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The Hidden Costs of Dating

By Jackie Lam
April 27, 2018

When it comes to dating, spending money on dinner or a movie may seem like a no-brainer. But, in the quest to find “the one,” all those dinners and other dating costs add up – big time.

Yes, dating can be a money suck. For this reason, it’s important to budget accordingly and be prepared for the costs that go along with the dating game. Luckily, we’re here to help with a primer on the hidden costs of dating. You may want to start saving money now!

Beautifying Yourself

First things first – you probably want to dress to impress. If you’re a lad, this may mean a sleek blazer or a signature timepiece. If you’re a lady, you might do some online shopping to bring out your most alluring self.

Case in point: When Morgan Quisenberry, an advertising professional who blogs at Diary of an Online Serial Dater, was newly single six years ago, she spent a lot of money on getting “gussied up.” Besides pouring money into new outfits, Quisenberry, 35, shelled out about $40 at Drybar to get a blow-out and $60 for a pro to do her makeup – for each date. Looking back, those costs weren’t worth it. “I feel like guys don’t really notice or appreciate the extra effort you put in for a date,” she says.

The moral: even if you don’t go the extra mile with professional updos and makeup, buying cosmetics and hair products for your own best DIY look can add up.

Intimate Wear—and Other Things

While your dude friend may be groveling over the fact that he’s been paying more than he would like on dinner dates, movie tickets, and what have you, let’s not forget about the amount of cash a lady may be shelling out for sexy lingerie. Sure, you can go Dutch on dates, but garb for a fun night out, intimate apparel included, can easily cost you – and you alone – anywhere from $30 to a few hundred bucks.


When you live in an urban sprawl like L.A., dating someone across town can feel like a long-distance relationship. And shuttling from each other’s places can take time and cost money for gas or ride share services. For Quisenberry, who went on about 100 dates in five years, she averaged about $20 per date on rideshares. So, make sure you factor in transportation costs.

Dating App Subscriptions

If you’re hardcore serious about finding “the one,” you might want to consider paying for a dating subscription. If you want a premium subscription plan on a free dating app, such as Tinder Plus, you could be paying anywhere from three dollars to more than $20 a month. To sign up for OKCupid’s A-list, for example, it’s $19.99 for a month-by-month subscription and $9.99 a month if you sign up for a six-month package. Features include robust search options, no ads, and the ability to visit profiles incognito.

For strictly paid dating sites? It’s $42 a month for and $60 a month for eHarmony. While you can get a discount if you sign up for several months at a time, you may also be looking at several hundred dollars a year for your online dating subscriptions.

Matchmaking Services

An elite-level matchmaking service will cost you elite level dollars. We’re talking upwards of several thousand dollars. Quisenberry decided to go for it after finding that “all men in L.A. had a Peter Pan syndrome.” After much deliberation, she signed up for a “Five-Bachelor Package” at a high-end dating company. This included three coaching sessions with a professional matchmaker and five dates with potential mates.

Baby-Making Prevention

Fact: many of us are doing everything we can not to have babies. At least while we’re single. The good news is that most insurance plans cover birth control. But, if you’re getting birth control without insurance coverage, it can cost anywhere from $10 to $50 for a month’s supply of birth control pills, according to Planned Parenthood.

If you’re a lady who wants to get an intrauterine device (IUD), most health insurance plans do cover the cost, but may not pay for all brands. If you don’t have insurance, expect to pay upwards of $1,300 for the IUD, plus any additional fees for the actual procedure.

Time Costs Money

You know what they say: while you can technically make more money, you only have so much time. Not only can dating be a money suck, it can be a huge time suck, too. Swiping left and right, engaging in chats that may go nowhere, quibbling over whether your feelings are reciprocated—you get the picture. Indeed, dating can be a complete hit or miss, and there’s no guarantees and no definitive time frame as to when you’ll meet a suitable partner.

With this in mind, make sure you factor in all of the not-so-obvious expenses. This way, you can budget more effectively for love – even if it takes a lot longer than expected.

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