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Great Dating Expectations Take Toll on Men

Great Dating Expectations Take Toll on Men

Category: Savings

Updated: 31/10/2008
First Published: 25/03/2008

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Men are facing a big financial hit from 21st century dating, according to the latest NS& I Quarterly Savings Survey, which reveals old-fashioned expectations among men and women. On average, men expect to pay 60% more on a date than their female counterparts and some are even prepared to go into debt to fund this. While spending to impress is making many wallets groan, encouragingly some sensible guys are planning ahead and saving in advance.

Dating is a deeply-embedded cultural phenomenon and finding a partner in 21st century Britain seems to be almost as reliant on finances as in Jane Austen times, as couples stick to traditional gender roles.

According to the survey, men expect to fork out over £50 (£52.51) on a date, with women reckoning on spending about £20 less (£32.49). These costs add up, with single men in Great Britain collectively planning to spend over £12billion a year on dating, while the figure for women is over £7.5billion less.

In view of romantic expenses a quarter (25%) of men will spend on their credit card, even though they know it will be difficult to pay back, and 16% of men would borrow money from friends or families to fund the date. Even with just over a quarter (26%) of men saying that they set money aside specifically for this purpose, it seems that once men are out on their rendezvous they are happy to spend now and worry later. Three quarters (75%) of men say that they have overspent on a night out and more than one in ten (12%) have been caught short of money at the end of the date.

Dax Harkins, senior savings strategist at NS& I, said: "There is no doubt that dating costs a lot, and many people in Britain need to think beyond impressing with wit and charm and also plan their finances. Given the expense, especially for men, it is great to see that some are setting money aside specifically for this reason. However it is clear that men need to keep at least a few of their thoughts on money when they're trying to impress on a date, so they don't end up overspending or being caught short of cash."

Men seem to understand what the opposite sex wants as the women surveyed said they expected money to be lavished on them. On average, women said they would want their date to spend over £40 (£40.05). In contrast, men don't hope for as much and generally twenty pounds (£22.85) will do. In fact, almost a fifth (17%) of British women say they expect men to pick up the bill on an evening out. It's lucky then that men are so generous with 40% saying they think that their partner should pay nothing at all towards their romantic liaison.

With these kinds of expectations, men may be right in thinking that it helps to spend to find favour with their date, with a large proportion of men (45%) admitting they wanted to be seen as generous and financially well off in the eyes of their companion, in order to make a good impression. In contrast this is only important for less than a third of women (29%). But they won't necessarily carry on spending indefinitely. Indeed, nearly a fifth (18%) of men will walk away if they think their date isn't worth the money they're investing.

Positive about the savings start to 2008

Despite a mixed set of results for the savings indicators this quarter, closer analysis of past winter savings trends in the Quarterly Savings Survey suggest that we should be encouraged about the savings start to 2008.

During winter 2007/08:

  • In line with the seasonal trend, there has been a marginal drop in the average amount being saved per head (from £91.15 in autumn 2007 to £89.84 this quarter).
  • However the population saved a higher percentage of its average monthly income than in autumn 2007 (7.10% compared to 6.81%).
  • This is the first autumn to winter period where the amount people want to set aside (its ideal level of savings) each month has increased, rising from £180.91 to £185.76, one of its highest recorded levels.

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