Ever wonder what the cost of dating really is? A Match.com survey of 5,500 singles around the country found that the average single American spends $1,596 on their dating life per year. 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 queer/bisexual polyamorous woman who lives with her boyfriend and is dating a woman to track her dating-related spending for four days.
On my commute work, which is about an hour and 15 minutes each way if I manage to miss traffic, I listen to a podcast about the origin of Disney stories. It’s the beginning of a long day at the office, and I am exhausted by the time I get home. But I’ve committed to a new workout routine, so I do about 20 minutes of yoga.
It appears to be another day of neither my boyfriend nor I wanting to cook, so we walk to Chipotle and have dinner, going dutch ($7.32). We used to treat the other to dates depending on who had traveled to see whom, but since I moved in with him a few months ago, we typically pay for ourselves. I want a drink at Chipotle, but feel like I’ve already spent a ton of money this week on lunches and coffees during the workday, so I skip it and steal some of his instead. I also get a side of hard taco shells instead of chips. Clearly I’m feeling really, really frugal.
It’s date night with my girlfriend, so I head to her place after work for dinner and a sleepover. We usually walk to Cleveland Vegan and split its three-course dinner (plus dessert), but I am really feeling sushi so I suggest a local Asian fusion place instead. Her boyfriend gets home with his own dinner (they live together, and he graciously sleeps on the couch when I stay over), and we set out for our date. We walk to the restaurant and split two sushi rolls and an order of pad Thai. I pay, because she mentioned earlier in the day that money is tight ($30.76). Afterward, we walk to a local ice cream shop and split a bowl of vegan ice cream. I treat again ($3.95). On our way back to her place, we stop by a grocery store and put together a “mix your six” six-pack of various ciders, beers, etc. She buys the booze, and we go home for a drink or two while we watch “The Little Mermaid.”
The three of us (my girlfriend, her boyfriend, and I) take a walk in the morning to stock up on nacho supplies. I have been promised her boyfriend’s epic nachos, and he is excited to do them vegan for me. On the way, we stop for coffee. I have a cookie in hand, but I put it back down. By the time I finish veganizing a large mocha and tipping the barista, I spend $7.00 on the drink. At the store, I also grab a bag of peppermint vegan marshmallows with the intent of dumping a handful into what is left of my mocha. I offer to pay for them when they are scanned in with the rest of the groceries, but my girlfriend’s boyfriend waves me off. I am treated to some amazing nachos, and my girlfriend and I watch Disney movies all afternoon before I head home to make a dish for my boyfriend’s friend’s potluck.
On the way, I stop for supplies for my famous vegan buffalo chicken dip ($11.18). The party itself is fine, but I ended up hiding in the bathroom for an introvert break. It’s full of people we don’t know, so I’m a little stressed. I’m still in the process of meeting my boyfriend’s friends since we’ve only been dating for about eight months and living together for three.
My boyfriend and I end up being the only two who eat the buffalo dip, because we arrive late and everyone else is already in chat mode, having eaten heavy appetizers earlier in the evening. I am not mad about this, because the dip is delicious. We leave after a couple of hours and go home to go to bed.
We sleep in until about eight or nine, and I spend the rest of the morning being super slothful after because I was up past my usual bedtime and overwhelmed by being around so many people. I call this an introvert hangover. I usually do laundry on Sunday, but I am in such a blah state of mind that I barely do any chores. I do, however, get up the energy to meet up with a friend to be interviewed for her podcast about my upcoming book. I read an excerpt from my chapter about millennials killing the economy, and we chat about how and why young adults are blamed for the destruction of so many American pastimes like Kraft singles, large Thanksgiving turkeys, and canned tuna. The conversation goes a little late, so I get home around dinnertime. My boyfriend and I eat leftovers and pack lunches for Monday before going to bed early. I don’t see my girlfriend or do anything date-like with my boyfriend the whole day.
Dating-related spending: $60.21