Dating Tips on Dating and Money: Who Pays?

Dating and money: who pays? What are the expectations? Does it matter if it’s an online setup or a date with someone you’ve already met? These dating tips were discussed during a recent telegathering I hosted for long-term relationship seekers and marriage-minded people. In today’s world, online dating and societal shifts have blurred the lines of responsibility, which makes these relationships questions more difficult to answer than they once were.

Prior Planning

My first dating tip is that the cost of the date doesn’t matter as much as the effort that goes into the planning. I cannot stress this enough: Do your planning. Whether you have $10 or $100, you can make a date memorable by putting some thought into your dates. There’s an extensive list of ideas online at my website. If you live in the DC area you go to “Great Places to Take a Date” at for helpful dating tips on where to take a date.

Cost Effective Courting

In today’s economy, most of us need to be more cost effective with our choices, including our dates. If you are someone with a solid income, then consider yourself lucky. For many of us, planning is even more important in making your date know that you are interested in pursuing a possible relationship. Another great dating tip is that it doesn’t have to cost a lot to date. We have concerts, theatre in the park, botanical gardens and so many nice places you can take a date. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, especially in the early stages on courtship.

Women, if you’re on a budget, buy some groceries and cook for your guy. Time and again my male clients who pay for the majority of dates have told me how much the simple effort of a home cooked meal means to them. They also don’t want to feel like they are always giving and not getting any effort back.

If you live in DC, you can find cost friendly options at A picnic at a free concert means much more to a woman if the details are worked out beforehand (i.e., blanket, chairs, picnic basket of food, wine or drink). In today’s busy world, many women enjoy having everything planned for them in advance so they can relax during the date. I know I always appreciated this. My husband Alan did this for me on one of our first dates.

And Who Pays?

The traditional answer was that the man should always pay. Today, however, that’s not always the case…Lots depends on each ones relative incomes. However, my dating tip for you is that on the first meeting set up via an Internet dating site, you should not expect the other person to pay. So if you’re meeting for coffee, each person should expect to pay for his or her own share of the tab. Most women will appreciate it if you pick up her tab. However, this should not be expected on a meeting when you’ve never met one another prior to the date.

Another key dating tip is that if you have met your date prior to your initial date and you asked for the date, then, you should plan on paying. I heard a horror story from one of my clients who was asked out by a man to an expensive restaurant and then asked to split that big check…and her portion of the meal only cost a fraction of the man’s! Remember, the same applies to you: if you ask a man for a date, be prepared to pull out your purse. The man may insist on paying in the end – however, you should plan on paying if you do the asking.

My last dating tip for you is that if the man pays for dinner, it would be nice if the woman offered to pay for the movie or parking. Today, men are looking for partners and it shows you don’t expect to be given everything. A man will appreciate the offer even though he may insist on paying for the whole date. Again, your relative incomes do matter in dating relationships.

Until Next Time,

Amy Schoen

Amy Schoen, MBA, CPCC is a certified professional life coach and a national dating and relationship expert. Schoen, author of “Motivated to Marry: Now There’s a Better Method to Dating and Relationships” and “Get It Right This Time: How to Find and Keep Your Ideal Romantic Relationship”. Learn more about Coach Amy, her products, services and free teleclasses at