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NS&I reveal dating expectations takes financial toll on 21st Century British men


Men are facing a big financial hit from 21st century dating, according to the latest NS&I Quarterly Savings Survey, which reveals old-fashioned expectations among men and women. On average, men expect to pay 60% more on a date than their female counterparts and some are even prepared to go into debt to fund this. While spending to impress is making many wallets groan, encouragingly some sensible guys are planning ahead and saving in advance.

Dating is a deeply-embedded cultural phenomenon and finding a partner in 21st century Britain seems to be almost as reliant on finances as in Jane Austen times, as couples stick to traditional gender roles.

According to the survey, men expect to fork out over £50 (£52.51) on a date, with women reckoning on spending about £20 less (£32.49). These costs add up, with single men in Great Britain collectively planning to spend over £12billion a year on dating, while the figure for women is over £7.5billion less.

In view of romantic expenses a quarter (25%) of men will spend on their credit card, even though they know it will be difficult to pay back, and 16% of men would borrow money from friends or families to fund the date. Even with just over a quarter (26%) of men saying that they set money aside specifically for this purpose, it seems that once men are out on their rendezvous they are happy to spend now and worry later. Three quarters (75%) of men say that they have overspent on a night out and more than one in ten (12%) have been caught short of money at the end of the date.

Dax Harkins, senior savings strategist at NS&I, said: “There is no doubt that dating costs a lot, and many people in Britain need to think beyond impressing with wit and charm and also plan their finances. Given the expense, especially for men, it is great to see that some are setting money aside specifically for this reason. However it is clear that men need to keep at least a few of their thoughts on money when they’re trying to impress on a date, so they don’t end up overspending or being caught short of cash.”

Men seem to understand what the opposite sex wants as the women surveyed said they expected money to be lavished on them. On average, women said they would want their date to spend over £40 (£40.05). In contrast, men don’t hope for as much and generally twenty pounds (£22.85) will do. In fact, almost a fifth (17%) of British women say they expect men to pick up the bill on an evening out. It’s lucky then that men are so generous with 40% saying they think that their partner should pay nothing at all towards their romantic liaison.

With these kinds of expectations, men may be right in thinking that it helps to spend to find favour with their date, with a large proportion of men (45%) admitting they wanted to be seen as generous and financially well off in the eyes of their companion, in order to make a good impression. In contrast this is only important for less than a third of women (29%). But they won’t necessarily carry on spending indefinitely. Indeed, nearly a fifth (18%) of men will walk away if they think their date isn’t worth the money they’re investing.


Notes to editors:

Quarterly Savings Survey
For a PDF of NS&I’s Quarterly Savings Survey or further information on the statistics supplied in this release please contact the NS&I media team. Further information and previous copies of the survey are available from

The online survey, which questions people about their savings habits, was carried out by TNS among 2,032 GB adults aged 16-64 years old between 22 January and 31 January 2008. The full Savings Survey telephone research was carried out by TNS among 3,026 GB adults aged 16+ between 30 November 2007 and 3 February 2008.

NS&I is one of the UK’s largest financial providers with 28 million customers and over £83 billion invested. It is best known for Premium Bonds, but also offers High Income Bonds, ISA accounts, Guaranteed Equity Bonds and Children’s Bonus Bonds in its range. All products offer 100% security, because we are backed by HM Treasury.

NS&I products are available over the telephone, internet, post and by standing order. They are also available through a network of 14,000 UK Post Office® branches. Customers can also pick up brochures for our Premium Bonds and Inflation-Beating Savings products at retailer WHSmith in 400 of its High Street stores.

PR Contact:
Gill Stephens
National Savings and Investments
375 Kensington High Street
London W14 8SD
020 7348 9449


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