PUBLIC OPINION > A Typical Date Should Cost Around $20-$50

Living 2012/05/02 23:00:00
The amount of money you spend on a date depends on a lot of things. Is it a first date with the girl you've had your eye on for weeks? You might want to spend a little more than usual. Are you in a long-term relationship and working your way through college? Fast food might be acceptable. A traditional date with all the stops -- roses, dinner, cab, movie tickets -- could easily run you upwards of $100. But we wanted to know what the public typically spends on a date.

The numbers were pretty spread out, but there was a nice peak at $20-$50. And since more people voted up than down, we could narrow that down further to an estimated $40. That's not too bad for a typical date -- a little low for a special occasion, but tasteful and affordable for a casual date. It's just enough for a meal at a decent nearby restaurant and a night of Netflix. You could spring for more, but one commenter warned, "I took my wife on a date and spent 200+ bucks. Good food and good beer... Then I got yelled at when she saw the bill. You just can't win."

Men Spend More

Culturally, men are the ones who are supposed to pay. Of course, it really depends on each other's financial situation, and it can evolve over time, but that's the default. Fortunately for gals, men overestimate how much dates should cost. A third of men (34%) said they typically spend $50-$100 on a date, while 40% of women said dates should only cost $20-$50.

Students Don't Have Much to Spend

Age was obviously a factor, but the situation was more clear-cut when we broke it down by education status. More than half of high school students (55%) said they spend $20 or less -- no gas, no alcohol, minimum wage jobs if any. College students spend more, but most (68%) keep it in the $20-$50 range. Jump to college graduates, and nearly half of them (45%) are spending over $50.

Drinks Add Up

Drinkers don't spend a whole lot more than nondrinkers, but it does add up. They're 12% more likely to spend over $20, 4% more likely to spend over $50, and 8% more likely to spend over $100. It's no secret that drinks are more expensive when you're out. A $1.50 beer will run you $5 at a restaurant. Not an ideal way to drink.

If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our poll about the cost of a date. We'd love to hear from you!
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Top Opinion

  • TasselLady 2012/05/04 00:09:42
    A typical date should cost WHAT A PERSON CAN AFFORD. I'm sorry. I'm used to not having much money. So if a guy doesn't spend alot of money on me that's fine. Being with the guy is the important thing. And if I enjoy his company it doesn't necessarily have to be expensive.

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  • skyebrand 2013/08/28 06:26:27
    I'm married with preschoolers now so dates are a thing of the past but when DH & I were courting we would do things like go to the drive in or have dinner or see a show. Generally it was whoever did the asking that paid for the date & it worked out pretty even in the end I think.
  • Anna 2012/05/28 04:04:54
    For I first date I'm thinking go out for ice-cream if warm, coffee/hot chocolate if cold. Maybe a movie, which can get a bit pricey. After that slowly go up, if the first date wasn't a movie maybe make the second date one, make the restaurants a bit nicer. After the third or fourth stop worrying and just do what sounds fun, be it a picnic or a stake house. If a fair or concert comes to town go to that (actually, that would work anytime, it's fun, and if things go bad each can separate and still have things to do). Or you could just sit at home and watch movies. Quality over quantity.
  • Curmudgeon 2012/05/24 13:32:29
    Typical depends on what a person "typically" earns and how much they want to spend, as I've seen guys spend thousands to impress someone and still get shot down.

    Money isn't isn't everything on a date, the quality of the experience is usually more important than the quantity of money used. lol
  • Anna Curmudgeon 2012/05/28 03:43:17
    Thousands? I'd shot him down too. Who wants to risk giving a guy $50 for groceries and risk having him come back with 10 things of flowers because he "Just knew you'd love them". Sure flowers are great, but they aren't going to fill my belly. Pick a pretty wildflower for me, I'll still be happy with it, my belly will be full, and it won't cost a dime.
  • lilliannanicole 2012/05/23 00:17:05
    if im with a guy that i like then it could cost nothing i wouldnt care as long as with a person i enjoy being around
  • Cappy Mae(: 2012/05/21 07:47:20
    Cappy Mae(:
    Sometimes its nice to have a few nice dates, but it really depends on what you can afford and where you live and your age group. alot of guys around where i live..which is a small town in ga mite be cheap to some but to us. its the thought and time they are taking out of there day to spend on you.
  • Dolly 2012/05/11 22:22:45
    Most dates these days do cost 20 dollars unless you go out to a cheap food place like McDonald's.
  • Rural Charmer 2012/05/09 11:10:40
    Rural Charmer
    Depends on the age. If your a teen like me, no more than 50, but if you got a full time job, 100, 150
  • heirsoftheking 2012/05/04 17:51:03 (edited)
    It depends on what you want to do on that date.

    Dating is the practice you go through to find a mate, and continued dating helps you determine if you want to marry someone - dating doesn't have to be a spending contest.

    If the two of you decide that all you want to do is get your jollies by drawing pictures all the time, then get some pencils and paper and draw 'til you wed - best wishes!

    If the two of you decide that you must dine on caviar with every meal, then be prepared to spend lots of money, but be sure to make your relationship work out.
  • dekecds 2012/05/04 06:16:57
    Definitely doesn't have to cost a dime in my opinion. I like to go canoeing on a date. If it's a dinner, well, that's not really a date. And dinner out can cost me $30 on my own with no frills. (gas, $15-20 entree, $2-3 drink, %20 tip, tax....)
  • kent 2012/05/04 04:45:58
    Wait i'm confused....fifty bucks? Am I expected to take fifty women out on the same date??? No wonder it's going to be so expensive.
  • cancled 2012/05/04 03:03:01
    The last date I went on cost me $1300.
    I took her to lasvegas for dinner, and we lived in San Diego, California at the time.
    And yes, she was worth ever cent of it!
  • TasselLady 2012/05/04 00:09:42
    A typical date should cost WHAT A PERSON CAN AFFORD. I'm sorry. I'm used to not having much money. So if a guy doesn't spend alot of money on me that's fine. Being with the guy is the important thing. And if I enjoy his company it doesn't necessarily have to be expensive.
  • Margaret Jacobson 2012/05/03 19:14:23
    Margaret Jacobson
    I have just as much fun on an ocassional cheapie date aqbout $15.00.......sometimes spend more or less......having fun is the point?? not so much cash !!!
  • Inquisitve Kat 2012/05/03 18:37:40 (edited)
    Inquisitve Kat
    The numbers mess me up a bit... I'd be more likely to say I spend between $30 and $60 on a typical date.
  • paddy Pete 2012/05/03 17:54:02
    paddy Pete
    It should depend on what you can afford.
  • TasselLady paddy Pete 2012/05/04 00:10:28
    Exactly what I said. Things aren't cheap anymore!
  • flyingseaturtle BN 2012/05/03 14:41:24
    flyingseaturtle BN
    For me it does not matter how much money is spent on a date but the quality of time ;-)
  • Jamie Carbonetto 2012/05/03 12:16:46
    Jamie Carbonetto
    If he takes me to a nice restaurant, whether he wants to spend 20 or 100 dollars, he better know how to calculate at least 20% for tip. At the very least, the first date should be 20% to show me the he is generous. On one particular first date, this guy tried giving $5 on a $90 bill and it was real awkward when I had to explain that that was not ok.
  • Cassie.Anna.Cary 2012/05/03 09:20:48
  • Kibbles 2012/05/03 08:14:12
    That much! NO but seriously that seems reasonable, I imagined ti would be around this price range.
  • Christine Leo 2012/05/03 07:55:37
    Christine Leo
    OH HELLS NO! A man should at least spend at least $100 on a date and $250 if he wants a woman to think he's prince charming. I'm in my late 30's and I haven't been a $50 date since I was like 23 y.o.

    But as a late 30's woman, if a man spent less than $150 on a date with me I'd be like, "Oh I picked out an outfit and shoes for this?" If the man and I are already in a relationship then a $60 date is okay, but I never pay even with a boyfriend, so this is okay.

    I know some people will be critical on my approach but there are too many marriage phobic guys out there or guys who will live with a woman and not marry her or become engaged to her, so I can't take any chances. I mean if so many guys are going to waste a woman's time and not commit then why should I waste my time with a cheap date? But if he puts a ring on me, sets the date, helps name the kids, then a cheap date is fine because we're in this life together forever and we can save the $ for a family and are baby's college education :)
  • KendraT... Christi... 2012/05/03 09:41:10
    you must be a troll, right. Are you seriously thinking that commitment is synonymous with the amount of money a guy spends on you. If anything, go dutch! :/ I mean, if you expect a guy to pay for you -and have it be a certain amount, at that- then you're pretty much trapped in your own gender roles -hopefully you don't want to work, love having kids, and want to stay at home.
  • Anna Christi... 2012/05/28 03:53:18
    Maybe the guys you're meeting aren't marriage-phobic, just living in a ditch-to-satisfy-your-petty-n... If you need to be payed to feel like a guy really wants your time, become a prostitute, or call girl, maybe a stripper.
    Most women aren't under the delusion that they should get paid to choose out a outfit and shoes. It's called being a big girl and getting ready for middle school.
    Besides, what are you offering men that they should waste not just their time, but also money, on you? Seems like you want them to do all the work.
  • skyebrand Christi... 2013/08/28 06:29:51
    This is why, in your late 30s, you're still single.
  • shadow76 2012/05/03 06:33:31
    Ich I don't think there should any rule, except to have a good time and that can sometimes cost nothing.
  • emoanimegirl1000 2012/05/03 05:45:49
    When was money put in dates? To me a date doesnt need money involved. Take a walk in the park, go to party, watch movies at home :D You can be a little more comfortable.
    comfortable date
  • Kibbles emoanim... 2012/05/03 08:14:48 (edited)
    Money isn't needed but it does help for special occasions.
  • KendraT... emoanim... 2012/05/03 09:41:50
    I'm not sure going to a party with a date is a good idea. Unless said party is a birthday party.
  • firebird 2012/05/03 05:22:52
    There should be NO price limit...... If you having a good time then good for you. You do what you can with what you have.
  • ..::localeye::.. 2012/05/03 04:29:17
    As long as the food and conversation are good I don't really care.
  • Latti Ice Nerd Gangsta of P... 2012/05/03 03:44:15
    Latti Ice Nerd Gangsta of PHAET
    I say between 50-100.
  • taitaFalcon23 2012/05/03 03:35:32
    That's about right.. dating is about 'trust'. If no trust, the most you get from me is a cup of coffee on a 'good day'.
  • BeautifulSoul 2012/05/03 03:29:27
    Yeah so we can evenly split the bill.
  • Aimee Sernick 2012/05/03 03:13:23
    Aimee Sernick
    I say between 50-100 reason being a typical tab with a beer n food for 2 is between 40-50 then u Go out to a other place to chill or go to the movies that's another 40
  • Stanley 2012/05/03 02:38:59
    Sounds like unrealistically low numbers - at least in the SF Bay area of California. Two movie tickets a medium popcorn and a large drink to share with 2 straws will set you back $40. Dinner at a brew pub is $50 - $60. Try a steakhouse and you're easily over $100 - without a bottle of wine at $25 to $50 more. Add in some concert tickets and you're easily in for $100- $150 additional.
    Guess it comes down to what yo mean by DATE!!
  • taitaFa... Stanley 2012/05/03 03:40:13
    That is not a typical first date; a 'first date' is 'in and out', lickety split to set up a 'second' date. The first date is a cup of coffee at Barnes and Nobles. Two reasons' take the focus off forced conversation with someone you may not have that much in common with. The other, take a FINITE amount of time getting to know each other and then bail just in case.
  • Stanley taitaFa... 2012/05/04 17:03:45
    I don't think the question as posed said anything that limited the responses to expenditures on a "FIRST" date. Let's face it. Dating isn't cheap. Perhaps as the world has turned since my dating days it would be refreshing to see a trend evolve to something like the invitor treats the invitee but just like much of other social get togethers there is some degree of I invite you >> you invite me type of alternating
  • taitaFa... Stanley 2012/05/04 19:21:41
    I see your point but I am going with the obvious - that there is always a 'first date'. I have no problem going 'upscale' on a date, but it's an investment like anything else. I've had alot of 'first dates' and I could have done better with a single tub of popcorn and a good movie instead. My view is the view of a dating veteran all over this country and beyond. After awhile, you learn to cut to the 'chase' and decide if there's gonna be a 2nd date; if not, then the investment has been inconsequential.
  • Christi... Stanley 2012/05/03 07:59:30
    Christine Leo
    Now that's a real date. I have no idea what this beer and food thing is or even a "coffee" date, unless it's a boss or something where discretion is needed. And why would any guy take a woman to less than a steakhouse for dinner, unless of course he just got out of college.

    You got it right Stanley, you know how to date, right on!

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2016/02/13 13:05:15

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