Dating has become too expensive for young people as the cost of living crisis leaves them struggling to afford the expense of going out.

The Valley Dating Index found “66% of 18-34-year-olds agreed dating has become too expensive” and The Student Room found 88% of prospective undergraduates were concerned about the rising costs of living.

This is despite the fact Society 19 found 20% of British students meet the love of their life on campus.

Sheffield Wire spoke to students across the city about how they have navigated the cost of dating while managing a tight budget.

Chloe, 23, a University of Sheffield, student, says: “I think it definitely can take the enjoyment out of meeting someone new. When you’re dating, especially if you really like someone, you want to do everything and it’s exciting, but when you don’t have much disposable income and the price of everything has drastically increased, it can taint the whole experience.” 

Lizzy, 24, also a student at the University of Sheffield, spoke to SheffieldWire about her experience of dating.

Karen Perkins, a business, career, social media & life coach, explained the dating landscape in the current climate is difficult to navigate, but she explains there are ways to use dating during the cost of living crisis to your advantage. “It provides the opportunity to learn about someone’s kindness and learn how creative they are with no money.”

The life coach, based in Sheffield, says she always encourages people to discuss their lifestyle and financial situation with their partners because avoiding these issues can result in difficulties within a relationship.

Ms Perkins also explained there are many things to think about as a young person when considering moving in with a partner including whether can you afford somewhere for the two of you to rent, or if a couple choose to move in together, how will this impact your housemates and landlord? 

Ultimately, she emphasised: “You have got to work together as a couple and you don’t want to fall out over money if you can afford it.” 

Valley Dating Index found on average it will cost Brits £1,900 to find the person they want to settle down with, including £400 in dates with their chosen partner, before making it official. Along with tuition fees and living expenses for students, this can prove challenging.

The Office for National Statistics stated: “In the UK, prices of consumer goods and services rose by 9.6% in the year to October 2022 – the fastest rate in four decades.”  The data also shows: “Private rental prices continued to grow at a record high rate in the UK, rising by 6.2% (provisional estimate) in the year to January 2024, unchanged for the second consecutive month. This remains the highest annual percentage change since this UK data series began in January 2016.”

Demi Koutouzi, 22, a journalism student at the University of Sheffield, explained after COVID restrictions were lifted and there was an opportunity for her and her boyfriend to go on dates, the cost of living began – acting as another limitation to dating life. “I don’t remember a time we were comfortably going out and not looking at the prices or for the cheapest place to go because we couldn’t really afford to spend £30-40 on a meal,” she says. 

Demi explained her boyfriend feels he is not “fulfilling his role as a boyfriend”. She said they want to treat each other but it is difficult to balance the costs involved with seeing friends along with putting money aside for dates. She said ultimately this puts a strain on the relationship. 

Luke, 24 a University of Sheffield, also talked to Sheffield Wire about his thoughts on dating.

Marina, 23, a teacher, originally from Spain but now living in Sheffield says: “My boyfriend and I wanted to live together but we have to live with one of his friends because of the cost of living crisis”. The couple wanted to live by themselves but a friend will join them to reduce costs. “Sometimes I want to spend time with my boyfriend but his friend will also be at home – it’s not the same, it’s not as romantic,” she says. 

Similarly, Josephine, 24, who is currently studying for her PGCE at the University of Sheffield, would like to live with her boyfriend but due to financial constraints, it is more affordable to house-share with friends. “We do struggle but we find ways to date because I think it’s important,” Josephine said.

James, 21, an MA Journalism student at the University of Sheffield explained how he has navigated the financial costs of relationship.