They say LOVE is free! Unfortunately, money disagrees.

Although money can’t buy love, you definitely need money…lots of it…to keep love. So before “I do,” let’s examine how fiscally responsible temporarily suspending love can be…especially if you’re young. With simple calculations, we’ve determined that love can cost about $100K even before the marriage begins. Some of our estimates are pulled from the The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and reported on in The Telegraph. 

Assuming that an adult will go on roughly 50 casual dates, have about 4 short-term relationships averaging a year or less, and 3 long-term relationships averaging a year or more before finding The One, let’s examine the numbers:

Casual Dating (50 total) – A cheap date, food and 2 movie tickets, will set one back roughly $60 so that’s at least $3,000 for the 50 casual dates.

Short Term Relationships (4 total) – Assuming the 4 short-term relationships average 6 months each, that’s roughly 16 major spending events (1 birthday, 1 Christmas (if you’re a Christian), 1 Valentine, 1 month and 6-month anniversaries) per relationship in additional to approximately 96 dates (assuming an average of 1 date per week.) At $100 per event, the 16 major events will cost $1,600 while the 96 dates will require an additional $5,760 at $60 per date. That’s $7,360 for the 4 short-term relationships.

Long Term Relationships (3 total) – Assuming the 3 relationships average roughly 2 years, that’s another 30 major spending events (at least 2 birthdays, 2 Christmases (if you’re a Christian), 2 Valentine days and 4 anniversaries (1 month, 6-month, 1 year and 2-year anniversaries) per relationship in addition to approximately 288 dates (1 date per week.) At $150 per event, the 30 major events will cost $4,500. Meanwhile the 288 dates will require an additional $28,800 at $100 each. Note that long term relationships are more serious so there’s slightly more spending per date and event. One could actually argue that the opposite is the case but I’m not “one” today. So that’s about $33,300 for the 3 long-term relationships.

The “One”

Dating & Engagement (3.5 years)  – The average time between meeting and marriage is about 3.5 years. During those 3.5 years, one spends roughly $16,800 on courtship (1 date per week at $100/date.) Unfortunately, this does not include the 3 birthdays, 3 Valentines and 3 Christmases (if you’re a Christian). And at least 5 anniversaries (1 month, 6 months, 1 year, 2-year and 3-year anniversaries) that may require spending. At $150 per event, that’s an additional $2,400. The engagement ring will cost roughly $4,000 and the engagement trip, another $2,000. That’s a total of $26,700 on ‘The One’ even before the wedding!

Wedding and Honeymoon – According to Cost of Wedding, the wedding will cost roughly $25,200. This includes the wedding ring, attires, entertainment, invitations, venue, catering, planning, etc. And don’t forget the need to go somewhere memorable for the honeymoon which will require an additional $5,000 according to USA Today for a total of $30,200 on the wedding and honeymoon.

This brings the average cost of love to a whopping $100,560! 

And this is all before the actual marriage even begins! Not to mention that the love would be even more expensive if there were kids, long distances or other interesting factors involved. One most likely won’t save $100k by remaining single and dying alone. However, one can certainly save quite a bit by cutting back on dates, engaging in fewer relationships and spending as much time alone as possible. I sometimes believe that ‘true love’ will always conquer all and outweigh money but timing makes all the difference! As a wise man once said, “you’ll always lose money chasing women but you’ll never lose women chasing money.”

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