| April 27, 2015

Here’s one reason you may want to hightail it to the altar: The average cost of going on a date today is well over a hundred dollars pretty much everywhere.

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The dating website Zoosk calculated how much it would cost for a date in major cities across the United States. Topping the list with the most expensive date night was New York City, where a night out will cost you around $173.88. That includes two movie tickets, two drinks, two cappuccinos, and dinner for two (and just wait until you factor in cabs). Indianapolis was the cheapest, totaling just around $82.62.  

But daters shouldn’t let cost stand in the way of going out with someone they’re smitten with. There's plenty to do that doesn’t require big bucks.    

If you’re budget conscience, get creative and suggest low-cost activities like hiking, biking, sight-seeing or having a picnic, says author and speaker Jenna McCarthy. “What you shouldn’t do is go into massive financial debt trying to court or impress someone.”

The fact that dating costs are on the rise can actually be a good thing, suggests relationship blogger and speaker James Michael Sama. “The increasing costs of dating can dissuade men from asking out a larger number of women and make them focus more on women they really want to spend quality time with.”   

Of course, if a guy was really trying to impress a girl, money shouldn’t be an issue.

As Sama says, “Paying for the date is not about the money; it’s about the willingness to show your date you are willing to put in effort and contribute.”

And if your date is turned off by the fact you can’t pony up for lavish five-star restaurants or exotic weekend getaways, you just saved yourself a lot of heartache, because that person wasn’t really into you so much as what you can afford.

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But this also brings up the age-old question of who should be paying for these costly dates. 

“Since guys are still doing most of the asking, they should be doing the paying. But girls shouldn’t be suggesting helicopter rides or Broadway shows if they know the guys are struggling financially,” says McCarthy. The experts also agree that after a few dates, the woman should at least start offering to pay, even if the man doesn’t let her. 

And while he strongly agrees that the man should pay for the first several dates, Sama adds that it's important for women to at least show some appreciation. “If a man is spending not only his time but his hard-earned dollars, it is important that he feels his efforts are appreciated” as it's only good manners.

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In the end, whether you live in New York City or the more reasonable Indianapolis, couples shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that money doesn't determine compatability and romance.

For more fun statistics about your city, check out Zoosk's new Date Index below, which lists the "date words" that get the best responses online.

Zoosk's Dating Index reveals the best buzzwords to use for landing a date.