Possible transit strike. Check ubc.ca for the most up-to-date information.

A couple enjoying a fancy coffee and pastries
February 7, 2019
3 mins read

Money Sen$e: Money matters in romance

Money Sen$e

As the weather warms up and trees start to colour the city again, the desire to start exploring Vancouver and go on more adventurous dates is tempting. With love in the air, it’s hard not to get caught up in all the feels.

Whether you’re in a committed relationship or you’re navigating the hectic dating scene of Vancouver, I think we can all agree that dating is expensive. In new romantic relationships, you want to show your “best self.” In committed relationships, you might want to spoil your significant other (SO) with romantic getaways or fancy dinners.

In an attempt to not ruin the romance and put a price tag on your relationship, it’s easy to ignore your credit card limit as you tap away on $40 pasta while listening to live jazz music, staring into each other’s eyes.

Here are 4 awkward money scenarios that may pop up during those romantic nights out—and tips to help you navigate them:

1. You “fight” over who pays for the dinner bill

Money scenario: When it comes to talking to your friends about dating, there’s always one question that pops up: who pays for the bill on the first date? Everyone I talk to seems to have a completely different answer with enough reasons for me to write a novel.

Personally, I always offer to split the bill to avoid the awkwardness of it all. However, I have encountered people who are insistent about paying on the first date. In longer relationships, it can also be frustrating if it seems like one person is always grabbing the bill.

Romantic solution: If your date insists on paying the bill, let them! This may be their way of showing affection but keep in mind even if they pay for the first couple, that doesn’t mean they’ll be comfortable doing it forever. Offer to pay for the next date to balance things out and as a way to establish future plans!

In longer-term relationships, keep it balanced by communicating what each person will pay for. Keeping tabs can be a lot of work—you can simplify it by simply splitting the bill and being honest if you feel like there’s an imbalance.

2. You get invited to a pricey outing

Money scenario: Your date or SO texts you: Hey, there’s a concert tonight and I found tickets for only $120 each! Would you be down? You literally have $20 in your pocket and payday isn’t for another 3 days. You desperately want to go because you’re interested but you can’t stomach going into debt for an artist you barely know.

Romantic solution: If you’re the type to plan out your finances, consider sitting down with your partner and planning out a “dating budget”. Looking at numbers can be mind-numbing and boring but outlining your finances can be fun if you create goals with rewards that benefit both of you.

If you’re still testing the waters with someone, pass on the concert tickets but suggest an alternative or a date idea that saves money and shows off your personality—like biking in Stanley Park or cooking a dish neither of you has tried before. As cheesy as this may sound, if you don’t feel comfortable spending that money, the “right” person will respect that.

3. You get a pricey gift and can’t reciprocate

Money scenario: Valentine’s Day, one month or one-year anniversaries, birthdays—the list of important relationship milestones goes on forever. As fun as it is to celebrate, the number of gifts and date ideas can be extremely overwhelming. 

Romantic solution: Homemade gifts are classic AND thoughtful. You truly cannot go wrong with something personalized and sentimental for the other person. If you feel like your partner has really gone over the top with their present, let them know it makes you feel uncomfortable but you truly appreciate the thought they put into getting it. Be honest with them, but also respect how they want to show their affection.

4. You don’t want to talk about money

Money scenario: In a romantic context, it’s understandable that bringing up finances can be uncomfortable. It can get awkward whenever you bring up money and their eyes glaze over so you quickly change the subject.

Money is personal—for all of us—and it’s completely normal to not know how to address it with new partners or significant others. Differences in financial situations may make one partner feel inferior and create a power imbalance in the relationship.

Romantic solution: Leave them on read and transfer universities, completely erasing yourself from their existence (just kidding). Approach this subject lightly with a simple question that can open up further discussion like “what do you enjoy spending your money on?” Listening, sharing, and respecting each others’ values will add to the intimacy of your relationship.

As much fun as it is to get caught up in a romance, make sure you’re falling in love and not in debt!