Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and millions of Americans are preparing for a romantic encounter of some kind. Prepare wisely: Between dinner, drinks, movie tickets, and other expenses, dating is an expensive activity.
But don’t feel like you have to splurge. As MarketWatch recently showed, irresponsible spending is a big no-no:
Splurging like there’s no tomorrow (or retirement age) is one sure-fire way of making sure you stay single. Some 40 percent of people say irresponsible spending is a bigger turnoff than bad breath and more than half say they wouldn’t marry someone with bad credit, according to a nationally representative survey by personal-finance site Nerdwallet. What’s more, more than one-third of respondents said financial secrets are the worst type of money problem for a relationship.
Americans are still nursing their wounds from the Great Recession and want to find a partner who shares the same financial values. Some 42 percent of adults say knowing someone’s credit score would affect their willingness to date that person, a separate study by personal finance website Bankrate.com found. “Finances, education, and job prospects all factor into the value of a potential mate,” says Jeffrey Hall, associate professor of communications at the University of Kansas.
It’s better to learn these lessons earlier in a relationship rather than later. One in five people in a live-in relationship admit to “financial infidelity”—keeping a private bank account or credit card without telling a partner, according to a study released last month by CreditCards.com. The survey found 31 percent of millennials, 24 percent of people ages 38 to 53, and 17 percent of baby boomers have at some point had an account they keep secret from a partner.
Saving money on a date doesn’t necessarily mean it’s less enjoyable. If anything, it forces you to be more creative. So take a walk in the park or catch a cheap play instead of throwing money at an expensive bar.
You can use frugality to differentiate yourself.