Cupid Costs Money: Can You Afford To Date?
The Real Price Of Finding Love
Dear April Masini,
It seems like being single has become more competitive than the job market. I mean really! There are more and more singles every where I look. Is it just me? Has any one ever done a study on what it costs to be single today?"
April Masini's Advice :
Being single isn't easy -- or cheap!
Cupid’s arrow struck and you’re seeing stars -- and dollar signs. That sucker went right through your heart, and stabbed your wallet! Dating is expensive and it’s not tax deductible. Do you know how much you spend on a one night stand? Or a long distance relationship? I do -- because I just got married, and instead of a $200 a plate chicken dinner with baby vegetables and a white wedding cake distinguished by, well, nothing, so that it looks remarkably like everyone else’s, I went to Vegas and said, “I do”. We saved a bundle on the wedding, but looking back….. I can tell you that dating is expensive, dating smart is less so.
“How Much Do You Want for that Je Ne Sais Quoi?”
Beauty, charm, and allure that reels ‘em in isn’t cheap. So, why do you need it? Because dating has become very competitive. 100 million Americans are single, according to the 2010 US Census report, and the most popular dating site today has 20 million members, of which 1.3 million have paid subscriptions. You’re probably thinking – “What is she talking about? I could date for the rest of my life with statistics like these.”
Rethink purgatory. If you’re not careful and you don’t date to win, you WILL be dating for the rest of your life. Do you know what that’s going to cost you? I do.
- One Night Stands (Cheap thrills? Think again.)
- You brush them off as sport. Quicken and Turbo Tax say not so fast.
- The taxi cab home: $50 (Or the parking ticket on your car because you left it somewhere to walk home with him: $35)
- Extra lattes and aspirin for your hangover : $15
- Replacing the Cosabella bra and panties you lost during the evening: $100
- Attorney fees (because your ex-husband saw a guy leave your house, and wants full custody of your children because he now has cell phone photographic evidence that you’re officially a slut) $350/hour
- De-briefing brunch with your best friends: $35
- Four pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream you consumed, waiting for him to call: $16
- Extra large pizza delivery when you realize he’s not going to call: $25
You’ve picked yourself up off the floor and decided you’re going to find Mr. Right. Great. Now save yourself the $150 psychic fee and the $9.99 for a Magic 8 Ball (Outlook not so good.) and think about what the census says: There are 88 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women over the age of 18…. And 61% of unmarried people over the age of 18 are women. Gulp.
Gyms Are The New Nightclubs
Men are visual and they love to work out so if you look good, and you’re working on you’re fitness, you’re going to have his attention! A typical 24 Hour Fitness type membership is about $350 a year. On the other hand, home gyms will cost about $10,000, which is actually a lot cheaper over the course of a lifetime, but save the home gym for after you’re married because high end gyms are the new nightclubs. For about $1500 a year membership, you can get fit, meet men and get to know them on the treadmill or at the bar -- that is, the smoothie bar. Budget big for sexy, cute workout clothes that show off your physique.
- Gym membership: $1500/year
- Yoga studio class pass: $1200/year
- Gym shoes, clothes, equipment: $2000/year
- The endorphins are flowing and you’re going to take the next step….
Get The Groom By Being Groomed
Men want women who look like they can be taken everywhere -- business dinners, exotic vacations, and home to meet the family and friends. The cost of NOT keeping yourself up -- is good dates! Not wanting to get naked because you forgot to shave your legs or wax your hello kitty is a really poor excuse for avoiding intimacy or last minute pool parties, and not wanting to put on a bathing suit because you’ve neglected the gym may cost you Mr. Right. You want to be ready to go at all times, consider grooming a necessary dating investment.
- Haircuts: $75 every two months = $450 /year
- Color: $100 every month = $1200/year
- Tipping at hair salon @ 20% = $1650/year
- Christmas gift = $100/year
- Waxing: $100 for legs, bikini and underarms every month = $1200/year
- Tipping aesthetician@ 20% = $240/year
- Christmas gift = $50/year
- Mani/Pedi: $40 every two weeks = $960/ year
- Tipping @ 20% = $192/year
- Facial: $75 every other month = $450/year
- Cosmetics & fragrance: $500 - $1000/year
- Massage: $150 3 times a year = $450/year
- Annual total: $7942
You’ve made the investment so far, so you might as well go all in. Stopping now would be a mistake. Time to go shopping.
Clothes may make the man, but the right clothes will make the man want to date the woman who’s wearing them. Hate shopping? Treat it like going to the dentist -- not doing it is going to cause you more pain than making regular visits and taking care of business. Having too few clothes is just as bad as having too many clothes, and when it comes to clothes -- more isn't necessarily more. In Think & Date LIke A Man, a book I wrote for women who want to find, get and keep Mr. Right, I advise women on what to buy, how much to spend and how to maintain good pieces. Your close must have good lingerie, a fabulous cocktail dress a flattering bathing suit, and other must have pieces. Be on a first name basis with your local tailor.
Average monthly clothing budget: $250 - $1000 (depending on your income)
Dry-cleaning and tailor costs: $100/month
You look amazing. You feel amazing. You’re going to seal amp up your confidence by letting the world see you.
Photos are crucial. A good photo will get you interest. A less than flattering photo will land you home alone. And no photo is a waste of the membership fee. Consider having a professional photographer take some shots for you. Don’t bother with free dating services if you want a serious relationship. You get what you pay for. Lots of people throw up profiles on dating services just to see what comes back, without being seriously interested -- or even seriously single.
Photos - $250
Online dating service - $50/month per service (Use more than one)
You’re getting dates and you want to bring some home to see what it’s like to have them in your abode….
Your Love Shack
Your home doesn’t have to be a mansion or have a view of Central Park but men will want to hang out at your house, if it’s the kind of home that makes them feel like you’re an asset because you know how to make them feel like king of a castle they could get used to! It’s a mystique you’re creating -- but that mystique costs money.
- Two sets of egyptian cotton sheets: $500/year
- Two sets of comforters, duvet covers and shams: $600 once
- Scented candles - $25 each x 12 for your whole home = $300/year
- Flowers: $100/month = $1200/year
- Man food you wouldn’t normally buy: $250/month = $3000/year
- Fluffy towels: $500/year
- Housekeeper (if you’re working full time): $400/month = $4800/year
- (Single moms need: Regular babysitters: $10/hour, so $60/date night x twice a week =$120/week or $6000/year)
Decide who you want to be in a relationship -- and then focus in on being that person to get the guy….
Want to be a trophy wife?
Start by looking like one. Go high end on every category I’ve mentioned, and consider that plastic surgery is the new salon. Injectables don’t really count as surgery but if you don’t want to get your Restylane at Costco, count on paying a plastic surgeon for maintenance. Breast augmentation, lifts and other personal improvements that insurance won’t cover. ($10,000 - $25,000) Replace dental whitening products you buy at the drug store with cosmetic dentistry veneers. (Up to $40,0000) Like to travel? Save up your frequent flyer miles, or be prepared to pay first class fare freight. And you’re not going to want to wait for your plane with everyone else -- so shell out the extra couple of hundred dollars a year to become an airline executive club member, where you’ll meet men looking for trophy wives.
Want a younger man? Demi Moore allegedly spent between half a million and several million on plastic surgery -- and kept the guy for a long time! You don’t have to go all out Demi but you probably will have to invest in some youthful measures. And, you’re going to have to pick up the tab a lot more often than you would with an older man who’s more advanced in his career. You may want to pay for any of his clothes and grooming that you want him to be wearing when he’s with you.
Looking for that older gentleman? Start dining at expensive steak houses and sushi restaurants where these men eat regularly. (Cha-ching!) Spring for a French class -- he’s probably going to want you to travel with him (passport $125). Start reading classics and best sellers, as well as the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times so you can make conversation. And take some golf lessons ($150/lesson) at upscale golf courses and private clubs where these guys play.
Long distance relationships
Get to know the guy at Radio Shack -- you may want to buy batteries in bulk for your vibrator! Mutual monthly visits include cross country round trip tickets in coach with fourteen days notice at about $400, which for six trips on your tab is $2400. Add on travel costs are about $2000 for airport transport, parking your car at the airport, boarding your dog at the kennel, etc. Make sure you have an unlimited data plan to send him alluring photos to remind him what he’s missing!
Break up costs
A therapeutic makeover to help you forget who you were when you were with him: $500 A shredder at Best Buy to get rid of his photos and love letters, $59.
Think & Date Like A Man, so you won’t be in this position again, $15.95.
Re-booting the system to start again, you do the math!