Love is on a Budget | Coupons Anyone?

Gelato Menu, Italian Cafe | Italian Rivera 2014

According to a 2013 dating survey completed by, 50% of men spend $50 or more on a date. Women spend on average $25, with the bulk of their costs going toward predate prep. 65% of dating singles, both men and women, spend $50 or more on predate grooming and new outfits. However, more and more singles are opting to date less and are choosing saving for retirement and paying off debt with the money they would spend going out.

Reading these statistics made me think back to a time when a guy I dated used a coupon to pay for our meal. At first, it took me off guard. He mentioned it briefly when asking me out, saying that he won it in a raffle at work and wanted to check out the restaurant. Reluctantly, I agreed, never having been out with anyone who openly used coupons on a date.
I have to admit, at the time, it was an immediate turn off, and I check marked him as being cheap. However, when we got to the restaurant and I saw the menu and the prices, I had to suppress my gasp for breath. A bottle of wine began at $200. The food was pleasant, not the best I've had, not the worse. He was immediately removed from the cheap list and transferred over to the may have some potential. Not because he took me to an over priced, swanky restaurant in New York, but because he was trying to impress me, and I thought that was cute. I didn't however equate the price of the meal with his interest in me one way or another. I think that is a totally separate piece of the puzzle altogether.

On the contrary, some of my best and most memorable dates were what the survey would call cheap dates. They were the dates that were thoughtful, took some planning and probably didn't cost much at all, but the guys took time to show me that they paid attention to me, what I liked and what I valued. The small things, quality time and true intimacy. Those dates were special. One included a trip to an insanely large farmer's market, after eating a vegan lunch (while I was fasting), and ended with a stroll through some awesome cookware shops, after testing out some mopeds. I had the best time window shopping and contemplating gadgets I didn't know what to do with in the kitchen. Another was a day at the botanical garden, which ended in a picnic dinner on the floor with wine and candles. Again, not fancy, not swanky, but things that showed I was cared about and they had genuine interest in me.

I can't say now that it matters much either way how much a guy spends on a date. To me it's not a good gauge at his genuine interest. I could be wrong though. What do you think? Do you rank guys higher on your interest radar based on how much he spends on a date? Does spending more mean he's more interested in you? Guys is this true? I do think that there should be some type of coupon etiquette though. And I can't remember the last time I actually put in time picking special outfits or getting my hair done, just for a date. Do people still do this? No, really?

With Love & Gratitude,
~C. Nzingha