As with most cultural developments over the decades, dating has changed. What was once an in-person task, dating has made its way to the web - making it a lot more easier for singles to meet people and making it a lot easier to go on multiple dates.
More dating, however, means more money and over the last 20 years, dating has become good business.
According to a recent survey from Match.com the average single American spends about $1,600 on dating over the course of a year. Furthermore, on average, the typical date of two dinners, two movie tickets and a bottle of wine is about $103 nationally. In Colorado, that average is $109, which can pile up considering the average single adult goes on 25 dates a year and the average couple goes on 10.
“It is really expensive,” said Brian Mackay, 39, who has been married for 10 years and has three children with his spouse Sarah. “We try to get out once a month together, but that means leaving the kids with a sitter, which is going to cost about $50 dollars; eating out, which is another $50-$100; and whatever activity we plan on doing, which can be another $50 or more.”
For many people finding dating on a budget isn’t just a desire, but a necessity, particularly for couples whose list of finances have grown to include mortgages, daycare, car payments, insurance and college savings.
“You have to plan for so many more things once you settle down that dating just kind of takes a back seat to everything else,” Mackay said. “I know some couples who have given up on dating altogether because it means sacrificing something else.”
Say ‘tah-tah’ to tradition
Dating on a budget, however, does not have to be so complicated. According to dating study from eharmony.com, one of the first steps to lower the cost of dating is to break from tradition.
By dropping the dinner and a movie tab from date night, Americans can save over $100 on date night.
“We’ve tried a lot of different things to get away from standard dating,” said Christina Gomes, 44, about going out with her husband. “Sometimes we’ll eat at home with the kids and then head to a brewery to talk and play board games. We’ve also gone to escape rooms, which are pretty cheap, and to the arcade where we can spend a few hours for about $20.”
Escape rooms, arcades and nights out on the dance floor, tend to be among the cheaper options for couples looking to go out at night without breaking the bank.
Take the night out of date night
Another option is to skip the night part of date night and find a way to spend time together during the day.
“We really try to get out for a hike at least once a year together as a legitimate date,” Mackay said. “We really try to make sure the kids are in nature a lot, but it is nice for one day during the summer or fall to head to a place we haven’t been and hit a trail for a couple of hours.
“Outside of the gas spent driving and maybe grabbing a bite at the place all the locals recommend, we don’t really find ourselves spending too much on those dates and I feel like we’re spending more quality time together than we do going out at night.”
State park fees are usually less than $10 per vehicle and many can be accessed at discount rates by buying tickets at a local library or grocer.