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The Economics of Your Love Life in Your 20s — The Article Nobody Else Will Write

“If you want your pockets to jingle, stay single.”

I threw out random quotes to be a jerk while a buddy whined about his most recent break up. I couldn’t be bothered. I’m not a bad friend. I just can’t hear the same pity stories every few months from the same people. Life’s far too short to spend it feeling sorry for yourself. We all have that friend who can never seem to get their finances or their love life in order.


The Economics of Your Love Life

Dating and money.

What’s more fun to discuss than these topics? I’ve saved some money and been on a few dates and in a few relationships, so I figured I would write the article that nobody else wants to in the personal finance world.

Are you single in your 20s? Did you happen to get married at an early age?

Let’s have some fun and look at the economics (this is Studenomics) of your love life in your 20s…

What are the economics of being single?

“Little boys tease little girls when they’re 8, and women still love it when they’re 28 and 48.” — David DeAngelo

The amount of money that you spend when you’re single vs when you’re in a relationship is drastically different.

Being in a relationship can get expensive. Everything is for two. Dinner for two. Movies for two. Drinks for two. Trips for two. You have to always buy for two.

You’re hoping that your partner pitches in sometimes, but for the most part, the onus is on you to pay. You can’t be selfish. Even if you stop for a quick bite to eat, you have to think about your partner and if they’re hungry or not. You have to plan events for two.

This is both good and bad. Good if you love your partner and don’t mind spending the money. Bad if you’re cheap or a personal finance blogger that tracks their spending.

Then there’s the other side to dating…

You can save money with a partner if you have similar values on finances. This is rare, but I’ve seen frugality zealots get together and save money like nobody’s business.


When you’re dating you don’t have to stress about going out, paying for expensive dates, or worrying about the next time you’re going to get laid. As someone in their 20s this is important. Don’t even try to tell me that sex isn’t a priority for you. Unless you’re a corpse of course. Having a partner means that you never have to worry about the next time you’re going to be with someone. This can really keep you in line and focused on your other goals since you’re not always looking to find a date.

How does that joke go? Sex is like air. You don’t realize how important it is until you’re not getting any.

You have to go out more often when you’re single.

You spend more money this way. You’re always out and about trying to meet someone new. When you meet someone new it’s usually a short-term relationship, and you’re back out on the hunt.

You can’t stay in because it’s boring. You want to constantly be meeting new people. The chase is often better than the catch.

Time to ask the important questions…

Is it better to be single or in a relationship for your wallet?

What’s better for saving money?

Personally, it all depends on what my situation at the time is. Every point in life is different for me. There have been times where I was studying and working full-time, with blogging thrown in there. I didn’t have time for much else at all. Then there were summers where going out and working out felt like my job.

In 2010, I spent a fortune on going out all summer. Thankfully, I had a job and was making money through blogging. My buddy and I literally went out almost every single night. Luckily, we figured out how to cut costs (taking the bus and pre-drinking).

Some single guys just sit at home and do nothing. Others are out every single night looking for another story.

It all depends on your lifestyle choices/spending decisions when you’re single compared to being taken.

If you enjoy hanging out at home with your girlfriend every single day, then being taken will be better for your wallet. If your girlfriend wants to go out every single night, then it might make your pockets feel lonely.

This naturally leads into…

What about marriage, moving in, and commitment?

My friend recently let his girlfriend move in with him. He hates it. If he’s reading this, sorry for outing you like this, but you should know by now that I’m a natural instigator. I don’t want to be miserable. I don’t want to live with someone who I can’t stand.

I can’t tell you what to do here because I’ve never fully moved in with someone. I’m also not going to be there in the middle of the night for you. The traditional advice is to do what makes you happy. Follow your heart. I guess?

In reality, we all need to open our eyes up a little bit!

Are you just dying to be in a relationship? Are you willing to marry the next person that you kiss? I have friends like this. They’ll move in with the next person that looks at them. I don’t believe in that. I want you to open your eyes up and see what this world has to offer. There’s so much to explore and see. I have so much traveling of the world left to do before I think I can move in with someone.

Then there’s the flip side here…

What about heartbreak and loneliness?

It happens to everyone. Some dudes get lonelier than others. Some guys have no luck with ladies and are not willing to improve. Others love their independence and have no issues with meeting women.

My advice is to become more interesting. 

Get out there and see what the world has to offer! Learn more, read more, improve your appearance, approach strangers, and take some business risks if you have to. Do anything to become more interesting.

When you’re having a blast, you won’t have time to be lonely or to feel sorry for yourself. And nobody wants to be around a miserable person. I want you to be the type of person that you would like to meet.

How do you make yourself more attractive?

Attraction isn’t a choice.

Do you ever notice this? You see a beautiful girl on the street and you fall in love. You think about her non-stop. Your friends don’t get it. You don’t get it either. Attraction isn’t a choice. Conversely, you might see some attractive female with an ugly walrus. You wonder why. You want to know why? Because she’s attracted to his confidence, attitude, or something else.

Attraction isn’t a choice. You can’t try to be logical or to force someone to like you. It’s not that nice guys finish last, it’s just that everyone on this planet wants what they can’t have.

How can you become more attractive/interesting instantly?

  • Go on trips. Have you been anywhere fun lately? Any stories to tell? Anything to talk about? Go on a trip and come back with legendary tales.
  • Have good stories to tell. Everyone loves a great story-teller. You won’t even have to focus on the content. It’s often the character that makes the story.
  • Work out. You’ll look better and you won’t have any time to feel sorry for yourself. You’ll be constantly pushing yourself. You can check out our other site, Kettlebell Rebels for more details on this one.
  • Learn more stuff. The more you learn, the more you have to talk about. What have you learned lately?

Why would anyone want to be your friend or talk to you? Do you have anything interesting to discuss?

You need to stay busy in your 20s. Life’s too short and this is the best time in life to take control of everything. You can start a business, go on cool trips, and save up tons of money.

What if you’re too busy to even go out? There are other options.

Should you try online dating?

Why not?

You have nothing to lose. I used to mock online dating until I met a buddy that sold me on it. My friend used to love online dating because he had his own business and worked long hours. He didn’t have time to get drunk every weekend or to spend his evenings gallivanting. So he turned to online dating and loved it. The aforementioned buddy who just moved in with his girlfriend, he met her online.

What dating sites should you try?

I’ve noticed that the free sites like Plenty of Fish are a joke. Girls go on there to feel good about themselves. They get validated by horny guys that are throwing out essays full of empty compliments.

My friend even tried an experiment. He convinced one of his female friends to create an account. By the time she logged in for her second appearance, her inbox was flooded. How do you expect to get through?

I suggest that if you want to try online dating that you join one of the sites that charge a premium rate and take the time to ask you more about your personality. These sites will do their best to set you up with someone who you’re compatible with. The rest is on you. I personally have never met anyone off the Internet. Not sure why. But it’s worth a try if you’re bored right now. I’ve heard of many positive experiences.

That’s all that I have to say about the economics of being single compared to dating.

What’s my conclusion on the economics of dating?

Life’s amazing. If you’re single, take the time to improve yourself and to meet as many people as you can.

If you’re taken, don’t forget that you’re still an individual.

I find it absolutely hilarious when personal finance writers debate whether they would date someone in debt. Um, have you ever experienced amazing chemistry before? That’s the last thing that you’re thinking about.

Getting married, now that’s different, you have to discuss everything about money before you go through with it.

I do feel that you spend more money when you’re single only because you go out more often and don’t have anyone to keep you in check. This doesn’t mean that you have to find a partner ASAP. Just a personal observation.

Taken = you hang out with the same person all of the time and plan activities together.

Single = you go out on random nights and on many dates.

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” – Dorothy Parker

What did you guys have to say about this dating?

This article was originally published on 04/23/13. We will update it and look it over every year before Valentine’s Day with some new thoughts.

Jordan chimed in with:

“During college, I was single, alone, and in a hell hole. I probably spent more money trying to get friendly with ladies, most of whom wouldn’t give me the time of day. It’s kind of soured my thoughts on dating as a whole, but it’s forced me to be more independent. Whether it’s better to be single or in a relationship for your wallet is one thing, but which is better for your peace of mind is a whole other ball game (Gods, I hate cliches).”

Stephanie had to say:

“Glad someone wrote this! The beauty about getting married or being engaged vs. being single or dating is that the things you invest money in (dinners, vacations, house stuff, etc.) are an investment that will grow something that will last (like memories when you’re older). When you’re throwing money at a casual relationship just to win them over, you never know if that “investment” will last 3 years, 3 months, or forever.”

Bridget joined in with:

“Everything that matters further on, matters at the start. No point in pursuing things with someone you’re incompatible with in one important thing or another.

Besides, I haven’t found a correlation between great sex and a debt, so rest assured you can get the former from a partner that doesn’t have the latter.”

I’m curious to learn more about your situation. You guys single? Married? Dating? Confused? How have the economics worked out for you? Do you spend your life savings on dates?