Obviously, I’ve starting this series with the low hanging fruit. Don’t worry, we’ll get into the side of poly finances that aren’t about dates and dating soon.
Anyone with an individual budget can budget for dates the same way they budget for anything else. Create a line item in your budget for “dates” and pick how much money each month you want to/can afford to spend on dates. You are done budgeting for dates.
But what if you have a joint budget with your poly partner(s) (or anyone else). Disagreements about paying for dates have crashed many poly relationships. “What do you mean you spent 0 on your date with Jay! We can’t afford that!”
“You can’t tell me when I can and can’t go out with Shauna, you’re just using money to control me!”
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” A plan for how much money you can afford to spend on dates can save a lot of headaches and heartaches.
3 Approaches to Budgeting for Dates:
Line item—Date money
Just like an individual budget, your joint budget can include a set amount of money everyone can spend on dates. This money is available to everyone to use as and when they want. You’ll need good communication to make sure you don’t go over budget. This option allows a lot of flexibility. With good communication you can keep your dates within budget, have flexibility, and give everyone a chance for a big night out once in a while.
If Michael has no dates planned in August, I can go on a big expensive (expensive for us anyway) date. In September Michael is planning to visit C. He’ll get most of the “going out” money (plus any extra we can scrape up) for the trip. In October maybe we’ll split the money evenly.
Multiple line items—Partner 1 date money, Partner 2 date money, etc
Instead of one line item for date money, have a separate amount budgeted for each person. Each person has their own money to spend on dates. You don’t need to discuss who is doing what or how much each person wants to spend this month. If Partner 1 wants to go on an expensive date, they may need to save their money for a month. In the meantime, partner 2 can go on a bunch of inexpensive dates. You have less flexibility, but also fewer chances for accidentally interfering with your partner’s dating plans. And less chance of going over budget.
Multiple line items—Personal money
Everyone has a set amount of money for personal stuff. Personal stuff can be hobbies, dates, sex toys, that expensive beer they love, or anything else they want to spend it on. Perfect for when not everyone is actively dating or some people have expensive hobbies. Everyone has their own money they can spend on whatever they want. If they want to spend it on dates, they can spend it on dates. If they want to spend it on stockpiling an epic yarn stash, they can do that.
I usually spend my personal money on books and stuff for my hobbies. Until last year, it went to pay my web hosting. (Thanks again to awesome Patrons that not being necessary any longer!)
Personal money is a good option for mono/poly relationships. The poly partner can spend money on dates without the money coming out of the household budget. The mono partner has money they can spend on hobbies, nights with their friends or a treat that makes them happy.
You can use more than one option. Michael and I use “going out” money and “personal money” in our budget. For a long time, the “going out” money was mostly used for us to go out together, but it’s also available for date nights with other partners. Personal money can be combined with “going out” money for more expensive outings.
This post is part of the Polyamory Finances blog series.