A Match.com survey of 5,500 singles around the country found that the average single American spends $1,596 per year on their dating life. And that number creeps up in major cities: For example, New Yorkers spend an average of $2,069 on dating. To get an idea of what that spending looks like, we asked a 25-year-old single woman living in Los Angeles to track her dating-related spending over four days.
After a traffic-filled drive to the office, I sit down at my desk and start sifting through emails while eating the free Greek yogurt and granola the office provides. I look down at my phone and see I have a text from Bryan*, a guy I met on a dating app, confirming our date tonight. He lives pretty far away from me, but he’s agreed to come to me in Silver Lake, which is huge. Few people in LA want to leave their vicinity because the traffic is so awful. I figure the effort is a good sign, so I’m actually pretty excited.
I sneak out of the office a little early and pick up a bottle of wine on my way home ($12.99). I’m usually a social drinker, but dating makes me nervous. I figure it’ll help to have a glass of wine before I head out. After drinking one — okay, one-and-a-half — glasses, I get an Uber to the bar ($7.24). As soon as I sit down, I’m pretty positive things won’t work out with Bryan. He’s just as cute as his picture, but he can’t seem to stop talking, and it’s really annoying. He doesn’t ask me one question about myself. We get two rounds of drinks, and even though I can’t really afford it, I insist on splitting the bill ($17 for my share). I really don’t want him to get the wrong idea. I get an UberPOOL home in an attempt to sober up and save money ($3.90). When I get there, I eat half a leftover burrito, take a shower, and head to bed.
My alarm wakes me up, and I drag myself out of bed feeling a little sad. I’ve had such bad luck with dating lately, and I really wanted things to work out with Bryan. I’m still feeling pretty exhausted, so I decide to snag some of my roommate’s coffee to avoid spending so much money on coffee again today.
The caffeine boost cheers me up a little, and when I get to the office, I decide to swipe a bit while I eat my yogurt and granola. I strike up a conversation with a guy who’s a bit younger than me but is definitely cute. He asks to meet tonight, and I agree — what do I have to lose? The only problem is that he wants to meet near where my office is, and I’m definitely not wearing a date-worthy outfit. I decide I’ll skip buying lunch today and head out to an Anthropologie near my office. I end up finding a cute pair of jeans and top on sale, but it’s still pretty pricey. ($89.70). I figure I’ll be able to wear this outfit a lot once the weather cools down, so I don’t feel that bad.
I’m officially starving by the time I leave work. Luckily, Colin* is buying me dinner. I get there before him and order a drink while I wait. Once he arrives, it’s clear we’re going to like each other: We have the exact same taste in books and movies, which I figure is a good sign. He’s currently making $13 an hour as a writer’s assistant, so I don’t feel quite as bad about my own lack of money. We decide to split an entree thanks to our shared lack of funds, but he still picks up dinner and pays for my drink. Whew!
Colin and I say goodbye, and we hug. I’m not sure if we’re exactly attracted to each other, and I wonder if we’d be better as friends. I get gas on my way home, pass on my roommates’ offer to go back out, and curl up with a cup of tea and Netflix.
I sleep in (yay, Saturday!) and wake up to a text from Colin saying he had a great time and a picture of him out at a club with his friends. I guess he had more energy after our date than I did — must be because he’s only 23. I text him back to say I had fun, too and settle down on the couch with a bowl of oatmeal and a book.
That night, I head to a nearby bar with my roommates. After a few drinks, I text Colin — he lives right nearby — and he agrees to come out and meet up with us. When he shows up, I’m in a conversation with another guy. He looks jealous, which makes me feel good. Maybe we will be more than friends! Colin buys me a drink and before I know it, we’re making it out. Definitely sparks there. I end up going home with Colin, and he covers the Uber.
I wake up in Colin’s bed. Everything is a bit of a blur, but I know we had fun. I snuggle up to him, feeling happy and content for the first time in a while. I order us bagels and iced coffee on Seamless ($18), and we eat them while laughing about all the ridiculous things that happened last night. We’re pretty sure my roommate went home with one of his friends.
I finally leave Colin’s around 2, and I spend the rest of the day on the couch feeling pretty hungover. The Sunday scaries start to set in a bit, so I decide to put on my favorite comfort movie, “You’ve Got Mail.” I send Colin a “goodnight” text without wondering if I seem desperate, which I decide is a very good sign. I fall asleep early.
Dating-related spending: $148.83
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of innocent daters everywhere.