Cupid wears a diaper, with no place to put a wallet – but if you’re looking for love there better be pockets on your garments. Deep ones: U.S. residents spent $928 million last year just on dating services.
Love is not only grand, but fiscally prudent. Cohabitation and marriage generally mean two incomes but only one rent/mortgage, fewer nights out on the town, less emphasis on recreational shopping and more focus on shared financial goals.
“There is a real benefit – I call it a financial inoculation against poverty – in being coupled up. You’re better able to withstand tough times,” says Carmen Wong Ulrich, author of “The Real Cost of Living: Making the Best Choices for You, Your Life and Your Money.”
Oh, but the cost of getting to couplehood. Prices for makeup, “manscaping,” marriage vows and mortgages really add up.
That’s the topic of my current column at MSN Money. “The high cost of finding love” is somewhat tongue-in-cheek — but not entirely. Winding up one-half of a couple can cost you a lot of dough.
How should you look while you’re looking?
Maybe you’ll be one of those couples who Meet Cute at a yard sale or dog park, or find true love at a church event or a Habitat for Humanity build. Or maybe you’ll go the blind-date, singles-scene or online-dating route.
Whether you do it yourself or hire some help, persistence will probably pay off. The emphasis might be on “pay,” though, especially if you live in New York, Los Angeles or other petri dishes for the fabulous-looking. It can take a moderate to large infusion of cash to cover:
- The need to look your best when you’re out on the town, searching
- The push to look even better on the first “real” date
- The continuing costs of the salon, the gym, the clothes and (yee-OWCH!) the waxing
What does it actually cost to fall in love and stay there? Maybe not much. Maybe a lot.
I don’t think it should cost a lot. If you live in a laid-back area or are a demon dealista you can either dress casually or dress super-well on the cheap. But we live in expensive times — and it can be hard to get noticed with all the other eye candy (male and female) out there.
It’s easy to say, “Makeup and designer labels shouldn’t be a requirement” or “If a woman looked down on me for driving a paid-for Chevy Cavalier then I wouldn’t want to date her anyway.” It’s easier still to say such things while you’re at home alone on a Friday or Saturday night.
That stinks. However, I think we’re living in an appearance-obsessed era. Why else would third-grade girls be putting themselves on diets?
Readers: Are you on the market? If so, do you feel pressured to take extraordinary measures in order to find that special someone?