Inflation is an asshole. At the end of 2021 inflation was at 3.5 per cent. In the March quarter of 2022 it was 5.1 per cent. It’s currently at 6.1 per cent and expected to increase. It’s increasing rapidly and to be honest, it’s getting in the bloody way.

It feels too expensive to keep a roof over your head let alone fork out money for a date. And if you’re single and swiping, you know full well that going on a date with a person you actually end up liking is hard to come by. This means you’re wasting a lot of money on the off chance that one of them is tolerable. Not a vibe.

Recent Bumble research showed how the cost of living is affecting relationships and found that 32 per cent of single Aussies are choosing not to date because of financial stress. On top of that, 22 per cent are dating less and 20 per cent are turning down or rescheduling because of coin. That’s huge. And perhaps a good excuse for ghosting (don’t do it).

There was the TikToker McCall Brock who claimed to go on 16 dates in a row just to get free food. It divided the internet because some thought she was using these men. Others thought it was genius. She did write, “To clarify all these men asked me out on dates” at the time, which feels like she was trying to justify why they were paying rather than splitting or her footing the bill.

@mccall_brock

haha hungry girl #college #dating #relatable #freshmenthings #utah #provo #byu #crazy #dinner #comedy #humor

♬ Crazy – Patsy Cline

Another TikToker, @Heydiberber, sparked outrage on the platform when she shared a video of her date only ordering food for himself after she revealed she couldn’t afford a meal. Many people thought it was audacious for her to expect him to pay.

@heydiberber

Dating in fresno be like 🥲 … #559fresno #fresno #couples #boyfriend

♬ original sound – LICKMYFASHION

The thing is, the perception around who pays is such a grey area and so different for everyone. But you shouldn’t assume the other person — who is usually a stranger that you don’t know — will be paying for the date ahead of time. They’re experiencing inflation too.

OK, say you go on the date. You’re willing to drop some transactions if it means you might find “the one”. Upon meeting, things are looking good. Real good!

Do you now have to wrap up the date because you got lost in The Chat and spent more than you mentally budgeted for? If someone left what I thought was a great date earlier than I expected, I’d assume they were interpreting the date differently to me. See where I’m going with this cockblock thing now?

The same thing can be said for bringing them back home. Bumble’s research said that 14 per cent of Aussie singles believe financial pressures are impacting their sex life. Maybe you don’t want to bring a babe back to your mouldy apartment walls because you can’t be assed hitting up a landlord who could jack up your rent at any time.

It’s also hard to feel hot right now. Doing anything in the self-grooming space can literally feel like you’re haemorrhaging money but we also know the power of confidence on ourselves and our relationships.

Clothes can be part of this, too. Called Enclothed Cognition, there’s a theory that what you wear can influence your productivity and even mood and behaviour. All of these things can affect your confidence and connections, even if your partner (short or long-term) couldn’t give two shits about your old, ripped Kmart undies.

But at least people are beginning to be open and honest about finances which could help stop the dating train from terminating altogether. Interestingly, Tinder tells PEDESTRIAN.TV that the use of “inflation” in profile bios has increased by 680 per cent(!!!) since this time last year and “cost of living” by 465 per cent. There was also a 16 per cent increase of “split bills”.

“There’s no denying that many people are feeling the pinch right now and we’re seeing this translate into Tinder bios and dates that won’t break the bank increasing in popularity,” Tinder AU spokesperson Kirsty Dunn told PEDESTRIAN.TV.

The point about affordable or free dates is a fair one. Tinder added that there has been a 36 per cent increase for “cheap dates” being mentioned in bios. Further to this, Bumble said that 82 per cent of singles in Australia want low-key date locations to avoid any financial pressures while on the dating circuit.

I can’t say I don’t love this heightened honesty happening on the dating apps as a result of inflation. So maybe there’s good to come out of it after all: a silver lining if you will.

But if you’d rather scrape the barrel than be honest with your potential partners, I’m sorry but you may have to choose between the lettuce or the fucc.

Shit’s expensive.

Chantelle Schmidt is a freelance writer. You can follow her on IG here.