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How to bring up money on a first date

How to bring up money on a first date, with Money Bites
How to bring up money on a first date, minus the awkward pause.

Bite-Size Read:

  • Money can be awkward to talk about in relationships.
  • It’s important to know how to bring up money on a first date before the bill arrives.
  • These money do’s and don’ts will help you get this money conversation started.


Who pays on a first date?

Studies on this topic are split on the answer. Some suggest that men should pay the bill, whereas others show that women prefer to pay on a first date. In queer relationships, you might choose to follow the guideline that you pay if you invite them on the date.


The first date bill sparks a conversation about money early in a relationship.

We often don’t know how to bring up money on a first date because we’re not taught about money. This makes money a difficult conversation topic, particularly on a first date when you’re likely to be nervous. We’ve crafted some money do’s and don’ts to help you get this money conversation started.


Here’s the money do’s and don’ts for how to bring up money on a first date:


1. DO ask hypothetical questions

A great way to ease someone into talking about money is to discuss it in hypothetical terms because you’re not revealing personal information. Asking “if you were given $1 million today, what would you do with it?” is a lot less threatening than wanting someone’s salary when you’ve known them for half an hour.


2. DON’T assume who will pay for the date

The rules around who should pay on a date no longer exist and you shouldn’t assume that the gender of your date will determine who picks up the bill. Talk about it and explore options like going 50:50. In short, bring your wallet to every first date and leave your assumptions at home.


3. DO be honest

The conversation can be an opportunity to set the tone for future dates. If you’re trying to save up a house deposit, you likely don’t want to spend a lot of money on date night. Communicating this upfront means your date is more likely to budget for your financial situation and will appreciate your honesty.


4. DON’T overshare

No one wants to reveal their credit score on the first date. If you are proud of your specific situation, hang on to those figures for a future date once you’ve got to know them better. Some people are more comfortable sharing specifics like their salary early on but you may wish you save the budget spreadsheets for later.


5. DO talk about your goals

Many people only talk about the bill to be paid at the end of a first date. Instead, try talking about the money goals you want to kick. Whether it’s saving up for the car you’ve been dreaming of or paying down a student debt to see whether that’s a future they want to be part of. This can then prepare you for future dates and getting comfortable with how to talk to your partner about money.


6. DON’T judge

Everyone is at a different place in their journey with money. Your date might have taken on student debt to be the first in their family to go to university or to get a high-earning job. Ask them questions to understand their perspective before you judge their situation. If you’re on a budget, explore options for date ideas that won’t break the bank so that you’re focusing on your date, not the bill.


7. DO focus on values

Our values are core things we consider important. Values are shaped by your childhood, your current environment and the friends you spend time with. Discussing your money values reveals what you view as important long-term to see if you’re compatible such as whether you’re a spender or a saver.


8. DON’T brag

It can be really tempting to boost our ego by bragging about high-value possessions we’ve worked hard to own. However, consider whether your date is likely to share your enthusiasm for it or be put off by your humblebrag before you share.


9. DO discuss your childhood

Our childhood experiences around money are often internalised and carried with us into adulthood. This can be what your parents explicitly told you about money or what you implicitly picked up from them in their habits and financial behaviours.


10. DON’T assume

Making assumptions about someone’s prospects based on their background or their current job might not be accurate. Ask questions and actively listen to their responses in order to build an understanding of who the person across from you on the first date is.


Money is something that you will encounter on a first date when the bill arrives.

It makes sense to talk about money to take the awkwardness out of the bill arriving and no one knowing where they stand. If you can get comfortable with how to bring up money on a first date, you’re more likely to have deeper conversations about money with someone you’re financially compatible with.

Written by Kate Crowhurst

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