Penny Short and Pound Foolish

Written by Rachel Burnham on . Posted in Dating

A Reader Asks:

I often find myself scrambling for ideas of where to take a girl out on a date, mostly since finances are tight but I want a girl to feel special and appreciated. My finances also impact my ability to travel for dating, to afford dating websites, dating events, and how I dress on a date. Perhaps most importantly, I’m self-conscious about how I’m perceived by the girl I’m dating and my confidence in being able to provide for a wife and family someday suffers. What can I do to maximize my dating success with limited finances?

 Dating Coach Rachel Burnham Responds:

Finances are a sensitive topic for many people. Our Western culture influences us to wrap our self-worth in how much we make. The two most common questions we’ll be asked when we meet someone — “What is your name?” and “What do you do?”— suggest worth based on career or earnings. This can leave us feeling down about how society or a date may perceive us.

It’s not just a dating skill, but a life skill, for us to continuously affirm to ourselves that an individual’s worth cannot not be more divergent from the dollar amount on their pay check. Some people are extremely well-compensated for minimal labor and don’t do much of lasting value, while others work day and night and struggle to make ends meet, yet make a difference every day, love what they do, and are happier people for it.

In my coaching practice, I encourage people to look at the long-term sustainability of a relationship, and make sure the focus is on whether relationship needs are being met. When I meet a man or woman with an excessive focus on money, I remind them how transient money can be. I encourage them to look for the character, connection, respect, and personality that will be much longer-lasting and more impactful on their wellbeing. It’s reasonable to have basic needs for financial stability. Marrying someone for money, though, can be a dangerous venture.

It’s also important to be aware that wherever you may fall on the financial spectrum, quality versus quantity will almost always prevail. What you may think you lack in finances, can be made up with other strengths you possess.

Most women are less likely to complain about the quality of a dating venue and more likely to complain that they didn’t feel their date was present, listening, or participatory in the conversation. Focus on creating a comfortable and enjoyable environment for your date even if the venue is simple. A woman is more likely to feel truly cared for when you invest yourself, not when you invest your money.

If you find yourself dating women that are particular about your after-tax earnings, you may want to revisit whether you’re in sync on goals and values with your dating partners. Make sure that your material images of your future home and family are within the same ballpark. When financial expectations are not met, it can cause significant strife between couples, and it’s almost always due to one or the other not fully disclosing and/or accepting materialistic expectations, needs, and abilities earlier in the relationship.

Luckily, we are only looking for one ... the right one! The right one will deeply respect, value, and appreciate your unique and multi-faceted qualities, finances aside. If they don’t, they are definitely not suitable for you. Boost your confidence through the consistent practice of presenting yourself on a date based on your internal and long-lasting traits as opposed to a dollar amount. May that true inner self attract the right partner and guide you the shortest route to your longest relationship!

For a complete treatment of this subject, including recommendations for low-cost dating venues, advice for single parents, and how to stretch your clothing dollars, find the full article on my blog at

By Rachel Burnham

 Rachel Burnham coaches Jewish singles to successful marriages, giving them clarity and peace of mind as they navigate the path to love, connection, and lifelong companionship. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .