How much to spend on a first date? [Voting Polls Open]

first dateI’m going to start off with clearing up an often heated discussion – yes, the man should pay for the first date. So while this articles title might seem to be geared towards men only, it’s for our women readers too. How much would you expect your date to spend on you?

$25, $50 or up to $100 or more? There’s no exact formula where you throw in different scenarios and it produces an exact dollar amount. But there are many different scenarios. Are you taking a stranger out? Is it a blind date? Are you friends considering being romantic? Did you meet online? Each of these changes drastically what you’ll do on your date and how much it’ll cost.

In my experience it always worked best when I picked an activity that my date and I will both enjoy, and had a ballpark budget to work with.

There are first date expectations and an enormous amount of pressure placed on it. How much to spend doesn’t need to be whats stressing you out. A great first date isn’t about how much you spend but about having a fun time enjoying each others company.

When it comes to knowing how much to spend on a first date I think it’s important to not be Mr. Cheap or his distant cousin, Mr. Spender. These are not the “first impressions” you want to leave with her.

If you’ve been on a number of failed dates you might be tempted to go cheap. Let’s be real – dates get expensive. But being cheap will only guarantee another cheap date, with a different lady. His distant cousin says spend more because the ladies love a man that flashes cash. If that’s the type of lady you’re looking for then by all means be my guest. But if you’re looking for a quality lady with character then this isn’t the way to go.

Mr. Frugal vs. Mr. Cheap

  • Don’t use Groupon or coupons. Instead pick somewhere within your budget. If you want to show that you’re financially responsible instead when the topic of work comes up mention your company’s great retirement options like a 401k and how you’re planning for the future.
  • Tip fairly. My rule has always been to start at 15%. If they do a great job give them 20%. If not, less than 15%.
  • Ladies love walks, but not in high heels. Pay the gas, cab or trolley ride.
  • Mr Frugal knows how to have fun on a budget. Mr Cheap is so cheap he doesn’t know how to have fun.

I’d be willing to spend more on a date, if it was tax deductible. <- Probably not the way to get that 2nd date

Mr. Show off that spends too much – This is Arrogance, not Charity.

  • Reckless spending. This is the opposite of financially responsible.
  • Are you over compensating? She’ll think you are.
  • You’ll make her feel like she owes you. This will make her uncomfortable and question your motives.
  • You’re setting the expectations too high. You won’t be able to keep it up.
  • It’s not tax deductible. You can’t itemize this.

When it comes down to it it isn’t about how much you spend on a first date. If you’re over reaching it’ll be obvious. Instead go with what you and your date will enjoy. If you both love food try a new place. If you enjoy art then how about one of those wine and painting dinners. There are plenty of ideas. Enjoy yourself!

Ladies: Be sure to offer to pay or make an attempt at reaching for the bill.
Men: Be ready for this and thank her, but still pay the bill.

[socialpoll id=”2173417″]


  1. […] Ladies and Gentleman: Today I posted  a full article over at Fearless Dollar on how much should a guy spend on the first date. Make sure to check it out, and give us your vote below! Here’s an […]

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