How to Balance a Dating Budget

Dear Gwyn,

I’ve recently started dating this girl and she is so cheap!  When we go to restaurants she hardly eats or only picks side orders. When we go to movies she only wants to see the matinees.  I really like this girl, but sometimes I just want her to not be so cheap. She works in a law office so I know she can dig a little deeper  How can I encourage her to spend more money?

Your question shocking.  How can you encourage her to spend more money? Perhaps, sir, she is not the one with the problem… As you say, you’ve only just started dating, so it is safe to presume that you probably don’t know much about her financial situation at this point.  Perhaps her frugal habits come from her upbringing.  She may be helping to support a family member or digging herself out of debt.  As crazy as it may sound in our spending culture, she may just be saving. And while she works at a lawfirm, there are a wide range of positions and she may not be making six figures.

So, let’s start with the assumption that her “cheap” behaviors as you say are appropriate for her.

If you are in fae as smitten with this girl as you claim, let’s instead focus on what the two of you can do to get started on financially equal ground.  This doesn’t mean that either of you need to divulge your spending habits and income, or even discuss a budget for each date, but it does mean having flexibility and options.

  • Pick up the bill:  If you want to take your date on an expensive night out on the town, then take your date out on an expensive date on the town. That’s right, you pay.
  • Offer free options:  Get creative and find some options that are free.  Take a walk in the park. Find free days at the museum.  Make the effort to mix in a few dates that don’t cost money and you may find that you both have a little more to spend the next time you go out together.
  • Find a middle ground: Switch on and off on who picks the date and whoever picks the date, pays. You’ll both get to share something you enjoy with each other and will know that it is within your own budget.

Financial disparity is one of the leading stresses in relationships.  Make sure that you begin the conversation early and learn to get on the same page.  Whether or not this girl is your life partner, at least you’ll have one less thing to worry about.