Why 'Infla-Dating' Can Benefit Both Your Wallet And Your Love Life

Wanting to date within budget can make you to be generous in other ways.

By Mark Travers, Ph.D. | September 7, 2023

The thrill of being single and exploring the dating scene is a rite of passage that almost everyone experiences. From finding the perfect outfit for a date to finding the perfect partner, dating can be an immensely rewarding and self-affirming experience.

But there's a crucial and sometimes overlooked factor to consider when venturing into the world of dating: the cost. Whether it's lavish dinners, winery escapades, or investing in the perfect pair of shoes, each expense accumulates, eventually amounting to a substantial sum. When you factor in inflation, the toll on your bank balance becomes even more pronounced.

The popular dating app Plenty of Fish conducted a survey involving over 8,000 users in 2022 and unveiled a noteworthy trend — 48% of single millennials and Gen Zs are actively embracing more budget-friendly date options. Termed "infla-dating," this trend is a response to the escalating costs of everyday necessities such as food and fuel.

Here are three compelling reasons to consider joining this growing movement.

1. Budget-Friendly Dates Make For More Interesting Experiences

A 2022 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association revealed that 66% of adults in the United States identified financial concerns as a primary source of stress in their lives. Considering this statistic, it's no surprise why people, especially young people, would find expensive dates more stressful than sexy.

Instead of relying on lavish, expensive dates to create a memorable evening that may or may not lead to a lasting relationship, it is helpful to seek out cost-effective date ideas. These could involve meeting for coffee, visiting a dog park, taking advantage of happy hour specials, attending a painting workshop or planning a picnic.

The interesting thing about budget-friendly dates is that economic constraints can, in fact, push you to be more creative. This is why infla-dating might actually turn out to be a much more enjoyable and wholesome dating experience compared to the usual dinner-and-drinks drill.

Infla-dating can help you go "off-script" and challenge social conventions to come up with interesting ways to impress your partner. While conventional dates rely primarily on money and physical appearance, money-crunch dates rely on your intelligence, emotional quotient, and ability to sustain stimulating conversation.

So the next time you plan a date, challenge yourself by looking for a hidden spot overlooking the city skyline or cooking your date's favorite cuisine as listed on their dating profile. A loaded wallet will never be able to express your feelings as accurately as attention and effort do.

2. Infla-Dating Promotes Healthy Financial Communication

We usually talk about everything under the sun on a date except for financial matters — and we're often expected to forgo financial constraints on a date in an attempt to make a good first impression.

The era of infla-dating, however, might see the downfall of this arbitrary convention as budget-friendly dates might push people to have healthier conversations about finances and how they intend to spend their money in the short as well as long-term.

Infla-dating might reinforce to people that talking about money and being judicious with spending isn't the buzzkill people make it out to be. Incidentally, one's relationship with money also happens to be a value that plays a key role in determining a couple's compatibility.

A recent study published in Journal of Family and Economic Issues examined the role of positive communication, specifically financial communication (along with sexual communication and relational communication) in mitigating the negative effects of economic pressure on sexual satisfaction.

The findings revealed that when one partner experienced financial strain, effective financial communication by the other partner protected against negative sexual consequences. This suggests that communication can serve as a valuable resource for couples dealing with financial stress, aiding in their adaptation to challenging financial situations.

Therefore, it might not be such a bad idea to initiate money-related discussions early in the dating phase to lay the groundwork for a stable and resilient relationship.

3. Unconventional Dates Help You Focus On What Really Matters

Conventional date spots like high-end restaurants and rooftop bars not only come with a hefty price tag but can also be noisy and distracting, making it challenging to truly connect with your date. While these settings can be enjoyable, it's essential to remember that the focus should be on the person you're with, not the location.

Opting for low-cost and low-key infla-dating activities presents you with the opportunity to center your attention on building authentic connections.

Therefore, consider arranging a cozy picnic in a serene park, hosting a game night or going on a nature hike. Ultimately, the interaction and comfort determines the quality of the resulting connection, which does not require excessive spending — it requires consideration and thoughtfulness.

You can save both your money and time by focusing on the quality of your interaction rather than the extravagance of your surroundings.


Dating is supposed to give you a taste of everything your love life has to offer, and the luxuriousness of the setting has little bearing on these experiences. This does not necessarily mean that money doesn't matter, it simply means that exploration, experimentation and paying close attention matters more than a hefty bank balance.