All you need is love...but it will cost you £1,784

13 February 2019
  • New research from Barclays reveals that the average person invests 4.5 years and £1,784 in finding love
  • 44 per cent of Brits worry about how much dates cost and 16 per cent say the number of dates they go on is restricted by their bank balance
  • To help take the pressure off the quest for love and your finances, TV personality Georgia Toffolo has revealed her top suggestions for planning a celeb-worthy date on a budget.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner and the nation set to spend a whopping £13.7 billion[1] on celebrating love, new research from Barclays reveals the price tag of finding it.


The research reveals that the average Brit spends four-and-a-half years and goes on 18 dates before meeting ‘the one’, spending £92.50 per date and an additional £27.30 a year on dating tools (from apps to online dating sites) – a total bill of £1,784.


While food (£20.05) and drinks (£16.87) are two of the biggest costs on a date, Brits also spend an average of £18.10 making sure they are dressed to impress with new accessories and clothes.  


It is perhaps unsurprising then that 44 per cent of people surveyed admitted that they worry about the cost of dating and 18 per cent of Brits revealed that they have had to dip into their savings to pay for a date. What’s more, 16 per cent of people have had to turn down or limit the number of dates they can go on based on their finances.


Josie Clapham, Managing Director of Community Banking at Barclays said: “Planning dates should be fun, whether you’re single and hoping to meeting someone, or already in a relationship and planning quality time with your other half. However, our research shows the cost of dating can really add up and nearly half of people worry about how much they’re spending.”


To try and maintain both a healthy dating calendar and a healthy bank balance, one in five (21 per cent) people set budgets for dates to make sure they don't spend more than they can afford and over a quarter (29 per cent) of people revealed they deliberately plan cheap dates to keep costs down.


The younger generation - those aged 18-24 - splash the most cash while on dates (£118.18), however they are also more likely to split the bill fairly. In fact, 41 per cent of people aged 18-24 think that costs on a date should always be split equally, while a quarter (26 percent) think that each person should only pay for what they had. Meanwhile, a significant proportion (43 per cent) of those aged 55+ believe that the man should pay for everything on a first date.


To help the nation’s lovebirds enjoy Valentine’s Day (and beyond) without worry, Barclays has teamed up with Georgia Toffolo to offer her advice on the best dates that don’t cost the earth.


Georgia Toffolo said: “Dating is a great opportunity to meet new people, have fun and – possibly – find real love, but it is so easy for the costs to spiral if you’re regularly heading out for dinners and drinks.

"I’m a big believer that money can’t buy you love and this new research from Barclays supports that: being kind, funny, and keeping off your phone were found to be the best ways to impress on a date! With that in mind, I’m sharing my ideas on the best cheap dates so you can keep on enjoying the dating scene without spending the whole time worrying about the bill arriving.”


Georgia Toffolo’s best budget date ideas to enjoy on Valentine’s Day and beyond:

  • A picnic in Hampstead Heath, nothing better on a scorching day. Filling a hamper with thoughtful details and perhaps a pair of swimming trunks/ swimming costume in case the Ponds are tempting.

  • Go for a wander down the West Bank of the river (or rent a kayak if you want to splash out and see things from a different angle), arriving in Richmond just in time for tea

  • Expedition to Borough Market, especially on Saturday mornings, it is so buzzy and fun. Trying so much incredible produce in one place is amazing, you can always buy fab cheese, veggies and grab a quick bite. I also love the flower shop in one of the side streets!

  • Portobello Road on Saturday, finishing in Golborne Road – great for window shopping in all the cool antique stores.

  • Watch a classic movie at Prince Charles Cinema, it shows old and cult movies where you can sing-along, dress up or just enjoy with a glass of wine. It is also in the heart of China Town so a delicious dinner after is a real treat, and won’t cost the earth

  • Chip in together on a boating trip in Regent's Park, the most idyllic park to spend a lazy afternoon reading the papers and limericks - all very Bridget Jones

  • Combine afternoon tea with something a little different at The Pottery Cafe in Fulham, it’s really laid back, you get to show off your artistic skills and take your decorated piece home with you as a memento of your date.


Josie Clapham continues, “Georgia’s ideas for cheap dates are a great way to keep the costs down without compromising on experience, and there’s a whole host of tricks you can use to manage your money day-to-day so you aren’t putting your wallet under unnecessary pressure when it comes to planning dates.”


Josie Clapham’s top tips:

  1. Set a budget: Dating can be expensive, particularly in the early stages when the pressure to impress is on. For the sake of your finances, it’s important not to get carried away. Before going out, set yourself a realistic budget for the evening based on how much you can afford to spend.
  2. Stick to your budget: Even with the best intentions, it is easy to get carried away with spending once you are out and enjoying yourself! Consider taking your budget for the date in cash, so you can keep track of how much you have to spend, and to discourage you from going over.
  3. Bag a bargain: If you are planning on going out for a meal or to see a film, look for money-saving offers that you can use to keep costs down – there is often a deal to be had - or perhaps you could swap a night out for a night in instead!
  4. Keep on top of your finances: The best way to ensure you aren’t spending more than you can afford is to always know how much money you have to spend. While this can sometimes seem a daunting task, there are useful tricks that can help you. With Barclays Mobile Banking app, for example, you can bring your other bank’s current accounts into your banking app so you can view them all  in one place. You can also check your calendar of future payments to make sure you don’t spend money you’ll need later in the month
  5. Honesty is the best policy: Money can be an awkward topic to chat about at the best of times, let alone with someone that you are dating - but you don’t want to be putting yourself under financial pressure because you want to avoid the topic. If you are keeping a closer eye on your finances, let your date know and suggest a different activity that’s more within your budget. Cutting costs doesn’t mean cutting the fun, and they will probably be grateful about saving a few pounds themselves!


To find out more about how you can better manage your money with Barclays, visit: www.barclays.co.uk/money-management


About the research:



Research carried out by OnePoll in January 2019, surveying 2,000 UK adults

[1] Calculated by multiplying the number of adults in the UK, as per the Office for National Statistics, by the amount of money the average person is set to spend this Valentine’s Day, as per Barclays research (£25.63):