Love don’t cost a thing, as Jennifer Lopez might tell you, but relationships sure can thin your wallet. When you’re in love, it’s easy to forget all the things you know about saving money because nothing else matters more than seeing our special someone happy. Yep, from special date nights and constant upkeep to gift giving and traveling, it’s easy to go over the top when it comes to our relationship spending.
So how can you avoid draining your money and ending up broke? No, the answer is not to dump your boyfriend or make him pay for everything! Keep reading for a few tips
Avoid celebrating your monthsary in extravagant fashion.
Sometimes, when you’re madly in love with your boyfriend, anniversaries are not enough. That’s the premise behind a “monthsary,” a once-a-month celebration most Filipino couples are so fond of. While this little monthly celebration is a great excuse to go out on a date with your partner, the money you spend can accumulate into a huge sum by the time you reach your anniversary. We’re not saying you shouldn’t observe or celebrate; we’re just saying that it’s not the gifts or taking each other out to eat that makes it special.
Here’s a tip: Use the element of surprise. Instead of budgeting a monthly “big date” for your monthsary, save your cash and then now and then surprise each other with a date when you expect it the least. This way, you don’t run out of date ideas and money all at the same time.
Maintain a dating budget.
Each month, allocate some of your money for your “date savings.” This is an “account” both of you contribute to, which you can then use on special occasions (e.g., your anniversary). Depending on how much you have on your date savings, you can easily determine where you can go or how you can use your money.
Split the bill.
When you and your guy go out on dates, take turns footing the bill, or you could even split it down the middle. After all, when you both know how to give and take, it’s a sign that you’re in a good and healthy relationship. Spend some time together making decisions about your finances, too. If you map and establish the money rules in your relationship, and discuss things like splitting expenses, you’ll strong money attitude that will help you be more in sync with your goals and current situations, as well as keep your financial commitments separate from your romance.
Dress to impress, but don’t break the bank to do it.
As the Queen B Beyonce said, “Every now and then you’ve got to put that freakum dress on.” Yes, your boyfriend would appreciate it if you make him feel like every date is your first in terms of how you prep and prettify yourself, not just for his benefit but to keep your own confidence levels high. But you don’t have to spend big to do that. You don’t need to wear designer brands to impress your guy. I know a few friends who can pull off a nice set of ukay clothing and still look like a million bucks. Their secret? They know that looking good depends on how you feel about yourself—regardless of the clothes you wear. So while the right set of clothes can boost your confidence, don’t forget that it’s confidence that makes you look great, no matter what you’re wearing.
Put less emphasis on material gifts and expensive gestures.
You don’t have to shower your other half with video games, shoes, bags, and other material things all the time. Try going out of your way to do something special, such as cooking him breakfast or leaving him a sweet note. Even a simple kiss or hug can mean so much to your beau that even the latest Jordan shoes can’t match. Being cheesy alone can come in handy—and can potentially save you a lot of money. Remember that in the end, it won’t be the gifts that make your relationship, but the memories you make together, how often you make each other smile, and that special feeling you have when you are together.
Being in a relationship can be expensive, but that’s not a given if you know how to manage the costs. In fact, you have all the resources you need to make responsible decisions regarding money, and if you do it right, you might just find that sharing expenses as a couple may turn out more affordable than experiencing things on your own. So instead of the usual dates and expensive gifts, write a sweet letter to your boyfriend, seduce him into some sexytime, or even plan a night star gazing on a picnic blanket—all of which are ways to show him how much you care as well as prime gestures to solidify your relationship, and none of which cost a thing. Stay frugal, friends!
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Dyan is a 25-year-old writer with a sense of humor of a prepubescent male. On weekends, she hibernates.