Thrifty dating 

Hello Dear Reader,

If you live in the UK, you’ve probably seen ‘First Dates’. I find it compelling but never understand why they don’t sort out one thing before the first gin and tonic. Who is paying for what? Now, it’s been forever since I went on a date but when DB and I first got together, we took in turns paying, I’d pay on one date and he’d pay on the next. It was just the way we did it. 

In case you’ve never heard of the programme, couples go on a blind date and they hit it off or they don’t. It makes me froth round the edges if one of the datees expects the other to pay for them. So, for what it’s worth here’s my thrifty dating advice. 

If you’re asking some one out, don’t suggest anywhere you can’t afford to pay your share. There’s lots of ideas, a national trust property and coffee, a local cafe for lunch, a budget eatery for supper or somewhere you can talk and get to know each other. Something affordable and fun, like bowling is an idea. 

The next part of affordability is being honest from the start. There’s nothing more off putting if you don’t know someone too well than financial discussions about who can afford what so here’s a hint. Make it an ‘I’ message, here’s an example. “I’ll pay for myself if you don’t mind so I can stick to my own budget, I hope you don’t mind’. In that way, you’ve made it about you and what your date does, is up to them. If they want, three courses and a bottle of burgundy then it’s up to them and you don’t get caught out financially.

We have a joint account now and are both complete tightwads so are well suited and if and when we go out, we both know our budgets before we go. 

I’ll hand this over to you now. Imagine, if you would, the world of dating and the minefield of who’s paying what and what advice you’d give about both money saving and saving each other from those awkward conversations about who is paying for what conversation.

Until tomorrow,


13 thoughts on “Thrifty dating 

  1. I have 2 teenagers in the dating world. My boy always pays, my girl never pays. I always make sure my daughter has money to cover her part, but the boys she’s gone out with will never accept her paying. My son has never had a girl make any attempt to pay. This is very normal here. When my husband and I were dating, we always took turns though.


  2. It’s quite interesting to think about, as I was growing up I was taught that I should pay for my date. Obviously this didn’t always happen depending on circumstances, but I always thought of paying for my date as a way I could say ‘I love you that you don’t have to worry about it whether you planned on paying or whether you can, just don’t worry it’s on me’. Now that I have daughters of my own it will be an interesting notion to tackle helping them to understand the navigation of dating. Thankfully I have at least 13 years to figure this out.


  3. I laugh, dating was 36 years ago, I will try to remember!! Hubby usually paid on our ‘dinner and a movie’ dates and I made fried chicken, potato salad and pies for our ‘picnic or hiking’ dates and we bought groceries together if we were going to camp out at the beach or a lake with the boat. My sons sort of did the same with their girlfriends who are now wives. I suspect we now would do movie nights at home, or cook at each others places since the entertainment options are better than they were back then and we were always pretty tightfisted!! I would call it “redbox and white wine”! (redbox being the movie vending machines)


  4. My daughter is a student and my advice to her was to pay her share so that she did not feel she owed her date anything. We have also talked about dates that are affordable like picnics, beach outtings, bike rides and so forth. For Valentines Day she was taken out for dinner but she paid for ice cream afterwards. She also made her card and gift. It was all appreciated and they both had a lovely time. Proves the point that you don’t have to spend a lot to have a nice time.


  5. Oh hdear i’m old fashioned, the man pays, that’s what I would expect. I never paid, or went halves when I was dating my husbandl. And if I did it all over again I would still expect the man to pay. I would be most insulted if they expected me to pay for my meal! I like doors opened for me and for a man to give his seat up for me too, 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My youngest daughter has the happy knack of being content with little. She would rather sit at home and watch a movie or study that splash a lot of cash. They do have some expensive dates. Between the this girl and her boyfriend they have various saving habits. He does a lot better than her and at 20 has income invested in the stock market and house deposit saved. This works for them.

    My middle child, another daughter has been in the same relationship for 8 years. It is very different. She has 2 degrees and is now studying for her Masters of Teaching. He took a while to settle into a career choice and is now doing Honors. They have a mixture of dates too. Every year they save hard to travel overseas in the Christmas holiday break which is the long break in Australia.

    AS for my son. I despair. He has no girlfriends and at present is finding it difficult to gain work. He has little in the way of frugal habits.

    I always found it difficult to not pay my way when I was single. Now I am divorced and I honestly do not think I will re-enter the dating game. If I did I don’t know if I coudl take the male pays route. I am struggling to save at present. But I do live a very quiet life on a pension caring for my mother.


  7. The expectation that men pay is premised on a gender pay gap – man earns more than woman so man pays. If we want equality between the sexes then the idea that men automatically pay has to go. I got married 3 years ago and my husband and I moved in together early and set up a joint savings account so our money was combined very early into our relationship. However before that we took turns paying and it wasn’t an issue. I have a lot of friends who use dating apps and expect male strangers to pay on the first date which I find baffling. As an earlier commentator mentioned it is best to pay your share so that there isn’t an implicit assumption that you ‘owe’ your date anything. Talking about money is awkward so the focus needs to be on changing assumptions that the man always pays. I have however heard of men being insulted when women want to pay and that is a red flag as far as I am concerned!


  8. Hi Froogs…I am in my 50’s and single at the moment , but I earn my own money and could certainly pay my way.
    However if a man asks me out (especially if its a first date) I would expect him to pay. Once we got to know each other I would of course offer to pay, but would not make a big deal of it if he did insist on paying….I know a few women who actually argue and make a big deal out of the fact that they can pay their share!
    I suppose that makes me a bit old fashioned but most of the men in my age group are still employed and hopefully able to afford to take a woman out for dinner or a movie!
    Even my male friends will generally pay for my coffee or a drink if we meet up but I make sure that I reciprocate at some point – I think that’s just good manners at the end of the day.
    I have been in a long term relationship( but not married) and who would pay for what was not an issue for us – whoever had cash simply paid for the dinner/movie etc.
    I am sure that for the younger generation, dating rules have evolved and changed though, and perhaps splitting the bill is the way things are done now…..its tricky I think !


    • You probably put it better than me 🙂 I agree, if a man asked me out i too would expect him to pay. What worries me with all this going halves and when couples move in together and women insisting on going halves on everything is when children come along, it is usually the woman that has to give up work or go may go back to work on reduced hours and pay, the going halves and paying your way goes out of then window then really.


      • Living together and working out the finances is a whole different subject. In a modern world, women earn as much or more than men and it can be the man who provides the childcare


  9. I remember one episode and the girl was ordering shot after shot and was horrified he wasn’t up for paying!! Thought it was shocking!!!! Was chuffed with him for sticking to his guns! She looked the worst I thought! Good read! Thanks, xx


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