Either way, when you first start dating someone, the costs can rack up and making sure you keep track of things on the money side means you avoid getting into the position of a friend of mine. This friend, who we’ll call Johnny Fenway (almost but not quite his real name), had to hand over all his credit cards to my wife (also a financial advisor) to ensure he could only spend so much per date (we’ll get into the nitty gritty of “who pays, when” at a later date) and make sure he didn’t end up in the workhouse (look them up, they were pretty grim back in the 1830s…).
The problem Johnny had was that he started off this dating sequence like a steam train – trying to impress his date by not only booking a very fancy date, but also ticking off one of his bucket list items. Now, a first date is unlikely to be a situation where bucket list items can be ticked off. There, of course, will be people for whom hot air ballooning followed by drinks and a fancy dinner is an affordable, reasonable way to start dating someone, but for plenty it won’t be.
Who wants to be trying to get to know someone over the noise of a hot air balloon burner anyway? There is the someone in the cabin with you, actually doing the hot air ballooning for you (they don’t let you fly the balloon yourself, imagine the health and safety paperwork if they did…). The person flying, therefore, whether they like it or not, will be able to hear everything you say. Not exactly ideal.
Keeping things simple in the early stages of dating is a good idea for all sorts of reasons not just financial. Not only does it not cost the earth, but it gives you both the opportunity to get to know each other properly find out as much as you can, and really work out if you are aligned.
It can be very tempting to just splash out to impress someone in the early stages, but remember those early dating stages are about getting to know someone properly. Not every date needs to cost the earth. Going for a walk, wine tasting, a pottery class, whatever you are into, but make sure it is something you can enjoy together and if you are paying, that is affordable.
From a financial point of view, the aim with any date for which you are paying, you want to be able to look back on it and feel it was worth the time, effort and cost. Have fun but be sensible! London is a great city for dating and there’s so many date ideas that are memorable and won’t cost an arm and a leg. Do your research and be smart with your spending!