— Mo Money

Whoa, we are spending a LOT of money dating, according to this new study

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Dating is pretty awful, no matter where you live. Meeting new people, getting to know a person, and getting into that fun, new relationship zone can be amazing. But it’s also pretty rare. If you’re dating hard, especially if you’re using apps, you’re spending a lot more money on dating than you might even realize. Like, thousands of dollars. You could buy a plane ticket and go Eat, Pray, Love yourself kind of moolah.

According to a new Match.com survey of over 5,000 participants, single people spend about $1,596 a year on their dating life. That’s an average — if you’re in a major city like D.C. ($1,788) or New York City ($2,069) it’s way higher. They included food and bar tabs, but also manicures, hair appointments, new outfits, and fees for premium dating app services, too. Maybe when you put it that way, it could be a lot worse. It’s like $80 a date if you go on 20 dates a year. But even $80 is way too much to spend to be bored, mansplained to, or worse, ghosted after a few dates.

It used to be that men spent more on dates and they still do. When Match broke it down by gender, they found that men spend an average $1,855 for a female’s $1,423. But a $400 gap isn’t all that much, which means that more women are splitting the bill with dudes.

But men shouldn’t complain about spending more. The survey also found that more than half of men actually THINK a guy should pay on the first date, while only 36 percent of women think so. Mainly because 78 percent of women would rather pay or split the check so that they don’t feel obliged to get physical later on. The rest of women said they do it just because it’s the fair thing to do.

No matter your gender, remembering that you’re spending a few grand taking people out for drinks is a good budgeting tool. Go easy on yourself and your possible new love interest — pick cheap dates and always throw down some cash. It’s a tough dating game out there, and the best way to beat it is teamwork.

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