Friday, 3 August 2012

Weekend warrior: A new relationship will always blow out your savings plan

This is just a quick pre-weekend post from me which will touch on the topic of relationships and your savings plan.  If you are already in a relationship it is more than likely that your savings plan has taken this into account, however, if like me you have been single for a while and then starts dating, this tends to blow all budgets and other financial plans out of the water.

Let me say upfront that I would never base my decision to enter into a relationship on whether or not it would impact my savings or investing goal HOWEVER I think it is something that you need to acknowledge and adjust for.

What are the typical expenses? These are just some of the expenses that come with a new relationship:
  • Paying for all the dinners initially 
    • I know there are different views on this but generally speaking almost every relationship I have been in there is the expectation that the man will pay early on for dates.  I am comfortable with this but it probably is the biggest expense that is unaccounted for
  • Additional gifts such as birthday presents. 
    • Note that I have not yet heard of what consensus is on this topic.  Some people suggest that no matter how long you have been going out with a person that the expectation is there for good gifts early on while others suggest that this is only the case a fair while into the relationship
  • Other expenses such as fuel costs:
    • Do not underestimate the impact of these higher costs.  I have tripled the amount I drive since starting to date which comes with higher fuel costs and car maintenance charges

If I'm trying to save should I try and date 'on the cheap'?
This is one question where everyone is likely to have a different opinion. Personally I believe that:
  • Being too cheap can backfire quite badly as no one wants to date a miser
  • At the same time all things in life are about expectations and I think that if you are overly extravagant early on that you are setting yourself up for problems later on
  • There are plenty of things that you can do which do not require an great deal of money which are just as good.  For example going for something like a romantic picnic instead of a fancy dinner may have the same desired outcome without the associated cost
I think it is a balancing act where you need to adhere to social norms and conventions but realise that if you go overboard you are going to get into trouble later.


Overall in think that you need to accept that being in an relationship costs more than being single (assuming that you are not living together and saving costs on things like accommodation). 

Obviously I believe the non monetary benefits far outweigh the costs and this is what living is about.
I would love to hear your opinion on this topic.  I would especially like to hear about the female perspective (especially around expectations) and experience so please comment below.

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