A new survey of 5,500 American singles from Match.com has found that the average American singleton dropped $1,596 on dating for the 2016 year. That figure accounts for bar tabs, manicures, outfits, haircuts and even any matchmaking assistance or dating site membership fees. But when you consider that this averages out to just a little more than $130 a month per person, it seems either people aren’t dating all that much, or they’re sort of cheapskates. Nor were the differences in coin dropped by men versus women significant.
As Lisa Bonos writes at the Washington Post:
When that $1,600 average is divided by gender, men spent more ($1,855 on average) than women ($1,423). But the male-female gap isn’t that large. Perhaps that’s because, increasingly, men and women are splitting the checks on dates. About half of men, according to the Match survey, think men should pay on dates; 36 percent of women agree.
More interesting was the finding that 78 percent of women said that when they offer to split the check, it’s a sign of disinterest—they don’t want to go out again, and they definitely don’t want to fuck you. Another 47 percent of women said they offer to pay entirely to “be polite” or “assert their independence.”
Either way, spending roughly $130 a month seems like a low figure for an active dating life in a city—you’d think given the cost of drinks and a dinner these days, people would be spending more like $100 a week. Perhaps this means that in an era of online dating that offers so much choice, people are smartly keeping their dating overhead costs low in the interest of maximizing pleasure and minimizing risk.
Or as a commenter on the Post piece notes, “Wow. Dating is cheap compared to marriage! I could date a whole lifetime for the cost of a wedding and all it takes to keep some spouses happy (house, cars, vacations). I could date 10 lifetimes for the cost of one divorce. Thanks to this article, I now realize what a deal dating is.”