Love is expensive: 37% of Americans going on fewer dates due to economy

NEW YORK — Is dating putting some people into debt? A new survey finds the average person has spent $3,025.12 on dates over the past year. The poll of 2,000 Americans looked at the cost of dating and relationships in 2023 — finding the average respondent has gone on eight dates in the past six months, costing $189 each.

This lines up with what respondents estimate a good date should cost: $196. However, one in eight expect to spend at least $300 on each date night. Results also show that men have higher expectations, believing that good dates cost about $220, while the average woman believes a good date costs $170.

Conducted by OnePoll in partnership with LELO, researchers found that it may be time to start saving for the next date.

When it comes to picking up the tab, roughly the same percentage of respondents are likely to pay for a date (33%) as those who have the date paid for them (31%), with only 27 percent saying they split bills or take turns paying. Men are more likely to be the ones who usually pick up the check on dates (54%) compared to just 12 percent of women.

Relationship costs don’t just stop at date nights. The average person has also spent nearly $360 on gifts for their partner within the past year, with one in five saying they’ve spent upwards of $500. Men average higher expenses on gifts for their partner ($430), while women spend a little less, averaging $272.

Don’t think about skipping out, either — one in three Americans said regardless of how long they’re with a partner, they’d judge them if they didn’t receive a gift for a special occasion.

(© luckybusiness –

Is inflation killing the dating scene?

Two-thirds of those surveyed say that dates have become more expensive over the past year. So much so that 37 percent see themselves going on fewer dates within the next year because of the economy, and 60 percent will budget how much they’ll spend on relationships overall.

“In the dynamic landscape of modern relationships, where ‘infla-dating’ is reshaping connection costs, we encourage couples to redefine their approach to love’s expenses,” says spokesperson Luka Matutinovic, chief marketing officer at LELO, in a statement. “Navigate the currents of love wisely, prioritizing experiences that amplify togetherness. Stretch your budget wisely, opting for meaningful moments over extravagant expenses, and watch your relationship thrive without financial strain.”

Staying cuffed up may be the key, as 31 percent believe you should spend less on dates the longer they’re with someone. Respondents also shared their favorite money-saving tips for relationships, like going out to eat at places that are cost-friendly (42%), buying gifts when they’re on sale (40%), and going out for meals at less expensive times of the day like breakfast or lunch (35%).

Nearly half believe it’s okay to take someone on a date that’s considered “budget-friendly” (45%), with a similar percentage claiming that they wouldn’t judge their date for taking them somewhere “cheap” (50%). Likewise, half of Americans also believe it’s okay to take someone on a date that’s completely free, and 47 percent wouldn’t judge their date for doing so.

Interestingly, women are less likely to be judgmental about going on a date somewhere budget-conscious than men (55% vs. 45%). Two in three respondents even say that one of the best dates they’ve ever been on was somewhere that was budget-friendly, like a party (21%), their home (19%), their date’s home (13%), or a movie theater (11%).

Money can’t buy love — that’s according to one in seven who believe that money isn’t influential in having a good connection with someone.

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans was commissioned by LELO between Nov. 8 and Nov. 9, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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