Millennial and Gen Z Dating Expenses In the Times of COVID

Happy couple talking while sitting on a meadow.
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The pandemic has changed several aspects of life, including the way people spend money on dating. Millennials spend an average of $69 on first dates, and the majority of both millennial and Gen Z daters believe in splitting the costs of dating, according to a new survey from The Balance, with wealthier daters skewing more toward this.

More than half of people surveyed said the pandemic has changed how much they spend while dating, with a quarter saying they now spend more and a quarter saying they spend less. Those who spend more largely attributed it to rising costs and dating more frequently, while those who have cut back on spending while dating said it’s due to dating less or their financial situation getting worse, the survey notes.

But even though young daters say they’re in favor of dividing the check, a fifth of those surveyed said whether or not their date pays can affect their decision to go on a second date, while income is the least important factor in choosing a person to date.

In addition, the survey finds that while most daters said they spend less than $100 on a first date, 26% of those surveyed said they spend more than that. Among 28% of millennials — those ages 25-40 — are willing to spend at least $100 on a first date, and a third of them spend $250 or more per month on dating.

Interestingly, wealth comes into play when people consider who should pay for a date, as wealthier respondents were more likely to say people should split a date compared to daters who earn $50,000 or less. In addition, 25% of those earning more than $75,000 annually say that who they believe should pay depends on who is wealthier, compared to just 15% of Americans earning less than $50,000.

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In terms of regions, there are notable differences. For example, residents of Southern and Midwestern states expect to pay less on a date than their Western and Northeastern counterparts, the survey shows.

A third of daters in the West and Northeast plan to spend at least $100 on a first date, compared with only a fifth of daters in the South and Midwest. Southern and Midwestern states, however, usually have the lowest costs of living.

And if you want to go on a second date, it’ll cost you: 1-in-3 say that chances of accepting a second date increase if their date pays for the first one, while a fifth say that how much their date spends impacts the likelihood of going out with them again.

In terms of COVID-19 etiquette and protocols, half of young daters say no vaccine is not a deal-breaker, with only 15% saying they wouldn’t date someone who hadn’t received a COVID-19 vaccine. More than a third of respondents said vaccination status is an important or very important factor in their dating decisions.

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