Love comes with a price tag.
Unless you're a sugar baby, spending time with a new love interest most definitely costs more than sitting in your room honing your DOTA skills or watching drama serials.
No matter how kind, considerate and/or thrifty your date is, stepping out of the house to see him or her costs money.
Here are four ways your budding relationship can become an expense, and how to minimise the damage without staying single forever (well, unless that's what you want).
Going on frequent dates
The fact that you're even reading this probably means you're not married. And being Singaporean, that means you're likely to be living with your parents. And that means romantic dates at home are probably not much of an option right now.
Going out, no matter how lavish or how cheapskate your rendezvous are, costs money. Seeing each other after work, for instance, necessitates a meal together, and the cost of most shared activities like movies and drinks can really add up if you see each other regularly.
That isn't to say, however, that there aren't free/very cheap activities you can partake in. It just takes a bit of research to know what they are.
If both of you are Singaporean or PR, museums like the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore Art Museum and National Museum are free on Fridays after 7pm. A walk at Gardens by the Bay or Botanic Gardens costs nothing. And so on. It's up to you to make the effort to find and plan for these activities ahead of time.
Spending money to impress your date
In the early stages of a courtship, people have the tendency to want to put their best foot forward, and show the most favourable image of themselves, in hopes that the other party will deign to consider a relationship with them.
And unfortunately, in Singapore, the "most favourable image" of a person is usually one in which they have lots of money.
And so, in the most cliche/conservative/heteronormative couples, the scenario that often plays out is one in which the man tries to impress the woman by taking her to expensive restaurants in a bid to demonstrate his financial prowess.
Resist the temptation to do this. You might be able to temporarily trick the other person into thinking you're loaded, but that's not really the best basis for a relationship. The right person will see you for who you are, so be yourself early on.
Celebrating special occasions
Some couples like to celebrate every single month they've been together, but okay, most people don't get that excessive.
Even so, with birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, lunar calendar birthdays and so on, you've got a lot of celebrating to do, so don't set a bad precedent by spending too much money on each, or you could be setting yourself up for a lifetime of pressure.
Romantic partners tend to try to match the other's spending, so don't be the one to spoil the market.
The most expensive types of celebrations are definitely weddings. Once you're an item, expect your partner to start receiving wedding invitations addressed to both of you, even if you don't know the couple that's getting married.
While the weddings of total strangers can be diplomatically avoided, good luck trying to dodge the weddings of every cousin in your partner's family, or the birthdays of all his/her uncles/aunties/great-uncles/third cousins.
If you let yourself become a doormat and get dragged to special occasions of every single person to which your SO is faintly connected, prepare to go broke.
In such a situation, it's important to be honest and make it clear you don't have unlimited time and money, and are therefore able to attend such gatherings only on occasion.
Does dating have to be expensive? Share your thoughts in the comments!