Love can cost you.
American singles spend about $20,000 on average dating in a lifetime, according to event planners Paint Nite who surveyed 1,000 people on the ins and outs of dating.
For the more than half of all millennials who are currently single, based on a Gallup survey, that's a large chunk of change.
These days, just dinner and a movie costs about $90 — even more if it's in 3-D. On average, a special night out on the town can set you back a few hundred dollars.
But there are plenty of fun things to do that don't break your bank. To that end, here's how to date on the cheap without feeling cheated on date night:
Going out for drinks can add up quickly, especially when cocktails can cost more than $14 a glass in many metropolitan areas. Instead, try meeting for coffee, especially if it's a first date. If you still prefer the bar scene, pick a spot during happy hour and snack on the free chips or nuts.
Or go "bar hopping" with friends by rotating among friends' homes and supplying your own drinks and snacks, suggested Victoria Fillet, a certified financial planner and founder of Blueprint Financial Planning in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Wine shops also often offer wine tastings for free. Try the tasting, then "buy a bottle of wine and go find a good spot to catch the sunset," said equity strategist Ken Talanian. It's a romantic way to spend time over a drink without paying restaurant prices, he said.
Parks, in general, are a great spot for a cheap date, Talanian added. "Sometimes the best dates don't have to be expensive," he said. "A picnic, wine and cheese in the park, or even an ice cream date can be more enjoyable than an expensive dinner."
Going out to eat can get expensive, while cooking at home can be time-consuming and costly, depending on the menu.
Still, convenience often wins out. Millennials spend about $175 a month on restaurants, 14 percent more than older generations. And 87 percent of millennials will splurge on a nice meal even when money is tight, according to Restaurant Marketing Labs.
Now there's a new option growing in popularity: recipe-delivery services. It provides you with the ingredients you need to make a meal in exactly the right proportions from the different dinner options you choose on the websites. For about $190 a month, you get two servings of two or three recipes a week (depending on the service) all delivered to your door.
"If you want fresh, healthy, home-cooked food but need to save some time, recipe-delivery services are a good option," said Benjamin Glaser, an editor at DealNews.
But whether these meal-prep services save money, time and actually taste good is another story. So we tried out three: Plated, Blue Apron and Marley Spoon. Here's what we found.
You'll save time. It's faster than going to the grocery store to shop for all of the ingredients, because the companies ship the exact amount of the items you'll need, like vegetables, meat, pickle chips, multicolored Tinkerbell peppers and even gochujang (a Korean condiment).
That also means you won't waste money on food you don't end up using. You don't shell out for ingredients that you might throw away or never use again because the services send the exact amount, like two tablespoons' worth of lemon zest or a half cup of salad dressing.
You could save money. A basic meal package will cost you $48 from Plated and Marley Spoon and $60 from Blue Apron per week. Plated and Marley Spoon include two different meals for two people. Blue Apron provides three different meals for two people, which comes out to about $10 to $12 a head, pretty reasonable for a nice dinner.
"They can be comparable to grocery store prices, which suggests they are cheaper than eating at restaurants or getting take out," said Glaser.
But do you get what you pay for? Sam Heilbroner, 24, a medical student in New York City, tried Blue Apron. "The food itself was excellent," he said. "The quality was probably the same as a $25 entree at a restaurant."
You'll pick up some new cooking tips. If you don't know how to prepare something, there are tutorial videos on the sites, like how to blanch green beans, core a tomato or the best way to mince garlic.
We made a lemon chicken and green bean dinner from one of the services. Eating a similar dish out would cost about $15, according to foodservicewarehouse.com, but could cost $20 or more at a pricier restaurant.
Whether you've just graduated college or you're a working millennial looking for a career change, some cities are better than others for getting your professional life off the ground.
Two-thirds of those aged 18 to 24 said a job opportunity was the main factor in considering a new location, followed by the cost of living and getting a fresh start, according to a recent Adecco survey of more than 1,000 college students and recent grads.
Joyce Russell, the president of Adecco Staffing, said she witnessed it first-hand with her own son who moved halfway across the country. "He went to a city that he had never been to before and he went there just for the opportunity," she said.
Summer is the most popular time of year to move and that means many millennials are packing their bags.
In fact, 44 percent of those young people say they plan to pull up stakes within the next year, according to Rent.com.
Relocating for a job was the top reason millennials move, the apartment search website said. Moving for love was a distant second.
"Typically they go where the work is," said Dick Power, certified financial planner and founder of Power Plans. Millennials will jump on the opportunity to improve their skill sets and up their paycheck, he said, "so it's very common they will change jobs half a dozen times for a career."
But moving from one location to another can be a huge hassle, not to mention a hit to your wallet.
Here are some tips to make your move a little easier financially and physically:
Start by mapping out your expenses in advance — it may cost more than you think. About 15 percent of consumers said they went into debt as a result of moving costs, according to Our Town America, a direct mail company that targets recent movers.
The average cost of an intrastate move is $1,170; interstate moves average $5,630, according to the American Moving & Storage Association. (That's based on the average weight of belongings of 7,500 pounds.) Although for millennials with less stuff, the cost would be lower, according to Michael Keaton, a spokesman for AMSA.
For do-it-yourselfers, sites like Moving.com have a packing calculator to determine what size moving truck you will need, in addition to packing supplies. Although the cost varies by location, renting a 15-foot moving truck will set you back about $30 a day plus $2.49 a mile. Securing a truck that is too large will waste money on gas and rental fees, not to mention that the bigger it is, the harder it can be to navigate.
The cost of boxes also adds up quickly, particularly if they are specialty ones. Average-size packing boxes cost about $2 each but hanging-garment boxes are four times as much. Instead, try pulling a large garbage bag over multiple items hanging in your closet and tie a string around the tops of the hangers to keep them together. U-Haul, for example, also offers a box exchange where customers can pick up free used boxes before their move.
If you are relocating for work and your employer doesn't cover the moving costs, you may able to write off some of those expenses, including traveling to a new location or transporting your furniture. The rule generally applies if you work full time and your new workplace is at least 50 miles away from your old home.
Your regular renter's insurance may cover your move, but double-check to make sure. If not, ask your insurance provider if you can purchase a rider on your base policy. You can also generally purchase insurance through your mover.
"It isn't inexpensive because of the likelihood of loss or damage can be pretty high," Power said, but it may be worth the peace of mind.
For many millennials, a summer vacation abroad may be a luxury, but this hot spot could still be quite the steal for young travelers.
That destination is Mexico, which scored the top ranking over dream locales like France and Italy on most millennials' wish list, according to travel site Virtuoso — specifically, the Riviera Maya located on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
"We know that millennials prefer to be physically active during their vacations and look for destinations that offer a more authentic experience," said Misty Ewing Belles, managing director of global public relations at Virtuoso. "The Riviera Maya does just that."
With everything from cliff diving, zip lining, ancient ruins and sunny beaches, Mexico is a popular destination during winter, but for cash-strapped students or those just starting out, summer is the best time to score a deal.
Americans are expected to spend an average of $941 on summer getaways per person, according to an American Express survey. Despite busy lifestyles and attempts to save, a whopping 89 percent of millennials plan to travel this summer, the survey found, more than any other group.
"Traveling during the low-season [July-October] will save a bundle," Belles said, based on Viruoso's bookings. "Hotel average daily rates are up to 46 percent less than peak season [November-March]."
So pack your bags, here's how to hit Mexico on a budget:
"A good old fashioned strategy is save per [pay]check a certain amount towards travel and use that as your vacation budget," said certified financial planner Kevin Meehan of Wealth Enhancement Group. "Don't borrow any money to travel on credit."
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