Love may not "cost a thing," as Jennifer Lopez once sang, but dating sure does. And it's hitting millennials' and Gen Z's wallets particularly hard.
In fact, 22% of millennials (ages 26 to 41) and 19% of Gen Zers (ages 18 to 25) have gone into debt from what they've spent on dating, according to a September Lendingtree survey.
Overall, survey respondents said they spend about $91 on a night out, on average. Respondents who identify as women said they would spend an average of $81 on a date, while respondents who identify as men said they would spend an average of $104.
"Everything is getting more expensive," LendingTree Chief Credit Analyst Matt Schulz says in the report. "It's not just the new clothes, roses, ride-share, fancy dinner, concerts or the after-show coffee — it's all of it."
"The extra cost of each of these things individually may not be earth-shattering, but added together, they can be a very big deal," Schulz adds.
Keeping track of your dating expenses can be difficult, since "humans are known to inaccurately account for their money mentally – both in terms of the amount they've spent and their spending limit," Michael Liersch, head of advice and planning for wealth and investment management at Wells Fargo, tells CNBC Make It.
"That combination can create dynamics at the end of the month where you go to pay the rent, utilities or other bills and realize that your dating life is causing you to spend in a way in which you're indebted," he says.
Using credit cards or mobile payment applications can lead people to "tap their way through dating" without realizing how quickly those expenses are piling up, says Liersch. "If you have relatively high credit limits and pay only the minimum payments, it may not be noticeable for months."
Creating a tangible budget can be helpful for making sure your finances aren't being negatively impacted by your dating life. To track your expenses, start every month with a budget for what you can spend on dating and subtract from it after each date, Liersch suggests.
It's also "best to be honest about your budget" with your partner, says Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at Bankrate.com. "I don't think it serves you or your relationship well if you're taking on expensive debt. That's not sustainable," he tells CNBC Make It.
Although it can be tempting to overspend on dates in order to impress your partner, budget-friendly options, such as homemade meals or trips to a museum, can be suitable alternatives.
Around 85% of respondents said they wouldn't feel offended if their partner took them on a low-cost date, Lendingtree's survey found.
"Remember the old adage: it is the thought that counts," says Liersch.