And how much do men and women actually spend on dating and for Valentine's Day?
Have you ever noticed all of the song lyrics about love and money?
- "No romance without finance …. "
- "My love don't cost a thing …."
- "Only boys who save their pennies make my rainy day …."
- "Can't buy me love …."
When you imagine your ideal partner, you probably think of general characteristics you find desirable, not the financial implications of starting a new relationship. (So unromantic!) But there are usually a lot of dinners, movie tickets, gifts and flowers involved in the journey from single to happily committed.
To quantify the cost of love, let's look at the typical expenses associated with dating over a one-year period, along with lower-cost ways to woo your sweetheart.
The cost of meeting somebody new
If the thought of paying for a dating service puts you off, Big Think points to a study showing that the time people give to a match depends on how much the dating site costs. Men who paid $50 were willing to commit an average of 49 minutes to the date, while the men who paid nothing for the match were willing to invest only 28 minutes. You're also likely to receive less spam from mildly interested potential matches on paid sites.
It's Just Lunch, a dating service for busy professionals, surveyed 3,968 singles nationwide about how much they spend on dates. It found that 51% of men in the U.S. spend more than $100 a month on dates, and 29% spend more than $150. In bigger cities, those figures are higher. For example, 82% of men in Los Angeles spend more than $150 a month on dates.
Women, on the other hand, spend significantly less. About two-thirds of women spend less than $50 a month. Perhaps it's a sign that the Southern gentleman is still around, but 75% of women in the South spend less than $50 a month on dates.
Going on averages, that's $600 to $1,200 per year spent on dates. But, according to an ING Direct survey, most women aren't expecting a fancy dinner and expensive bottle of wine on the first date. The poll found that on average, men overestimate how much is expected of them.
Flowers and gifts
What does a more committed relationship cost? Businessweek estimates that flowers cost the average single $110 per year. Then there are holidays, such as Valentine's Day. (After all, you probably don't want to launch into a tirade about how Valentine's Day is a materialistic Hallmark holiday when you've only been dating someone a few months.) The average person shelled out $103 on Valentine's Day merchandise in 2010, according to the National Retail Federation.
Assuming the average single spends about that much on birthday and Christmas gifts as well, we'll estimate total gifts and flowers at $419 per year.
So, what's the grand total for one year of dating, from matchmaking to flowers? It's $1,529 to $2,129, depending on your gender, it would seem. But then, as New Wave rock quartet the Knack sang, "You can't put a price on love.
~ MSN Money