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Affording Your Social Life Podcast Episodes

The Financial Cost of Love

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This week, Pete and Alex, along with Phil, talk about how their love lives impacted their finances while in college.

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Contrary to what J-Lo might have you believe, love does cost a thing. It’s inevitable. You and your significant other, whether or not you’re at same school or not, will often find yourselves trying to maximize the amount of time you’re spending together. Often times, though, that means you’ll be spending some money in order to do it. So how do you save money and still keep the spark going?

Realizing that there is a trivial relationship between how much money you spend on a relationship and what you get out of one is an extremely important first step. With long distance relationships, there is always the thought process that it’s important to do as many things as possible in the short amount of time you have together with your significant other. But if you actually sat down with them and talked about whether or not they actually cared about going out, what do you think they’d say? Chances are, they’d say they were just happy to be with you and it didn’t matter what you did (cue the “Awwwww’s”). And like anything, creating a standard of having to spend money will make it harder to break the habit down the road. So the sooner you and your significant other can be happy just by being in each other’s company, the sooner you can save up some money. If you are going to the same school as your significant other, take advantage of the free/discounted events that are already on campus and use those as date nights to avoid having to spend a lot of your money.

Of course, we understand that there will be times where you want to go out and enjoy the town, and you absolutely should. Just keep in mind that even if you have a certain amount of money to spend, it doesn’t mean you have to spend all of it.

For example, dinner and a movie has long been the standard of date nights, and maybe in the way back it was much more affordable to do such a thing. But as it stands now, dinner and a movie in the conventional way can set you back over $50. There are many ways to save money in this situation and still have a great evening: you could cook dinner and go to a movie or go to dinner and watch a movie at home. Or if you’re a romantic looking for something slightly different, pack a picnic and go to a drive-in movie. It’s significantly cheaper, you get 2 movies, and your date will agree it’s a much more special than doing the conventional thing (Indiana still has some great drive-in theatres and you should check them out if you haven’t before). The bottom line is that through a little extra effort/thinking, you can have a fantastic night for significantly less.

Although awkward, you could also talk to your significant other about finances. Numerous studies have shown that one of the top reasons for relationship problems is finances. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s because the couple, combined, isn’t making enough, but it could because each person handles their finances differently and prioritizes how they spend their money. What if you were always spending your hard-earned money on doing things with your significant other, but they spend all of their money on “stuff” (insert your own category here) and never have any leftover for your relationship? Chances are you’d feel pretty slighted, which could lead to some issues in your relationship.

The important thing is that early on in your relationship you establish a habit of discussing finances, whether big or small things, to help you avoid problems down the road. So be honest with your partner about your money…although it can be uncomfortable, that discussions will make your relationship stronger and better for years to come.