Infla-Dating: More Connection Without The Pressure


Dating is expensive. If you’re attending college, are a recent graduate, or living with a tight budget, the cost of asking someone to dinner and drinks can force you into a diet of mac-n-cheese for the next week. During these tough economic times, Gen Zs and Millennials have resorted to a new trend called infla-dating, which means budget friendly dating.


Relationship experts counseling couples who practice infla-dating report that these couples experience a deeper connection and worry less about splitting the check and feel more appreciative of doing simple activities together such as meeting at a park for a walk with the dogs instead of steak dinners at an overpriced restaurant. What caused the shift in young people’s dating style? Experts cite the pandemic. Covid introduced a perfect opportunity for folks to reevaluate priorities and assess the cost of dining out versus the chance of falling ill. Many chose safer outside meetups that provided deeper connection and realized that spending time with loved ones and friends didn’t have to break the bank. The time spent together talking or eating over small bites mattered more than expensive outings.


If you are dating and want to relieve the financial pressure, consider infla-dating to give you a clearer, more authentic view of the person you are with. The following five behaviors stand out when the date focuses on connection rather than extravagance or who pays.


1. True motivations. When you wine and dine someone, they may join you merely to experience the restaurant and take photos to share on social media. The date may be motivated to improve their social status rather than getting to know more about you. However, if you take a walk to the park or hang out at a pizza shop, it will be easier to determine if the person is genuine or just using you for what you can offer them.

2. Generosity. If you wine and dine someone at a fancy restaurant, they may not be able to offer the same to you due to limited funds. But generosity comes in more forms than just money. Do they offer to make dinner, help you when you’re down, bring homemade soup when you’re sick, or treat you at an inexpensive restaurant? Infla-dating gives both people an opportunity to treat while allowing you to more accurately judge if they are generous or one sided.

3. Appreciation. It’s easier to see a person’s character when the dates are low key. Do they appreciate small things, express kindness to others, and appear grateful for what they have?

4. Social climbers. Infla-dating helps weed out social climbers. Some people make you feel loved and special when they’re spending money on you, but do you still feel special when they aren’t spending money on you or you aren’t spending money on them? When on a low-key date, do they continue to show you respect and want to be with you? Recognizing when your partner only likes you for what you have or do is important, and infla-dating can help you see that clearly.

5. Valuing the dollar. When the date is centered around spending time together rather than money, you can observe your partner’s values and how they manage money. Do they share expenses or completely rely on you to take care of them? Are they fiscally responsible or always in debt? Knowing these things up front will help you date wiser.


If you’re budget-conscious and want to embrace dating with greater connection while wasting less money or time, here are examples of great infla-dates to consider.

● Head to the park with your dogs

● Dine from a food truck of your choice

● Attend a music festival or a holiday at the park

● Opt for appetizers over dinner

● Host desserts at your place with a movie or board game

● Enroll in a meditation class together

● Meet for breakfast or coffee with a walk


Dating and sharing your life is important for a single person's emotional and physical health. Date smarter with infla-dating to help you make wiser choices in partners and deepen connection - all while remaining fiscally responsible. If you’ve put off dating because you can’t afford the restaurant or activity you’ve planned, it’s time to choose a new restaurant or make new plans and enjoy the one you’re with.


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