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Casual Dating vs Long Term Dating: Which is the Frugal Option?

I’ve been on both sides of the relationship game – at times, I dated very casually and almost indifferently, just trying to have fun and enjoy single life. Other times, I was in long term relationships, more serious and committed.

But the financial reality doesn’t change either way: dating is EXPENSIVE. Being my frugal self, I always wondered: which type of dating costs less?

Love & money: a careful balanceimage detals
Love & money: a careful balance
Image courtesy of atibodyphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Obviously I wouldn’t recommend picking your dating style based on what is cheapest (there was an episode on Extreme Cheapskates about someone who dates on the ultra-cheap, and there’s no doubt that he will be eternally single if he truly behaves that way).

But I just wouldn’t be a good frugal lady if I didn’t figure out the financials behind dating.

So it’s time to analyze: which is cheaper?? Casual or long term dating? Let’s find out!

The Dates

We’re not all creative in coming up with free or cheap date ideas. Most dates usually go the same route: dinner, coffee or movies. With these dates happening all the time, the cost of dating adds up. Regardless of whether you are going on casual dates or long term dating, you’re bound to go out on dates, and these activities will cost money.

Dates can be expensive!  Image courtesy of gubgib at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Dates can be expensive!
Image courtesy of gubgib at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

But dating tends to be more expensive in the beginning of a relationship: that stage when you are getting to know each other and are not feeling comfortable together just yet. Once you’re in the relationship longer, dates transition from parties and restaurants to sitting at home watching a movie eating home-made pasta.

On the other hand, when you’re dating casually, you’re in that beginning stage with every single person you meet. In other words, you’re consistently going out for dinner, coffee or movies. That’s not easy on the pocket and adds up to a hefty sum over time.

Tougher on the pocket: Casual dating

Dating Sites

Is one type of dating site cheaper than the other? In my experience, no. I wrote an article in the past about  the cost of online dating sites and why they are worth the investment.

Whether you try one of the naughty dating sites aimed at casual dating and one-night stands, or a dating site aimed at finding a romantic long-term partner, either way your membership will cost about the same.

Of course, you will meet people with very different intentions depending on the site you join, and this may also have an impact on your costs. For example, one-night stands may be very direct and to-the-point, requiring no actual date.

Tougher on the pocket: Equal

Miscellaneous Spending

When it comes to finances, there is a definite expense you don’t have to worry about in casual dating: gifts! Yes, in a long term relationship you need to think of gifts for anniversaries, birthdays, or just to randomly show your love.

Roses, anniversary gifts, chocolates... long term relationships can slowly eat at the pocket.  David Castillo Dominici.
Roses, anniversary gifts, chocolates… long term relationships can slowly eat at the pocket.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There are also other expenses to worry about: shopping for food, trips, inviting your date out, gas, and so on. These can all add up, and chances are that in a long term relationship, they will be adding up more frequently.

Tougher on the pocket: Long term relationship

The Bottom Line

In the end, which is more expensive: long term dating or casual dating?

There is no one set answer. Everyone dates differently and how you spend your money in dating is an individual issue based on your personal decision-making.

One thing is for certain: even though dating can be expensive, experiencing love, flirtation, flings, meeting new people or getting to know someone on a deeper level is priceless and worth every cent spent!

What are your thoughts on the expenses of dating? Share your thoughts below!

Featured image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Ronnie E.

Ronnie is the frugal Latina of the group. Hailing from the beautiful Andes Mountains in Bolivia, she lives and breathes frugality. She loves to figure out how to spend less money and takes on the challenge of finding great deals and cheaper options every day.

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  • These are all really good points! I may be married (11 years in), but I think it’s important to do the “dating” thing still. My husband is more lavish and if he makes the plans we spend bigger bucks. I tend to be a little more frugal and come up with cheaper or free ways for us to spend some quality time…so between the two it works out. 🙂

  • I have no clue about dating anymore! It’s been well over a decade since I’ve been on a date (except with my husband!)….I wouldn’t know the first thing anymore!

  • I was never really a casual dater, though I know a lot of women who loved casually dating, and still do, if only for the free dinners. Ha!

  • onceuponamaritime

    A casual dater isn’t my kind of thing, I have always been more into some far more serious.

  • It’s interesting to break it down that way. I hadn’t really thought about the expense of it all

  • RebelSweetHrt

    I was never the casual dater. My husband and I dated for a good five years before we settled down. 🙂

  • Elizabeth O.

    I was never a casual dater, too. I got married early and and the only guy I dated is my husband.

  • Esther Wilson

    I agree. We all date differently so one way would be more expensive for some and the other way would be more epxpensive for others.

  • Debbie Denny

    All are different. Some ideas work for some and doesn’t for others.

  • ParentingHealthy

    I have been married almost 10 years. We used to love home movies and dinner in when dating even when we could afford to go out! Now we do date nights away from the kids and spend a fortune at dinners and casino nights out 🙂

  • katrina g

    Dating sites are great. I used them in the past and very successful.

  • Stephanie Pass

    When my husband and I started dating, he had just been laid off, so we had lots of cheap or free dates. Nowadays we have a date night once a month away from the kids and it can get expensive.