Date Night: Who Foots the Bill?

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I may be the only female out there who doesn’t believe that just because he’s the guy, Ian should foot the bill every single time we go out.

Sorry I’m not sorry that I don’t put stock in archaic gender stereotypes or double-standards. Sure, I love saving money and feeling pampered just as much as the next girly-girl, but I realize that Ian is only human, and he’s also trying to put himself through medical school with loans and scholarships. Evidently I’m not as familiar with his finances as I believed due to his recent, ahem, proposal… but we’re pretty much equally “broke college students.” That said, there are a few ways Ian and I choose to pay for Date Night without him going bankrupt.

For the first six months or so of our relationship, Ian paid for everything. Then, because I turned 21 first, and everyone knows that A.K. doesn’t just have one drink with dinner, I started paying for my adult beverages. When Ian turned 21, sometimes we would agree that one of us would pay for the meal and the other one paid for the ah-ah-ah-ah-alcohol. [Sorry. Couldn’t resist.]

Typically, we go dutch. That way, I don’t feel guilty for ordering sweet tea and filet mignon while he orders water and a salad. He told me a long time ago to order whatever I like, but it puts my mind at ease to know that he doesn’t have to go broke trying to be a gentleman. We almost always split appetizers and desserts (when we even get them), so we split the cost of them, too.

We are not above purchasing gift cards for ourselves for restaurants where we’ll soon be dining (e.g. Olive Garden). Buying restaurant gift cards at Kroger, for example, earns us major fuel points. He drives an Explorer, so saving 30 cents per gallon at the pump really helps him out!

Along that same vein, because we live two hours apart, we generally agree that whoever is the “guest” does not have to drive to dinner. For one thing, we’re each more familiar with our own city, and for another, we just like making things equal. To that end, we try not to eat out more than once per visit; whoever is “hosting” the other one cooks dinner in the other night(s) of the visit.

One of the most important Date Night rules we have is that we agree — before we even step foot in the restaurant — who will be paying. It makes the entire evening more carefree, and less awkward for the waiter/waitress. It only took one or two uncomfortable “Uhhh…” moments for us to establish that rule for ourselves. Our only other Date Night rule? No cell phones. When we’re on a date, we’re on a date. My Tweeps can find out later what I was up to, and I can delay Instagramming my food for a couple hours 😉

Of course, when we’re married, a lot of this will change. For now, anyway, we’ve got a good thing going here, so why fix what isn’t broken?

Question: When you and your significant other go out, who pays?

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