How Do I Date on a Budget?

Roland is a recent college graduate, and he wants to get rid of his debt. But how does a young, single guy date while working the Baby Steps?

QUESTION: Roland in Alabama is a recent college graduate, and he wants to get rid of his debt. But how does a young, single guy date while working the Baby Steps? Dave says he does need to date, but he doesn’t have to go to the expensive steakhouse every night.

ANSWER: Yeah, you do need to date. I couldn't not date. I'm not going to ask you to do something I couldn't do. But I don't think you have to go to Ruth's Chris every night, either. You don't need to go there; you don't have that kind of money.

Two things. One is you just date cheap and you're just thoughtful about it, but not so cheap that you're freakish about it. Where you're going and how much you're spending on the date can be chosen to have class and a lot of style but doesn't cost a lot of money. A picnic lunch and a Frisbee will go a long way if there's a pretty day in the park, and it doesn't cost a bazillion dollars. You put effort into the date to make the date happen creatively, that is more charming than you putting down an extra $100 on the date.

The second thing is you do need to put it in your budget and say, "This is how much I'm going to have budgeted to spend on going out with girls this month. Past that, I've got to cut back." If you're dating the same person over and over and you start to reach the end of that, you get the opportunity to explain to her that you're on a budget and live on less than you make and working hard to be rich someday, which makes you that much more attractive. That's probably not the speech you want to give on the first date in most cases.

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