Without buying into stereotypes about dating, the fact is that you'll probably spend more money on things like dining out than if you were single. When you're seeing someone, you'll want to do things that make your time together special, whether it's going to the cinema, taking a trip or enjoying a meal together. Similarly, should you marry and have children, there are an almost limitless number of expenses associated with parenthood. These are the obvious costs of being in a relationship. But there are some less obvious ones as well.
Unless you live with your partner, you'll find that travel costs can add up quickly. Even frequent trips to another part of your town can lead to significant expenditures, and this is even truer if you're seeing someone who lives in another city. Driving or taking the train to see him or her regularly can put a serious dent in your budget. Upping your travel budget is a small price to pay for being with the one you care about, but it's something that will require your attention.
Your phone contract will seem generous right up until you meet the person whose voice you need to hear every day. Install a usage tracker on your phone if you haven't already; it'll help you keep an eye on how much of your minutes, texts and data allowance you're using up and avoid expensive overruns. Don't place too much reliance on your mobile phone, anyway: in a relationship there's no substitute for face-to-face communication.
If your relationship is successful, there may come a time where you eventually decide to live together. Obviously, moving in together can cut costs in many ways. However, if you've only previously lived alone you may not be prepared for some of the expenses a new partner brings. For example, you'll be surprised to see how your electricity bill skyrockets. Energy costs aren't exactly low to start with, and the addition of a new person with all their various gadgets and appliances can really add up.
As a relationship progresses, more and more expenses start to accumulate. For instance, you probably won't be expected to remember birthdays or anniversaries for your other half's family in the first year or two of a relationship. But as it matures, watch out! You'll acquire a whole new set of Christmas obligations. Of course, there are upsides – like a whole new set of people who feel obliged to give you gifts on your birthday!
A new relationship brings joy and excitement; a long-lasting relationship brings support and partnership. But both of them can bring unexpected new costs, from fuel bills to electricity prices. Obviously, these expenses aren't a good reason to embrace the single life, which has hidden costs of its own. But they are a factor that many people overlook to their cost. Whether you're starting a new relationship or taking an existing one to a new level, being aware of the hidden costs can help you avoid some awkward situations.