44% of Daters Are Going on Fewer Dates Thanks to Inflation

Over 1 in 5 Americans say inflation has impacted their dating life

A couple sitting on a couch watching a movie
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They say love doesn’t cost a thing, but dating in 2022 with inflation currently at a 41-year high is pricey. According to a new survey by The Balance, 44% of daters are going on dates less frequently due to higher prices. Cutting back on the number of dates was the most common response to how inflation impacted their dating life among those surveyed.

About 1 in 4 people surveyed by The Balance say they are dating, and nearly all of them (90%) reported that inflation has impacted their dating life. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not dating at all—1 in 3 daters surveyed say they are more likely to meet virtually as opposed to in-person because of rising costs.

Netflix and Chill Over Dinner and a Movie 

Over one-third of daters surveyed said they are trying to spend less money on dates, with 40% saying they are more likely to suggest free activities instead, making it the second most common response to inflation among daters in the survey. 

Inflation is now forcing Americans—dating or not—to tighten their purse strings. Almost 60% of those surveyed by The Balance say they are spending less money on activities such as movies, concerts, and sporting events. The costs of dining out and entertainment can add up, which may force you to prioritize your expenses towards items you need versus those that would be nice to have.

A majority (92%) of those surveyed reported that they are cutting back on spending because of higher prices, with gas, groceries, and dining out leading the list of expenses where they are seeing the greatest price increases. 

Dating Can Be Expensive

A separate survey by The Balance in December 2021 found millennials spent an average of $69 on first dates. Nearly 1 in 4 were willing to pay more than $100 on a first date, while a similar number reported spending at least $250 a month on dating. 

However, your decision to cut back or go all out on dating expenses can have some impact on your dating life. Nearly 22% of daters surveyed last year said they were more likely to accept a second date if their date pays for the first one, and roughly 18% said that how much their date spends impacts the likelihood of going out with them again. And that was before rising prices began burning a hole in our wallets.

But inflation doesn’t have to keep you from meeting people. If dating is a priority for you, there are ways to save money and budget so you can put aside some extra money for dates. Look for free or low-cost activities in your area so you can date without breaking the bank. And don’t be afraid to set financial boundaries for yourself—anyone who doesn't respect them probably isn’t worth your time. Or your money. 

Methodology 

The Balance conducted a survey among 1,200 Americans from June 30-July 9, 2022. The survey was fielded online via a self-administered questionnaire to an opt-in panel of respondents from a market research vendor. To qualify, survey participants (18+) must at least partially manage their own finances. Quotas were used to ensure national representation for gender, race/ethnicity, region, generation, using U.S. Census (2019 ACS) estimates as a benchmark. Quotas were also used to match national representation for political affiliation using Pew Research’s American Trends Panel (2022) as a benchmark.

Research and analysis by
Amanda Morelli
Amanda Morelli, Director of Brand and Market Insights at Dotdash
Full Bio
Amanda Morelli is the senior director of data journalism at Dotdash (The Balance's parent company), and she oversees development of data journalism projects for publications across the company. She designs and executes original research and analysis, and identifies opportunities and strategies for exploration.
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Article Sources

  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Consumer Price Index - June 2022.”