Dating is Not a Great Savings Plan
Sometimes we grant anonymity to our writers. This lady is dating multiple men, but the multiple men don’t know about each other, and she doesn’t want them to know about each other. So: We’ll allow it.
Right now I’m dating three men—the product of a recycling program I instituted in January to rehash old mistakes.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t under the impression that my expenses would decrease somewhat by dating multiple men. I figured that I’d see each one once a week, and even if we split the cost of meals and activities, it would be less than … okay, fine: I just assumed these guys would be paying. I’m sorry. I’m … old fashioned? Romantic? Gold digging? Anyway, the point is that it’s not working, and that my outgoing expenditures have not gone down—they’ve gone up. When I’m single, I go to Trader Joe’s every Sunday and spend about $40 on food for the week. This includes frozen and easy-to-prepare meals like veggie burgers and pre-packaged Indian food to heat up for dinner, as well as the ingredients to make some sort of stew or casserole that can be divided into portions for lonely desk lunches. I go to drinks two or three times a week (happy hour if I can escape this miserable cubicle and make it), and this usually amounts to $25 a night ($75/week). So that’s $115 before we get to the weekend. Not bad.
On weekends I eat all of my meals out—$15 for breakfast with my running friends in the mornings, $10 for lunch from a sandwich place around the corner, and $50 on a nice dinner one night (this puts me at $150/weekend for food). Maybe I’ll go to a movie or a museum, so let’s call that $50 worth of non-meal entertainment. When I’m single, I don’t go shopping; I’m happy in sweats. All in, I total about $315/week in meals and entertainment.
When I’m getting around, it’s a different story. I don’t buy groceries because I’m too distracted, plus I assume that my dinner dates from the week will provide leftovers for lunch. But: I always clean my plate, and so I end up buying lunch at work every day anyway ($75/week). Drink plans with the girls turn into dinner so I can tell them all about the trials and tribulations associated with being adored by three men. This sort of humblebragging goes over more smoothly if I handle the bill, so dinner’s on me ($150/week). I start wanting to maintain my appearance. I up my workout routine, and the extra classes come to about $30/week. I buy new clothes, and then there’s the newly important lingerie budget, so let’s say apparel all together comes to about $50/week. We’re hitting over $300/week already and we haven’t even gotten to the weekend!
And I know what you’re thinking: This is where it all pays off, right? Wrong. Turns out you have to date rich guys in order to get free meals. And I’m dating one! But just one. But: I’ve broken up with him multiple times (and will likely break up with him many more times), so even though he does buy me $200 meals on Friday nights, I always feel bad and pay for $40 breakfasts Saturday mornings. The second guy I’m dating is unemployed and lives at home, so I pay for anything that’s not hiking, or taking long walks, or watching TV on his bunk beds (BUNK BEDS!). The third guy is my coworker and—well, no “and,” I’m just kinda proud of that one. He does pay, mostly. No complaints there.
I’m of the “girl’s gotta eat!” school of thought which is to say that if someone asks me to dinner, I’m not going to say no. But these free dinners aren’t actually saving me any money. I always end up paying, with dollars, at some point. Dating means putting out—and not just where it’s fun, unfortunately.
Photo Credit: flickr/vinothchandar