'Hot Vax Summer' Is Coming for Your Wallet -- How to Balance Fun and Finances

by Maurie Backman | Published on July 1, 2021

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A laughing man and woman drinking beer while standing on a rooftop under string lights.

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Don't let a desire to get out and date mess with your financial well-being.

While the coronavirus pandemic has been tough on a lot of people, it's been brutal for singles, many of whom, for the past year and change, have been cooped up at home unable to meet new people or attempt to date.

That could change for the better in the coming months, though. Now that much of the public has been vaccinated -- and those who haven't yet may have a relatively easy time procuring a jab -- singles across the country are likely to spend the summer of 2021 putting themselves out there on the dating market.

But the eagerness to meet new people and gain companionship could come at a cost. Not only is dating itself expensive, but those who do it frequently may be more apt to spend extra money on things like salon visits, new clothes, and, in some cases, a new set of wheels to impress their dates.

If you're stoked for the upcoming hot vax summer, it's imperative that you take steps to avoid a financial mess in its aftermath. Here are a few tips that'll keep you from going overboard.

1. Set a dating budget

The last thing you want to do this summer is spend so much money on dating that it lands you in debt or forces you to dip into your savings that's earmarked for emergencies. And the best way to avoid that is to set a dating budget.

Take a look at your income, estimate your essential expenses, and then see how much money you can afford to spend on dating based on what's left over. Having a specific figure to work with will help you make strategic decisions -- like meeting at a hip coffee shop on a first date rather than springing for a high-end restaurant.

2. Establish spending priorities

You may plan to date -- a lot -- this summer. But should the money you spend on dating come at the cost of fun vacations or outings with your established friends -- the ones who supported you via Zoom calls when the pandemic was raging and you were trapped at home with no company other than your cat?

Before you allocate too much money to dating, think about the ways you want to make the most of the summer. You may decide to opt for more casual outings (think picnics at the park or get-to-know-you hikes) and reserve more of your funds for nights out with the people you already know and love.

3. Pick up a side job

After a year of stay-at-home torture, nobody wants to feel limited this summer. And if you're willing to do a little extra work on top of your main job, you'll buy yourself the freedom to go out more.

These days, many businesses are starved for workers, so if you walk around your neighborhood, you may find plenty of opportunities at local restaurants and stores to pick up some evening or weekend shifts. And if that doesn't work for you -- say, you don't want to commit to scheduled hours on the job -- find a side gig you can do at your own pace from home, like web design or telemarketing.

There's loads of potential for the upcoming summer to be an all-out amazing one -- whether you meet that perfect person or not. And if you play your cards right, you'll be able to get out there and do your share of dating without ruining your finances along the way.

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