Here's how much Americans spend on dating at every age

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Looking for love comes at a price. In 2019, Americans spent an average of $697 to go on dates, according to a 2020 survey by LendingTree, which polled 1,281 U.S. adults.

The amount Americans spent last year on dates — whether it was on dining out, attending a concert, visiting a museum or otherwise — differs by gender and generation. Here's the breakdown by age:

  • Gen Z (ages 18 to 23): $366
  • Millennials (24 to 39): $696
  • Gen X (40 to 54): $903
  • Baby boomers (55 to 74): $632

And here's how the responses differ by gender:

  • Men: $861
  • Women: $500

Men spent $361 more than women over the course of 2019 on dating, the survey found. This discrepancy could be due to the fact that people in search of a heteronormative relationship often still abide by traditional courtship "rules," which dictate that the man is obligated to pay, LendingTree reports.

By generation, Gen Xers spent the most, putting $537 more toward dates than those in Gen Z. This could be due to the amount of expendable income they have compared to other generations. Americans typically earn and spend the most between 45 and 54, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which includes most of Gen X.

How finances can affect dating

If you want to date, but don't have an endless amount of cash to put toward it, you aren't alone. Of those polled, one in three participants say they've "turned down dates because of money" or due to a shortage of cash.

In that situation, many people would be open about their finances: 50% of men and 48% of women say they'd tell the truth if they were asked on a date, but couldn't afford to go out. At the same time, 26% of men and 19% of women say they'd front the cost by using a credit card and 18% of men and 21% of women say they'd simply pass on the date without offering an explanation.

Source: LendingTree

While cancelling due to finances may sound like a cheap move to some, it's worth remembering how much a first date can cost. Survey respondents report spending an average of $77 on a first date in 2019, which is no small price to pay for taking a chance on someone new.

Here's how the average amount spent on a first date differs by age:

  • Gen Z: $72
  • Millennials: $83
  • Gen X: $82
  • Baby boomers: $58

Although it can be tricky to mix finances with dating, especially when first meeting someone, there is some good news: A majority of respondents (76%) would not be bothered if their date used a coupon or gift certificate to pay for the date, the survey found.

And if it's money that's stopping you from dating, there are plenty of others who can empathize. But, as LendingTree points out, good dates don't have to be expensive: "Driving your new boo down a winding country road to a homemade picnic can be just as romantic (if not more so) than going out to a restaurant or movie theater."

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The first date debate: Who picks up the bill?
The first date debate: Who picks up the bill?