - the aforementioned bar tabs and dinners - as well as dating site memberships and matchmakers, and entry fees for dating events. It also includes tangential purchases like haircuts, manicures, and new date outfits.

If the numbers are broken down by gender, the data reveals a mix of the expected and surprises. The $1,600 average divides into $1,855 for men and $1,423 for women. Traditional gender norms are still at play, with men covering more of the cost of dates, but the male-female gap isn’t that large.

About half of men, says the Match study, think men should pay on dates. Thirty-six percent of women agree. However, Millennials are more likely to offer to split the check than Baby Boomers or Gen Xers. Women offered various reasons for their more equitable approach to spending, ranging from being polite, to asserting independence, to not wanting to feel obligated to get physical or go out again.

Lisa Bonos of The Washington Post spoke to Dayana Yochim, a consumer finance specialist for NerdWallet, about the survey. Whether the average number is high or low depends on how you use it, Yochim noted. If you’re going on dozens of dates per year, each individual date doesn’t cost that much. But if you’re blowing the whole $1,596 on a single date… well, that might be an issue worth addressing with your accountant and your life coach.

Yochim also stressed the importance of keeping your spending in alignment with your goals. “If finding love and dating is on your high-priority list and you’re feeling the financial pinch from what you’re spending, then look elsewhere in your budget,” she said. “What else are you spending on that’s not bringing you joy, or not bringing you closer to your life goals? Cut back there.”

Stick to low-key, inexpensive dates - like a walk in a park or a free museum day - if money is a concern. And remember that spending on experiences is scientifically proven to bring more joy than spending on things. A date, even a bad one, is an experience that could be priceless.