Dating on a budget? Be creative!

When it comes to dating and discussing the lifestyles of singles in search of love, this week certainly saw its share of backlash with foot-in-the-mouth statements from Bravo TV’s Patti Stanger, “The Millionaire Matchmaker.” The bulk of the backlash resulted from Sunday night’s interview on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live.” At this point, we aren’t going to write about the statements made on that show. You can judge the interview yourself. However, we caught another interview on Monday, in which Stanger appeared on CNN, to discuss the topic of dating during a recession. Her advice? If you don’t have the money to pay for multiple dinner dates than you should not be dating at all. This made us at Premier Match do a double take. Don’t date at all? Put life on hold? That’s the most ridiculous response we’ve ever heard!

While we understand that dating can be costly, there are many ways to date effectively without unloading your life’s savings. We’re in a recession if you haven’t noticed and it continues to lag on and on. People across the country are unemployed with many having a hard time staying financially afloat. Many of these unemployed are also single and searching to find a person to love and cherish. So while the world seems to be closing in around us and day after day we deal with the stress of reading about countries teetering on default what are we supposed to do with our own lives? Crawl under a rock and wait for it to blow over? Or try to live life here and now and enjoy it to the best of our ability?

If you find yourself single, financially strapped and questioning how you can budget your dating, we have plenty of ideas for you! Here are a few tips to consider. They’ll encourage you to be more creative, which, in turn, will save you some money and allow you to go out, have a good time and meet potential prospects. It just requires a little homework and preparation to arrange a game plan.

1) DO YOUR HOMEWORK: Research area restaurants and check out the ones that offer deals. With this economic downturn, many restaurants are also feeling the pinch. Some finer restaurants offer discount prices on certain days to get people in the door. Take advantage of these deals! Many restaurants advertise regular specials. If you come across one by chance, tear it out and hold onto it. You can collect them and use them as your reference tools for future dates.

2) CREATIVITY COUNTS: Check the paper for “What’s Happening” around town. Museums, galleries and bookstores host regular noteworthy events that are more exciting than a typical dinner and a movie. Afterward, a drink or coffee to relax and reflect on the experience will seem appropriate and will be inexpensive. How about live jazz? Many area lounges offer live jazz with a reasonable entrance fee, two drinks and shared hors d’oeuvres shouldn’t break your budget.

3) USE COUPONS: Every major city offers the “Entertainment Book” that you can buy online. Your credit card company offers discounts and coupons that you can research when reviewing your monthly statements. You can even find good discounts on area restaurants in “Valpac,” that envelope that arrives as junk mail in your postal mailbox. So order that “Entertainment Book” and welcome that junk mail! Take advantage of the great deals they offer like two-for-one dinners, 20 percent off and free drinks. Your date won’t even pick up on your scheme if you slip the coupons behind your credit card or cash when giving the check sleeve to the waiter.

4) GET ACTIVE: Be inquisitive about your date’s sporting interests. Does she like to bike? Take long walks? Play tennis? Golf? If you belong to a club, invite her there and play a round. If you live near an area where a long bike ride or walk would be enjoyable, encourage it. Again, have options prepared and available for suggestion.

5) TASTE EVERTHING: Use your sense of taste to stimulate your date by suggesting going to an event tasting. You can learn about everything from wine, scotch, beer and vodka. Many events include some type of food and the experience can be fun and educational. These things go on all the time. You probably never noticed since your date plan was always dinner and drinks at your regular places. With a little research you can create a unique experience and make an afternoon of it.

What do you think? Anything we missed? How have you been creative in your dating life lately? We’d love to read your comments!

The Modern Relationship via “Whitney”

 

The days of Ozzie and Harriet are dead and gone and the needs and concerns of a new and emerging unmarried majority have yet to be recognized or addressed.
— Page Gardner, founder of Women’s Voices

Yes, it does sometimes feel like we’re stuck in a 1950s T.V. show when we think about the American Family: The father goes the work. The mother is a homemaker. The children get into sticky, but, more likely, humorous situations.

Here’s the thing, our world is not like Ozzie and Harriet’s. In a better economy, both parents would be working while juggling soccer practice, dance lessons and finding time to be together as a family. And many Americans today are childless, unmarried and/or living in a committed relationship.

This is where “Whitney” comes in, a new sit-com that premiered last night on NBC. The show stars Whitney Cummings, a stand-up comic best known for her work on “Chelsea Lately” and Comedy Central’s various celebrity roasts. Our gut reaction to the show: Like it.

NBC promoted “Whitney” as a sit-com about “modern relationships.” Well, it’s definitely never been done before. Think of it as Ozzie and Harriet 2.0 if they were unmarried, living together and trying to spice up their sex life with role-playing.

It seems only appropriate that “Whitney” premiered during National Unmarried and Singles Week. Even the U.S. Census Bureau has made it official: “We’ve entered the era of Unmarried America, with singles and unmarried couples outnumbering those who are married.”

We like that Whitney is portrayed as a character you might know in real life. She’s very girl-next-door, a bit uncouth and has no filter. And she’s adorably awkward. We loved her attempt to seduce her live-in boyfriend, Alex, while dressed like a slutty nurse. Really, who hasn’t tried that once in their life? What makes the scene so endearing is the adorable awkwardness she possesses while being her version of sexy. And she sells it, but then Alex falls, slams his head on their kitchen counter and is rushed to the hospital.

The timing for “Whitney” couldn’t be more perfect. So — all you haters — instead of writing about how “Whitney” uses multiple cameras (who cares?) or that the show seemed more like a stand-up routine (it didn’t), look at the simple fact that “Whitney” is mirroring life in America today much like “Ozzie and Harriet” mirrored life in the 1950s.

 

Do Smart Women Marry for Money?

Stack of Coins and Bride and Groom Wedding Cake Decorations --- Image by © David Arky/Corbis

Now, I’m not suggesting that you all just marry solely for money. I’m a believer in love and commitment as a solid foundation for marriage.

However, I am suggesting that women who marry partners that are financially savvy, motivated by money and have aligned views about their attitudes to money, are indeed smarter than the other women who don’t consider these things when choosing a life partner.

I will detail the benefits of choosing a partner that has a solid financial plan in place and uses money as a tool and not a crutch.

Be Financially Savvy
Women who choose financially savvy partners fare better than their counterparts who don’t. Why? In order to have a marriage built to last finances play a huge role in the viability of the marriage.

I know it sounds like we’re discussing a corporate merger but bear with me. After all, marriage, in some respects, is like a business. It’s like running a corporation or a business venture. You have to go into it knowing that it could fail or it could succeed beyond your wildest dreams and make you rich. The money does not measure success. The sense of accomplishment will come from the daily struggle — the love of what you do, working together day in and day out.

The reality is that personal finance issues are the leading cause of divorce. In order to live happily ever after, you must work together and be on the same page as far as your finances are concerned. So, marrying a millionaire isn’t all about him giving you everything and you just taking it — you need to work together and grow your wealth.

Aligning your Financial Values
Some things you need to pay attention to are:

• How does he spend money?
• Does he have an emergency fund?
• Is he current on monthly bills like car payments and rent/mortgage?
• Does he spend more than he earns?

Pay attention and be a keen listener. You must understand how your potential mate manages his money and how he relates to it. Is it a tool? Is it a crutch? Your goal is to form a relationship that will last, not just enjoy a few cheap dates, so pay attention.

Be Motivated by Money to Create the Life You Want
Smart women are up to date on the latest issues in personal finance. They understand rate chasing, investing for the long haul and understand that while they may have substantial savings, they practice and embrace frugality. Some of the wealthiest in this country live very minimally. You wouldn’t even know who they are (think Sam Walton).

Try to Find a Man with a Plan
Make sure he has a financial plan in place. Is he thinking long or short term?

Where does he see himself in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years?

That answer will determine the course of the relationship. Ideally, he should be able to think past next month’s car payment and project how much he will have in his savings account by year’s end. This is an expectation for smart women, not a hope or a dream, but something they demand and require in a potential mate.

What do you think? Is it important to think of marriage as a business? I’d love to read your comments.

10 Tips to Curb First Date Awkwardness

To follow up last week’s post about refraining from using your Internet intel to interrogate your date, this week will focus on first date chitchat. For some, this might seem like an impossible task. Take heart introverts and dating neophytes! It’s not as difficult as you might think. The key: Asking questions.

People love to talk about themselves and things that interest them. One of your primary goals during a first date conversation — or any dating conversation — is to let the other party enjoy themselves. If they’re having fun with you, chances are they’ll want to go out with you again.

Here are some simple first date tips:

1. Keep your conversation mostly about your date (or at least topics that are of interest to your date);

2. Don’t just ask a list of random questions. Keep the conversation light enough to allow him or her to open up rather than feel interrogated;

3. Get your potential partner to talk about things that excite him or her or that they find fun;

4. Everything you talk about should be in the vein of feeling happy and, maybe, even excited about life;

5. Become well versed at giving compliments: Go for sincere compliments. Don’t say, “You have a nice smile,” if they have yet to smile. Or, “I like your earrings,” if your date isn’t wearing any or you don’t actually like them. Nobody likes a liar;

6. Body language is key: Eye contact is extremely important. It will make him or her aware that you’re listening. Also refrain from leaning back or slouching while sitting. If anything, lean forward and show them that you’re attentive;

7. Be on time, if not early;

8. Chivalry goes a long way, guys. Don’t be afraid to open her door or allow her to sit first;

9. Remember to smile and laugh: It’s contagious and will only lighten the mood;

10. Let him or her know how you feel, if you enjoyed the date let them know. Don’t be afraid to follow up with them. Give them a call the next day and say you had a good time. If you like, make another date, or say, “I had a nice time, let’s talk later this week to plan when we can see each other again.”

And always, always, always remember to ask follow up questions. If your date says they love going to the movies, ask them what kind of movies they like, and enter a discussion that way.

What other tips could you add to this list? I’d love to read your comments!

Don’t Become a First Date Interrogator

Have you ever researched someone online before a first date? Did you then interrogate said date with your findings? This is a BIG no-no, not to mention creepy.

The reason you’re on a date is to learn about the other person. Passing judgment beforehand is the way to start out on the wrong dating foot. Why bother getting to know someone if you’re doing your own investigation from behind the safe haven of your computer screen?

Get to know someone by asking direct questions about their life. You don’t have to learn or reveal everything on a first date, as you want to keep an air of mystery flowing.

As such, stick with upbeat, neutral topics and don’t continually talk about yourself. Ask questions and be attentive. You already know yourself, wouldn’t it be wise to learn about your date and find out what you have in common?

While it’s good to get to know your date, don’t let yourself talk about past relationships — yours or theirs. All too often, I get feedback that a client ruined a date by going on and on about his or her ex. This is why it’s important to stick with upbeat, neutral topics especially on a first or second date.

And, by all means, remain engaged through the entire course of a date. If you meet someone you think is a great person but “not your type,” meet them for a second, third or fourth date. Don’t shut down if you aren’t instantly attracted to your date because they aren’t your type. Chemistry is crucial to any relationship but your initial response can change — sometimes after only 15 minutes. By shutting down, you’re sabotaging what could be a wonderful match.