Why Freelancers Need Income Diversity More Than Ever

It’s been a rough start to the year — at least it would have been without income diversity. Since January, I’ve had three different agency clients let me go in favor of hiring in-house. On top of that, two different clients cut their standing monthly orders by half.

That’s a lot of income to see fall by the wayside. In fact, it amounts to about 2/3 of my income.

Fortunately, I’ve managed to stay afloat because I live in a low-cost area and because I have a level of income diversity that doesn’t just rely on a client or two.

Work for Hire and Sudden Income Loss

I spent a lot of time building up regular gigs. These are nice because you have some degree of stability (until you don’t). A set number of articles each month can ensure something approaching a “real” job when it comes to your income.

However, the downside is that work for hire also comes with the risk of sudden income loss. Whether someone decides to hire an in-house writer full time to replace you, or whether a client dramatically cuts your workload, it can mean instant income loss.

Most of my agency clients were kind enough to give me notice, but my other clients simply announced that they weren’t going to order the same amount of work. It can be devastating to go from a client paying $2,000 a month to that client paying $1,000 a month overnight.

You can protect yourself, to some degree, with a work for hire agreement or contract that requires notice, but the reality is that sudden income loss can be a real problem if you haven’t planned to protect yourself with income diversity.

How to Promote Income Diversity

Promoting income diversity as a freelancer is vital. Here are some of the ways you can diversify your income:

  • Different clients: Don’t rely on just one client. In the past, I’ve had “cornerstone” clients, but I try to keep them limited to no more than providing about half my income.
  • A mix of one-off gigs and long-term gigs: Even though most of my freelance gigs are long-term gigs, I still like to keep up with one-off gigs. Having a couple of these projects around can provide some quick cash when needed.
  • Other side gig income: Sometimes I drive for Lyft. I don’t do it a lot, but if I have a day where I’ve got a wide swath of time, I’ll turn on the Lyft while working on other projects and get a little extra cash. There are other side gigs like that you can do with a little extra time and effort.
  • Your own products and websites: I have a book that still makes a little money for me. You can also develop and sell courses, do consulting, and build your websites. I’m in the process of building up my websites into the income-producing level they should be at.
  • Other investments and income sources: I also have some money in taxable investment accounts. I regularly add to these accounts, which include dividend-paying funds. Many of my freelancer friends also have rental income. Figure out how you can earn a little income from different sources, and you could see improvement.

No matter your situation, income diversity is vital to your financial future. As a freelancer, though, it’s especially important to cultivate different revenue streams.

This article originally appeared on Due.com


Know Your Worth: Personal Finances for the LGBTQIA Community

Did you know that the purchasing power of the LGBTQIA community is almost $1 trillion? Yet at the same time, there are a lot of financial challenges that people in these communities face.

“We often tell people that the fundamentals of money aren’t different for queer people but the nuances and concerns are unique,” says John Schneider, who blogs with his husband David Auten at Debt Free Guys.

“This means that, to the extent that we can, queer people must be more vigilant with our money management, avoid debt as much as possible, diversify income streams, work harder, save and invest more.”

Here at Chime, we’d like to celebrate Pride Month by featuring some of the financial challenges facing the queer community. On that note, we’ve compiled specific steps queer people can take to improve their finances. Take a look:

Start a side hustle

As crazy as it sounds, it’s still legal to fire someone on the basis of their sexual orientation in 28 states. Trans people can even be fired legally on the basis of their gender in 30 states. Even worse, three states (Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina) have gone in the complete opposite direction and passed laws banning local anti-discrimination laws from being passed.

While we can work to pressure politicians to change laws, Schneider and Auten also suggest supporting groups like Out Leadership, which promotes LQBT+ people at higher echelons of the private sector. In the meantime, queer people can help buffer themselves against possible job loss (and earn more income) by starting up side hustles.

Start college planning early

“Many queer/gender-non-conforming youth are kicked out of their parents’ house or have to go no-contact with parents that don’t approve of their sexuality or gender expression,” says Lillian Karabaic from the Oh My Dollar podcast/radio show.

“Unfortunately, this means that they often can’t get access to their parents’ income information for the FAFSA,” says Karabaic.

And, because this information is required in order for almost all college students under the age of 24 to receive financial aid or scholarships, many queer young adults end up with substantial student loan debt. In fact, according to a 2018 survey, queer college students graduated with $16,000 more in student loan debt than non-queer people.

What to do? There’s no easy answer but for starters, it’s a good idea for queer people to begin planning for college early.

Learn about healthcare options

We all know that queer people are often systematically discriminated against at their jobs. It turns out that this can come back to haunt you when it comes to healthcare.

“Many same-sex married couples (like many straight couples) rely on one partner’s employer health insurance benefits to cover the other partner and any children,” says Karabaic.

“Unfortunately, this requires folks to disclose their spouse’s gender to their employer, which can result in them getting fired,” she says.

That’s why it’s a good idea for queer people to learn about all the alternatives available to them, such as the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, or community-based support programs.

Make saving for retirement a priority

Most queer people won’t deny that saving for retirement is a priority, according to a 2017 survey. However, for a variety of reasons, it’s harder for most queer people to save as much as the general population.

On average, 40% of the general population has an employer-sponsored retirement account, compared to 35% for LGBT+ people. And, 30% of the general population also has an IRA, while only 18% of LGBT+ people do.

Another factor to consider is that LGBT+ people are more likely to rank themselves as “spenders” rather than “savers” — a factor that comes from data which shows that queer people save 5% less on average than the general population.

Retirement is one of the most difficult things to save for. But if you can prioritize savings and find ways to reach your goals, you can cross retirement worries off of your list.

Financial education is key

Just because someone identifies as queer doesn’t mean she or he will face the same financial challenges as another queer person.

For example, according to one 2009 study, 21% of African-American lesbian couples live in poverty. But if you’re a white lesbian couple? That number drops to just 4%. The bottom line: all queer people face unfair financial challenges in some way or another.

So, if you’re a queer person, you can take action by educating yourself on the particular challenges of your situation and learning how you can counteract it. And, if you’re a straight person, you can help the queer community by listening to what they have to say, supporting political change, and acting as advocates on their behalf. After all, we’re all in this together. By lifting each other up we can all achieve our financial goals, whatever they may be.


5 Lesser-Known Ways to Curb Your Spending Habits

It’s easy to fall into a daily routine, even when that means spending more money than you should. Too often than not, however, your little habits add up, taking a big toll on your wallet.

You’re not alone. In fact, Americans lose track of $1,000 a year, according to a survey from Visa. And, you may be losing sight of even more cash by habitual and unnecessary spending habits.

What to do? Take time to check in on your money. This can help you become more cognizant of your everyday spending patterns. To get started, take a look at 5 ways to cut your spending and save more money:

1. Rein in Dining Out

The thought of cooking may make you groan, but your knee-jerk impulse to hit a restaurant over your own kitchen can cost you thousands.

According to the annual Dining Trends study by Zagat, the average diner eats lunch or dinner at a restaurant 4.9 times per week. With restaurant prices rising faster than grocery costs, this hits the wallet hard. Zagat also found that the average cost of dining out is $36.40 per person. Compare that to about five dollars spent on a home cooked meal, according to The Daily Meal.

At the same time, it’s important not to deprive yourself. Going out to eat can be a great source of entertainment. The key here is to reduce the number of times you eat out per week, month and year. The statistics don’t lie: if Americans reduced their dining out frequency by 50%, they could save $4,000 a year.

2. Curb Impulse Clothes Shopping

Sometimes it is hard to pass up that adorable sweater in the shop window. But how much is impulse shopping costing you?

The average American spends $150 a month on clothing. At the same time, The State of Reuse Report found that Americans throw out 81 pounds of clothing a year, 95% of which can be reused or recycled.

So, next time you want to buy new clothes, try focusing on shopping in your own closet, swapping styles with friends, or patronizing your local thrift shop.

3. Check Your Bank Account Balance

Whether or not you maintain a budget, it’s important to always check your bank account balance. This way, you’ll know how much you’re spending on the regular.

Plus, by watching your balance, you’re less likely to overdraft and be hit with ugly bank fees. The average overdraft fee at major banks is $35. Certainly, you don’t want to face this fee simply because you had no idea your bank account was empty.

If you do see fees, you may also want to consider switching to a bank account with zero fees. Chime, for example, is a fee-free bank account that actually helps you save money. Automatic savings programs built into Chime’s service allow you to pay yourself first by transferring a portion of every paycheck directly into savings. Better yet, you can activate Chime’s roundup feature and round up each transaction to the nearest dollar. Your round ups are deposited directly into your Savings Account. And, here’s a pro tip: when your savings account is growing, you’ll be more apt to check your account balance daily.

Another major perk to checking your balance frequently: you’ll become more aware of charges that you can eliminate, like subscriptions. According to McKinsey, over one-third of online shoppers have three or more subscriptions. These include services like Netflix, BirchBox, Dollar Shave Club, and Amazon Subscribe & Save. Oftentimes, subscriptions are priced just low enough that even if you aren’t using them, you forget about the cost. Checking your account, however, may be just the nudge you need to cancel services you don’t use.

4. Get Rid of Your Clutter

According to SpareFoot, personal storage is a $38 billion industry in the United States. In fact, 25% of Americans can’t fit a car in their garage due to clutter, according to Gladiator GarageWorks. Needless to say, our belongings are weighing us down.

To make room for exploding stuff, Americans often spend money on organizing products or even add onto their houses. Instead of spending money, why not earn money by getting rid of your clutter?

When my husband and I went through a minimizing process this winter, we earned money selling things we no longer needed. I didn’t even remember we owned much of the stuff we sold. The purging process was pretty easy. We listed items on websites and apps like LetGo and Facebook Marketplace. Most things sold within a few days and we pocketed $900 in fast cash.

5. Maximize Your Gym Membership

Going to the gym regularly is good for your health. It also makes your gym membership far more valuable.

According to Statistic Brain, the average monthly cost of a gym membership is $58. It may not sound like much, but almost 70% of gym memberships are underutilized or never used. This means you’re likely wasting your money.

So, if you have a gym membership, make sure you actually go to the gym. To remind you of how much you’re paying, figure out how much you pay per day. Then ask your gym how much a day pass costs. Figure out how many days you need to go so that you’re getting your money’s worth. No excuses. If you only go a couple times a month – or not at all – if may be time to cancel your membership and instead try a free workout routine, like those offered by Popsugar Fitness. Now that the weather is nice, you can also try walking 10,000 steps a day, and monitor this on iPhone’s Health app or MyFitnessPal, both free.

Question Your Normal

Breaking long-held habits of any kind is difficult. Yet, being mindful of your money can save you big bucks. With a little discipline, you can change your costly habits and grow your savings. Are you ready to get started?


How FOMO is Costing Millennials More Money

No surprise, but millenials have trouble saving money.

A major culprit? FOMO, apparently.

There’s now proof to back it up. In fact, 39% of millennials spent money they didn’t have, and went into debt to keep up with their peers, according to a recent survey on millennials and social spending. To boot, 27% feel uncomfortable saying “no” if a friend suggests an activity they can’t afford. Of those who admitted going into debt from FOMO, a whopping 73% kept it a secret.

As you can see, social pressure is taking a huge financial toll. Let’s dig a bit deeper, and look at some reasons why millennials are experiencing FOMO:

All Those “Perfect Life” Selfies on Instagram

It’s no small wonder why YOLO and FOMO are inciting bouts of overspending. These days the Joneses aren’t just the next door neighbors with the shiny new toy. You’re probably watching that Instagram influencer with the perfect life that you feel pressured to keep up with.

Photo documentation of dreamy, all-out Sunday brunches, designer fashions, and digs so amazing they’re worthy of a mention in Dwell. You’ll no doubt feel mounting pressure to spend just so you’re not left out.

Epic Outings

Weekend getaways, replete with wine tastings and spa dates, brunches at the newest hipster spot in town, or super pricey music festivals like Coachella are enough to make you want to drop big bucks. You don’t want to feel left out on these exciting social affairs. Next thing you know, you’ll be reaching for your credit card. No bueno.

Plus, after spying on your friends via the gram (see above), Venmo transactions (okay, maybe that’s just me) and group chats on the “next epic outing,” you’ll feel the incessant urge to want to keep up.

Eating Out

Millennials spend nearly half of their money eating out. And while spending more on eating out than on groceries seems to be the overall trend in the U.S., it’s the food outings that can really burn a hole in your pocket. With the swell of food delivery apps and meal delivery services, there are even more ways to blow your budget on food.

So how can you fight FOMO? One of my favorite sayings is “Live like no one else so you can live like no one else.” In other words, if you’re going to win at the YOLO/FOMO game, you’ll need to swim upstream.

Here are some ways you can keep those ugly feelings of missing out to a minimum and live within your means.

  • Suggest Cheaper Alternatives

If you don’t want to full-out decline a social invite, offer up some alternatives, like hosting a potluck. Or instead of that pricey concert, suggest checking out a less-expensive show or movie. My friends and I enjoy hiking, biking, and occasionally pick a brunch spot everyone can afford. You don’t have to be a hermit with zero social life to stick to a budget. You just have to tap into your resourceful, creative self and offer different options.

  • Be the One to Talk About Money

Be brave, and talk about your debt situation. It can be a very casual, “Hey, I’m just letting you know I’m working on paying off my (insert type of debt here), or maybe “Ooo, that X is a little more than I can afford.” Having a budget you need to stick or, or simply not wanting to spend your money on that outing is nothing to be ashamed about.

There’s nothing wrong with saying you can’t afford to do something. Frugal shaming is just as terrible as debt shaming. In turn, being the one to start a convo about money could lead to your friends throwing you a sympathy bone. Plus, but it may inspire a few friends to open up as well.

  • Create an “Outings” Account

As you can imagine, it’s not the fixed expenses – rent, utilities, streaming subscriptions –  that can eat into your budget. It’s your discretionary spending, or expenses that change each month. We’re talking about eating out, concerts, movies, and filling up your gas tank.

Instead of lumping all my spending into one account, I designate a certain amount to what I call an “outings” account, which is money budgeted purely for social outings. I also earmark a certain amount to an account for necessities like transportation, household items, and groceries.

Why’s the reasoning behind this method? Well, it’s far easier to control how much I spend on groceries than going out to dinner with friends and family. By having a separate amount for social spending, I can also keep better track of how much is going out each month. If FOMO is getting the best of my budget, I can then curb my spending before it gets out of hand.

  • Pay Yourself First

If you’re concerned you may spend too much due to FOMO, consider setting up an auto transfer to save a portion of each paycheck. If you’re a Chime member, you can take advantage of Chime’s Automatic Savings feature, allowing you to effortlessly save 10% of each paycheck. Chime also helps you save by rounding up each purchase you make on your debit card and depositing it into your Savings Account. Cha-ching!

Final Word

If not kept in check, FOMO can have serious financial repercussions. Yet, if you’re mindful of your spending and resist the urge to cave in to social pressure, you can set yourself up for financial success and actually save more money. Are you ready to get started?



How to Tell If Your Tinder Date Is Bad With Money

Confession: I’m attracted to men who know how to manage money. That’s right. My top priority is not a disarming smile or strong arms or even a robust income (although all those things sure do help). I want a man who has a personal budget in place and a few frugal hacks up his sleeve.

With that being said, it comes as no surprise that I’ve actively sought out frugal-minded romantic partners in the past. One of my boyfriends and I would even half-jokingly compete to see who was the savviest spender. Another one liked to carry around a steel water canteen so he didn’t have to spend money on the expensive bottled stuff. And, as a single woman, I occasionally linger around the clearance section of a grocery store to scope out any potential romantic partners.

So, when I’m on a date, I look for early telltale signs of whether a potential partner has his money situation under control or out of control. In my experience, here are 5 red flags that your Tinder date is bad with money. Keep in mind that these signs apply to men and women:

They live beyond their means.

FYI: I’ve never faulted anyone for running into a rough patch or experiencing lean times. But if someone is just plain irresponsible with money or spending beyond their means, well, that’s another story.

Figuring out if someone spends too much is a bit tricky. You can’t really tell if your date is bad with his money just because they have expensive hobbies, live in lavish digs, or wear designer clothes. There’s actually a good chance that, depending on the particular situation, they could afford these things and have a good handle on their expenses. On the other hand, if they are juggling two full-time jobs, and go on pricey weekend shopping binges after payday, this should sound the alarms.

They outright tell you they’re bad with money.

This might be something I run into more because I write about money for a living and openly express that I love budgeting and saving. And, because I broach the topic of money management (hopefully in a casual, non-intrusive way) on the first date or so, the guy sitting across from me might respond with the following: “Yea, I’m all about that and here’s what I do.” Or, “that’s something I really could use some help with.” He might also abruptly change the subject.

I feel that if someone says they are bad with money, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should run the other way. In fact, I think it’s a good sign when someone admits that they can use some help with managing finances. However, keep in mind that there may be some tough #realtalk about money to be had down the line.

They suggest a pricey place to dine, then can’t afford to pay for it.

Okay, this hasn’t happened to me personally, but I’ve heard stories about dates sneakily handing over the check to the other person as soon as the waiter turns around. Pretty tacky. If your date suggests a fancy place to dine and when the check arrives there’s an awkward silence and a reluctance to pay for it, they might not be able to afford it. Either that or they’re just plain stingy, which can be a whole different problem.

They aren’t cost conscious.

If your date doesn’t really pay attention to how much things cost, this can give you clues about their lifestyle. In my book, this just tells me that they don’t really know where their money is going. Also, if they tend to get sticker shock when paying for things on a date, this can mean they aren’t investing much time to comparison shop or research how much things cost.

They’ve never heard of popular budgeting apps.

Forgive me if this comes off as being judgy, but I feel that if a person wants to handle finances better, they should be familiar with at least some budgeting apps. And, if they don’t know what a budgeting app is, they either live under a rock or just don’t care about what’s going on with their money.

Spotting the signs now can spare you problems later

To be fair, there’s only so much you can size up about someone’s spending habits from a handful of selfies and a couple dates. It’s only when you start to seriously date someone that you begin to see the truth about how they manage their money. On the flipside, you can definitely keep an eye out for clues on the first few dates. Are you ready to look out for red flags in your early stages of courtship?


How to Decide If You Should Get A Joint Bank Account With Your SO

If you’re tired of sending Venmo requests to your significant other and tracking who will pay for dinner, you’re not alone. With half of millennials combining finances with partners before marriage, it’s clear that many don’t wait to combine money until after they tie the knot.

But, even though it might seem easy to open a joint account with your boo, it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly. In fact, when deciding what banking options are best for you and your significant other, it’s key to discuss your finances before cohabitating – and then continue to have money talks on a regular basis. In the meantime, here’s a primer on whether to open a joint account or keep things separate (or both).

When is it right to open a joint account?

Joint accounts provide ease of use for couples and eliminate the need to constantly send money back and forth. But beyond that, joint accounts make it easier for couples to work toward a shared goal, like saving for an upcoming vacation or a down payment on a house. It does require one of you to close a bank account and there are pros and cons to making that commitment.

But, keep in mind that, because joint accounts are equally owned by both people, most couples do not begin their relationship with a joint account. Instead, it is often better for a couple to gradually work toward combining funds. Opening a joint account should not be taken lightly as the account is equally owned by both parties.It also means that either person on the account can withdraw the balance at any time. It also means that if your other half goes through a lawsuit, bankruptcy or debt collection, the joint account can be drawn upon by the government or authorities. Thinking about the worst case scenario may not feel romantic, but it’s necessary.

To break things down even further, take a look at our list of pros and cons:

Joint Account Pros:

  1. You will be able to pay bills from the same account.
  2. You will no longer have to send those annoying Venmo requests or track your money to make sure you’re not paying way more than you should.
  3. You and your partner will have more financial transparency.
  4. You and your partner won’t have to constantly discuss which account bills will be paid from which account.

Joint Account Cons:

  1. You may feel less independent.
  2. Both people have 100% access to the account.
  3. In the event of a  break-up, one partner might drain the account and you’ll have no easy recourse.
  4. In the event of death, money in a joint checking account is typically given to the other person on the account. (Despite what may be written in his or her will.)

When is it right to keep a separate account?

Perhaps you prefer complete financial independence or don’t feel ready to become financially bound to your significant other.

Or, maybe you two are still getting to know each other and haven’t yet disclosed income, debt or money matters. Whatever your reason, there’s nothing wrong with keeping a separate bank account. In fact, nearly one-fourth of couples choose to maintain separate checking accounts even after marriage.

To this end, separate accounts don’t have to mean completely separate finances. With apps like Honeyfi and Honeydue, couples are able to manage their finances as a team without opening joint accounts. These apps allow couples to choose which credit cards and checking accounts to link and share with their other half. The end result? Household finances are shared and organized in one place.

Should you have both a joint and separate account?

The good news is that you don’t have to choose between one or the other. Many couples choose to have both. Joint accounts and separate accounts offer flexibility and can have different purposes.

For Michigan couple Katie VanArsdall and Melissa Silvia, a combination of accounts just made sense. “We merged finances when we moved in together, but we also wanted to keep our own separate accounts because we both work full-time jobs and make money that we consider to be our money,” says VanArsdall.

“But for all of our joint bills, we have a joint account. It’s so much easier to just figure out our monthly expenses and mutually put money from each paycheck into a joint account and pay our joint bills from there. It’s made everything so much easier to have a mixture of both accounts,” she says.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

The most important thing to do before making a decision is to sit down with your SO and have an honest conversation about goals, preferences, and finances.

Grab a glass of wine or sparkling water and make time for a money date. For starters, set aside thirty minutes and ask each other these specific financial questions:

  1. What are our shared financial goals as a couple?
  2. Do we have debt we are trying to pay-off or a big expense we are saving for?
  3. Do we have joint expenses and bills?
  4. Are there any money guidelines we want to implement as a couple?

As you can see, when it comes to joint accounts versus separate accounts, there isn’t a wrong answer. It’s up to you and your partner to decide what’s best for your money sitch. As long as you remember to keep the communication channels open and be open to making changes as you both see fit, you should be on your way to finding your banking groove.


How to Budget for Love

I don’t care what hardcore romantics say. You can put a price on love. In fact, with more single people than ever in the U.S., singles are throwing down some serious dough in search of a soulmate — or just a suitable partner.

Let’s look at some numbers, shall we? For starters, dating services alone make up a $3 billion dollar industry. And according to a Match.com survey, the average single person in the U.S. spent $1,596 on dating in 2016.

As it may take you months —  or even years —  to find love, you may want to sock away some funds for dating. Take a look at 4 cost centers to factor into your “love” budget:

1. Dating Site Subscriptions

While there is no shortage of free dating apps — Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid and Plenty of Fish for starters — you might consider signing up for a paid dating site. Those who pay for a dating service tend to be more serious about finding a partner, after all. Prices vary depending on the dating service and subscription you choose. Popular dating site eHarmony, for example, charges $39.95 a month for a three-month subscription. But, if you opt for a six-month subscription, it’s $29.95 a month, which works out to $180 for half a year.

If you have more cash than time to find love, you can link up with one of those elite matchmaking services, such as Kelleher International. These services, which oftentimes include coaching too, can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 (yes, count those zeros) a year.

2. Dates

Whether you grab drinks at a bar, partake in fancy dinners, or buy tickets to see one of your favorite bands, dates add up quickly. Unsurprisingly, according to the Match.com survey, men spent $1,855 a year on average, compared to $1,423 spent by women on dating. This includes everything from dating subscriptions, new outfits, entrance fees to clubs, and beautifying oneself.

While you can go splitsies, there will still be times when you’ll want to treat your date. And let’s not forget those expensive “let’s kiss and makeup” reconciliation steak dinners out (they do happen).

3. Weekend Getaways

When you’re dating, don’t forget about those impromptu weekend trips. While it depends on what you and your partners want to do, it’s safe to budget $1,000 a year or more on trips with your boo — based on my personal experiences. And, if you are in a long-distance relationship, you’ll need to factor in travel expenses to spend quality time with your significant other.

When I was dating more actively, my partners and I would go on trips at least several times a year. This easily added up to at least a thousand bucks a year in travel, which included long weekend getaways up the California Coast, friends’ weddings, or a short summer stay in other parts of the country. 

4. Special Occasions

According to the National Retail Federation, a person can spend about $136.47 on Valentine’s Day. So, it’s not surprising that you might want to budget for getaways and gifts for occasions like birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries.

Depending on your relationship dynamic, spending money on special occasions can be negotiable. One of my exes and I actually moved our anniversary celebration date so that it wouldn’t bump against a month that was super crowded with birthdays or major money-burning holidays like Christmas. This way we could allocate ample time and money to celebrate our anniversary.

Save for Love to Alleviate Stress

If you’re actively dating or plan to start the process soon, you can start to save up for these expenses by adding a bit of padding to your discretionary spending each month, or, better yet, start earmarking money into a dating fund. The search for romance is rarely easy, and expenses can quickly balloon. However, setting aside some funds for dating will alleviate some of the stress that comes with romantic courtship.