Love does cost a thing - £1,652, to be exact

Wednesday 12th April 2023

  • New research from Novuna Personal Finance reveals that the cost-of-living crisis is impacting the pursuit of love with the average singleton spending £1,652 and going on 15 dates before finding a partner
  • Almost a quarter (24%) of single people have had to reduce the number of dates they go on or wait longer to go on a date with someone they’ve met due to the inflated cost of living
  • More than half (54%) of UK daters have had to make sacrifices when finding love such as not making essential purchases and even deferring bill payments

A new study by Novuna Personal Finance has revealed that the cost-of-living crisis is significantly impacting the dating lives of UK singletons. The study, which polled individuals across the UK, shed light on the financial investment required to find a partner.

The study highlighted that, the average single adult in the UK spends a considerable £1,652 and goes on 15 dates before meeting that special someone. When it comes to the cost of an individual date, the most people spend is around £60, with men and women tending to splash out at almost the same rate – men spending at most, on average, £68.

As the ongoing cost of living crisis continues to impact spending power across the UK, those who are not in a relationship have been hit particularly hard, with singles spending an average of £1,851 on monthly bills compared to £991 for those in relationships1. Yet, the financial squeeze hasn’t deterred everyone -many are still willing to go all out to find companionship, with 13% of people admitting to spending more than £100 on a first date.

The cost pressures spiral further, with image-conscious singles amassing an extra bill before the date even begins.

Over a third (35%) of respondents reported going shopping for new clothes or accessories for a first date, with two out of every five (41%) women doing so. Surprisingly men are more conscious of their appearance before stepping out for a date. A quarter (25%) of women have spent money on a haircut to prepare, while 37% of men have treated themselves to a pre-date trim. On average these pre-date expenses are setting singletons back an extra £40 per date – a significant investment.

For some, the cost of dating has caused them to alter their social habits and become more selective in their dating. Nearly a quarter (24%) of single respondents cited high living costs as a major impediment to their dating lives, causing them to reduce the number of dates they go on or postpone them entirely.

The trade-offs do not end there, as more than half (52%) of respondents said they have had to make sacrifices or postpone plans to save money for a date. For example, more than one-fifth of singles (22%) reported being unable to save any money for the month. More concerning is that nearly 30%  admitted to delaying paying bills or cutting back on necessities in order to fund their romantic pursuits. 18% have even been forced to put their love life completely on hold faced with mounting financial pressures.

When considering regional differences across the UK, more singletons in the West Midlands (28%) than anywhere else are being forced to make the ultimate sacrifice to put their love life on hold by not even going on dates because of the current economic climate. Those in Wales (37%) are most likely to go without everyday necessities or defer paying off bills in order to fund a date and those  looking for love in the North-East (13%) are most inclined to resort to deducting the service charge of a meal to help facilitate a budget friendly date.

Yet, the financial squeeze however, is not cramping everyone’s dating style – 61% of daters surveyed have taken considerable steps to get a discount on a date. More men (69%) have utilised these savings compared to women (55%). The study found that the most common way to save money is by pre-booking through an app to get a discount (18%), followed by choosing a specific date and time to receive a special discount (17%), such as happy hour, set menus, and dinner offers. 9% resorted to removing the service charge from their bill in order to save.

Theresa Lindsay, Director of Marketing at Novuna Personal Finance, said: “Our recent research has revealed just how willing singletons are to make sacrifices and compromises to meet that special someone. We have seen a significant shift in attitudes towards dating in the last year, with people carefully scrutinising their spending and saving habits before venturing out.

“However, despite this, our research found that the dating scene is still is very much alive and kicking as romantic wannabe Brits are still prepared to splurge a considerable amount of money to find love, with some spending more than £100 on a first date. This clearly indicates the behaviour we see anecdotally - love is often a financial, as well as an emotional investment.”





The findings are the result of an Opinium omnibus research study conducted from 16 March to 20 March 2023. During this time, 1,000 UK adults, 750 who are single and 250 in a new relationship were surveyed.