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Dating: dos and don'ts of money

Should you pay for that dinner, or groceries?

Twanna Hines Twanna Hines

I’ll give you this for that. Sites like Sugardaddie.com and SeekingArrangement.com make transfers explicit and, therefore, more honest. Yet, you may not necessarily want to run your love life like that. For better or worse, allowing someone to shovel out cash on your behalf supports an inherent power dynamic in the relationship. Since chances are pretty slim that individuals in a couple earn equal incomes, it can be hard to keep things 50/50. You want to know about managing your money while dating and whether or not you should pay for dinner, split the rent or have a joint bank account. Grab a seat (if you don’t already have one!) and listen up.

Dinners and dates

DO remember the most important relationship is with yourself. You decide when and what to put out. You don't own anyone sexual favors just because they purchased something.

DON’T assume your partner is initiating a power play if they pick up the tab.

DO offer to pay for the first date if you know you earn more money.

DO offer to chip in for the tip, a drink, snacks or other bits if you aren’t paying for the majority of the evening.

DON’T be afraid to go along with traditional gender roles — or break them! Do what feels comfortable, have open conversations with your partner, and prepare to be challenged to consider something new.

Housing

DO pay your own rent or mortgage if you live apart. If your lover covers it, build up savings. You’ll need the emergency cash to take over payments or, possibly, move to a new place within your budget if you break up.

DO ensure both names are on the lease if you live together.

DON’T pay a dime toward a mortgage when cohabiting unless your name is on the deed. Otherwise, you’re building equity in an investment that you don’t own. Instead, pay for groceries, electricity, gas, cable or other bills to even out the disparity.

Bank accounts

DON’T open a joint bank account with someone you’ve known less than a year. Explore options to keep track of and transfer money with apps like Splitwise, Venmo, PayPal, and Bump Money.

DO keep personal bank accounts separate and, if desired, open a third, joint bank account to which you both contribute to cover shared bills.

You hung out with friends, roommates, and others just as much as — if not more! — than before you met your current lover. You’ve always had tricks to splitting bills with others. So, until and unless you’ve been with your boyfriend or girlfriend a significant chunk of time, take it easy on giving them a full run on your personal finances.

Twanna A. Hines is an award­-winning educator and sex columnist. Follow her on Twitter @funkybrownchick.

 
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