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How much should you be spending on a date?

If you're breaking into savings to afford a date, you're likely overspending. These rules will help you stay within your budget, even with an active dating life.

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    In this Sept. 24, 2013 photo, freshly-cut stacks of $100 bills make their way down the line at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth, Texas. Have money to add by using these dating tips.
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Going on a date at the end of a long week can be the perfect stress reliever. However, when you're spending half of what you're making trying to impress your date, you'll just go broke and regret every penny you spent. Fortunately, we've found some ways for you to figure out how much you should splurge this weekend — and how to get the most out of every date night opportunity.

1. Know What the Average Person Spends

Your paycheck should govern how much you can afford. Cosmopolitan found that men spend about $80 on a first date, on average. Other sources suggest that the typical person spends between $50–$100 on date night, occurring on average once a month. However, according to Match.com, 58% of women don't even want an expensive date.

2. Shell Out a Bit More on Your First Date

A first date is different than every date that follows. Spending freely on your first date is a great way to show your date that you are serious, but it doesn't mean that you need to continue spending the same amount on future dates. After all, you don't want to be too frugal on the first date, which can make you seem cheap. On the other hand, if you tend to have a lot of first dates, you may want to rein in your spending.

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3. Budget for Special Occasions

Special occasions like Valentine's Day and Christmas will have higher associated price tags. If you decide to go on a date during one of these expensive holidays, you can expect to spend more. In fact, some restaurants will even offer a special holiday menu, with more expensive entrees. Plan your budget proactively if you intend on spending more lavishly on special occasions.

4. Consider Your Location

Dating in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Washington DC, and other large cities will cost you more. This is especially the case when you factor in the cost of public transportation, tipping, and the higher cost of food and entertainment in these large cities. You will have to take into account where you live when you are coming up with a budget for the weekend.

5. Set Personal Rules

The best way to limit your spending is to set rules for yourself. For instance, you can decide that you won't spend more than $20 on a weeknight date, but can spend up to $50 on a weekend date. The only way to determine how much to spend is to take into account your personal finances, income, and what you feel comfortable spending. The last thing you want to do is run up high credit card bills just trying to impress your date.

6. Have Fun Without the Expense

A simple way to reduce your spending would simply be to limit how often you go out. However, if you budget well and take advantage of affordable (or free) dates, then you can go out much more often. Casual dates (such as lunch dates) are more affordable, allowing you to go out more often. They are also more laid back, so you can get to know your date better.

We have also found some of the best ways to impress your date for less than $20, so you can take them out whenever you have time (instead of whenever you have money):

  • Book a free tour;
  • Rent a pair of bikes;
  • Find a great rooftop hangout;
  • Go to a food, film, music, or art festival;
  • Research your local area on Yelp or online to find cheap, highly rated places near you;
  • Use Groupon, Living Social, Amazon Deals, and Yelp Deals to find deals for food, shopping, and events near you;
  • Take advantage of free dates, like hiking or a day at the beach;
  • Show off your cooking skills instead of dining out.

7. Make It About the Experience

Try not to let your feelings for your date cloud your judgment on how much you should spend. Just because they're worth a million bucks doesn't mean you should spend that. You should find a partner that is worth your time, not just your money. Then, the price tag won't seem so important.

Going for coffee and dessert won't cost you more than $20 and can set the stage for a romantic experience and healthy conversation. Remember, your date is not about a price tag; it's about the experience shared. Spending lots of money on the date isn't important. What is important is that you work to create a memorable experience for you both that will help strengthen your future relationship.

This article is from Andrea Cannon of Wise Bread, an award-winning personal finance and credit card comparison website.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best personal finance bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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