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Money May Not Buy You Love, But It Sure Helps

Meriel Jane Waissman
Getty Images

A candlelit dinner, a bottle of bubbly Champagne and a beautiful date. You tear your gaze away for a second to glance at the check your waiter just gave you. Your heart skips a beat at the sight of the three-digit number. But never mind, the stunning smile across the table is worth it.


Relationships come with sweet romance and accelerating heartbeats, but money, unfortunately, is often a crucial ingredient in the mix as well. Think about it: Weekly date nights, vacations, wedding, honeymoon and even divorce ring up bills of all sorts.

Here are some fun facts on the modern economics of relationships:

The average cost of dating is highest in Austin, Texas, at $81.42 and lowest in Portland, Ore., at $43.53. New York comes second at $76.15 and Miami third at $73.34.

Over half of men spend more than $50 on a date, while women are three times more likely to spend $25 or less — but 65 percent of women spend more than $50 preparing for the date by buying new outfits or grooming.

For Valentine's Day this year, consumers are projected to spend an average of $146.84 on gifts, up from $142.31 last year and the most since the survey began in 2007. Candy is the top Valentine's Day gift.

The average cost of a wedding in 2014 was at a record high of $31,213. But it also depends on where you live — New Yorkers' wedding bills were triple those in Kansas City, Mo. The overall wedding budget has climbed while the average number of guests has decreased.

The most expensive cost of throwing a wedding is booking a reception venue at an average of $14,006, followed by the engagement ring and reception band. The average prices of the groom's attire and the wedding dress are $254 and $1,357, respectively.

Twenty percent of annual flower sales are around Valentine's Day and 250 million roses are produced for the day.

  • According to several legal advicewebsites, the cost of a divorce can range from $15,000 to $20,000 (or more), depending on the type of litigation. An uncontested divorce would be cheaper than a litigated divorce.
  • As for relationship financial advice, maybe Destiny's Child can offer you some inspiration with Bills, Bills, Bills:

    "Do you pay my automo' bills? If you did then maybe we could chill."

    Or The Beatles can speak truth to you through Can't Buy Me Love:

    "But what I've got I'll give to you, I don't care too much for money."

    Otherwise, you can just pay for a couples' financial counselor. What is love compared to bills? That all depends on you.

    Zhai Yun Tan is a digital news intern.

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Zhai Yun Tan
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