If you’re going to survive in the online dating world, you need money. Whether you’re a man or woman, young or old, you’re not going to have much success if you can’t afford to go out. And if you think putting the cost of your dates on your credit card is a good idea, you’d be wrong. Here are five ways to strengthen your finances so you can have more money to put toward your dating adventures.
1. Institute a Budget
Once you make a budget, you’ll have a much clearer picture of your current finances. Take the time to write down your income and monthly expenses, then look for ways you can reduce spending. For instance, if you eat out every day at lunch or stop at the coffee shop every morning, consider cutting back and making your meals at home. And most importantly, if you’re currently spending more than you’re bringing in, you’re fighting a losing battle. Use this opportunity to get your spending in check. Not only is this a positive personal decision, but it’ll make you a better long-term partner in a relationship as well.
2. Reduce and Eliminate Credit Card Debt
Credit card interest payments are wasted money, so now’s the time to stop being a slave to the credit card companies. Figure out what you owe on each card and come up with a realistic plan to pay them all down. Don’t worry if the strategy takes several years – a slow strategy is better than no strategy, and a couple years really isn’t that long to wait.
3. Reduce Monthly Bills
If you haven’t taken a look at your monthly bills lately, you may be missing out on some serious savings. For instance, if you don’t take advantage of all your TV channels, choose a cheaper package to cut your bill by $10 or more per month. Take the same approach with your cell phone bill and any monthly subscription packages you’re paying for. If you cut your monthly bills by just $50, that frees up $600 you could spend on dates over the course of the year.
4. Cut Back on Non-Essential Purchases
Do you really need the iPhone 5S? How about the iPad Air? While these upgrades are fun to have and to show off to friends, they come at a significant cost. Instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses, put yourself on a strict monthly budget for non-essential items like gadgets and clothing. Once your budget is spent, hold off on purchases until the next month.
5. Revamp Your Diet
Your monthly food bill probably takes a big bite out of your budget. If your diet consists of a lot of red meat, spendy bottles of wine, or high-end imported delicacies, it’s time to revamp your grocery list. You don’t need to completely eliminate the things you love, but by cutting back on the most expensive grocery items and replacing them with fresh fruits and vegetables, you can end up saving a chunk of change. Plus, a produce-rich diet can boost your health while reducing costs associated with chronic diseases.
Dating itself is an expensive endeavor, so don’t go all-out on every first date. Explore budget-friendly dating options, such as open-air concerts, trips to local museums, or gallery openings. Not only are they more budget-friendly than a five-star meal, but they’re a nice break from the average first date.
How have you worked dating into your budget? Share how you’re saving money in the comments section below!