[Guest article by Michael @ the Dough Roller]
When most people think of investing, they think of stocks, bonds and mutual funds. However some everyday expenditures are actually investments in your future. The car you drive, house you buy and even clothes you wear are all calculated decisions made to further increase your wealth and overall happiness in life.
If you’re single, dating can fall right into the investment category. Now of course, true love can happen at anytime, anyplace between anybody. Truth be told, you have a better chance of finding true love if you are well dressed and out and about, rather than wearing your 1996 sweatpants watching the Fresh Prince marathon on Nick at Nite. For the purposes of this article, I’m speaking specifically on behalf of the men out there, and I’m assuming you’re suave enough to find a girl that enjoys your company. The question is, how much are you willing to invest over the course of one year to keep her?
First, let’s discuss the necessities. In one year, there’s probably 5 dates that every man needs to keep on his calendar if in a relationship. Those dates are:
- Her Birthday
- Valentines Day
- Christmas (Or you’re religions’ relatable gift giving holiday)
- 6 Month Anniversary from your first date (Probably)
- 1 Year Anniversary from your first date
At the bare minimum, these days require cards, meals and gifts. Being an average spender, you would probably spend around $150.00 per occasion (some cheaper than others), which brings the yearly total to $750.00.
Next, lets talk about regular dates. For most relationships, weekends are reserved as “us” time which entails less fancy dinners, movies, shows … and other entertainment. Assuming that you have 20 full dates a year (dinner and entertainment / $60 average) and 20 half dates a year (one or the other / $30 average) you’re in for another $1,800.00.
Any woman will tell you that spontaneity is crucial in progressing a relationship, so special gifts like flowers and chocolates every once in a while would be a good idea. If you’re a big spender, then you might be inclined to purchase more high-ticket items but sticking to the basics and going old school will probably run you $250.00.
Enough about her, what about you! In order to feel your best, you have to look your best, so you better be ready to go shopping. She won’t want to be seen with some schlub, so you’re wardrobe comes into question. New shirts, pants and even underwear can get expensive if you go designer but staying with the American Eagle and Wrangler, expect to pay another $500.00 so you’re not sticking out like a sore thumb.
Finally, you better believe that she’ll want to travel with you on some weekend adventures. Maybe it’s camping, a trip to the big city or a Vegas getaway. Either way, once or twice a year, it’s nice to get away from the standard dating scene and plan a vacation with your special someone. Sticking to your plan would probably cost an average of $500 a trip (Vegas high / Camping low), which would set you back a $1,000.00.
So, if you’re old fashioned like me, and feel that paying for dates is the gentleman’s responsibility, one year of dating could cost you a total of $4,300.00. That’s a pretty penny to spend on pretty Penny and if you’re not careful, you might have to repeat the cycle a couple of times before you get it right. The good news is that the longer you spend with someone, the cheaper it should become over time, until of course the day you go broke and buy the engagement ring!
Michael is a contributing editor of the Dough Roller, a personal finance and investing blog.