Friday, March 21, 2014

Dating - how to save money, what to do and what not to do!

I've been divorced nearly a year. Pre-marriage dating was pretty easy. I got asked out, I said yes. He paid, I offered to, we had fun but the rules were more clear. I was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and mostly only dated other members. Expectations were clear, we lived by the same rules, no sex before marriage, it was likely on a first date you wouldn't even kiss. I have a 20year old sister who has never kissed anyone. She has dated, but never kissed anyone and I think that's great. My blood siblings are all with the first person they slept with, their spouse. I like that. I liked how simple dating was in that sense.

I am not a member anymore. I am divorced and have dated both within and outside the church. WOW! It was an eye opener. I have been very clear that I was raised Mormon and have different standards to a lot of people I know. I won't be sleeping around and for the most part guys have been respectful of that. I know what I want, what I will and won't do etc.

How to save money with dating
This is sexist, but all the guys I have dated still wanted to pay, in fact even many of my male friends, who I am not dating insist on paying. I always offer, which I think is fair. At the same time, if a guy is on a date with me, we have talked a fair bit and he knows I am fairly traditional in many ways, which is probably why they pay. Some say they believe a guy just should pay. It's not set in stone anymore. Splitting a bill is more common I believe, but my personal experience and that of many of my friends begs to differ. Also, I've read about girls who just date when single for the free food and entertainment. If you are female, it is probably easier to save money on the actual date than it is for guys.

Free fun
Find out what free events are on and attend them. Free events aren't bad and if you choose to do a meal plus something, it leaves more money for the meal. Festivals, night time spectaculars, local attractions and events are all good options. Google free date ideas and there are a sack out there.

Prepay and use coupons
You don't want to come off as stingy on a first date so you probably don't want to whip out a coupon straight away. Many places let you prepay and use coupons online. This way you save money and they don't need to know!

Get creative
Instead of just dinner and a movie, find something fun or unusual in your area to do. Or go do things you used to do as kids. Find out what the other persons interests are and do something based on that.

Only date if you want to
When I was young I had a rule, I would never say no to the first date. This was when I dated Mormons and knew what I was in for. I did it because I thought if a guy has worked up the courage to ask you out, you should at least say yes. Subsequent dates you can say no to, but the first one takes a lot for a guy to ask. Turns out I was the first date ever for a few of my guy friends, which I did not know at the time, but I am glad I said yes. They knew my rule too and it gave the confidence to ask others.

Now, I will only date someone if I want to and have turned down a lot of dates. My time is precious. I am not going to waste it getting read for a date I am not really into. I have to pay a sitter (or use my family), spend time getting ready, take time out away from my kids that really could be used for other things so I now say no.

What to do on a date
Have fun! A date is a way to get to know someone better. You don't have to sleep with someone just because they took you out. A dinner and movie does not equal play time later.
Relax, get to know each other, ask questions, laugh, just be you.

Some examples of first dates of mine, guess which ones got a second date?
- Dinner and movies, this is by far the most common
- KFC and a cemetery
- Coffee/ a drink
- Bowling
- A church dance (when I was Mormon)
- Treasure hunt
- Bush walk in The Blue Mountains
- Beach
- Dinner at the parents
- Party

Most dates I have been on have been pretty ok. I have fun, we laugh a lot and generally I know them a fair bit before I agree to a date. My dating habits since divorcing are very different to pre-marriage.

Mainly though, the best dates I have been on, the guy just relaxes, cracks jokes, doesn't ask me a billion questions, instead just lets the conversation flow. We either have stuff in common or we don't. I don't like forced conversations. I don't really care what we do most of the time, as long as it is fun and he knows he's 'not getting any' and doesn't put pressure on me. So far, 90% of guys have been good with that.

What not to do on a date
Don't go to a cemetery. Just don't. It doesn't matter if it is the oldest one in the Southern Hemisphere. Unless she is a massive history buff and suggested it, just don't. And if you do, don't answer your phone and wander off, leaving her in a creepy old cemetery, in the dark, at night. She will definitely turn down future dates. Or is that just me?

Don't wear too much cologne/perfume. Yes, wash and smell good, don't bathe in it.

Girls, offer to pay. Guys, try not to get offended if she doesn't. Some girls are raised the guy is supposed to pay, other girls are raised both pay. Then of course there are independent girls too. If it is an issue, discuss expectations, but on a first date everyone should be prepared to pay half or all. If you don't have the cash, be honest and find something free and fun to do.
On a first date, don't surprise each other. Generally, it is a good idea to know what you are doing so you can dress appropriately. A girl in a dress doing rock climbing is not her ideal date. A guy in jeans and a tee at a fancy restaurant is also not good. Find out what you are doing and dress accordingly. I am a dresses girl, rarely do I wear pants and even then I only own 2 suit pants, 3 gym pants/leggings and NO track pants or even jeans.  
Don't expect a lot. Just expect to have fun and get to know each other.

FYI - no, I'm not single and I'm glad. 

So tell me, what are your experiences dating? What are the expectations? Best or worst date? Do's or don'ts?


  1. I dont know many christians my age and it's so normal these days to just sleep with whomever you want.I find that very frustrating about dating, I haven't met very many people that treat it as serious as I do, I'm really not looking to mess around or share and trust myself with someone unless it's serious.

    With the guy I'm seeing right now it's always been pretty split, I make more than him right now so I've treated him before. It's comfortable and goes pretty natural. So far my experiences with dating and who pays are pretty traditional though, usually ends up being the guy, I suppose that's because I'm also fairly traditional but I do like to offer to pay, when I can! It's rarely accepted though.

  2. I love that you have similar values. :) Sounds like it is good with your guy.

  3. What a great post, with very sensible perspectives all around. As long as people are cool with one another and respect each others' time and boundaries, while having laughs and fun, money doesn't have to be a big issue.


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