TANSTAAFL?

by on February 14, 2013 at 1:08 am in Current Affairs, Education, Food and Drink | Permalink

Love actually rings in at $43,842.08, according to RateSupermarket.ca, which has calculated the price tag of the typical modern relationship – from a one-year courtship, followed by a one-year engagement to the wedding day.

And it is itemized:

The Toronto-based independent financial products comparison website pegs the price of courtship at $6,936.74. That includes a dozen “fancy dates” (nice restaurants and theatre tickets), a dozen movie dates, 36 “casual dates” (take-out food, coffee and movie rentals), weekend getaways, a beach vacation plus random other expenses for things such as “apology flowers,” treats and new clothes.

The engagement period rings in at $9,944.34, which includes more dates, an engagement party with a price tag of $2,000 and the big ticket item, a ring with an average estimated cost of $3,500. (The popular wedding website TheKnot.com estimates that cost at around $5,000, but RateSupermarket.ca pointed that that it doesn’t consider rings purchased from lower-end retailers such as Walmart.)

Oh, and the wedding? Well that’s another $26,961.

Here is more, with the pointer from Chad R.

prior_approval February 14, 2013 at 1:20 am

So, love costs more than this? –

‘For singles, median after-tax income was also unchanged in 2010, with non-seniors at $27,500 and seniors at $23,400.’ http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/06/18/median-income-unchanged-canada_n_1605369.html

Canadian numbers, since the web site had a *.ca ending

And actually, for the various industries that benefit from the idea that love has a price tag, this post is such a thing as a free lunch – at the expense of those that believe such numbers.

asdf February 14, 2013 at 9:06 am

And yet marriage has fallen apart for most people at the median or below. Funny that.

prior_approval February 14, 2013 at 9:48 am

Or maybe an average marriage doesn’t actually cost 26,000 Canadian dollars?

As for love having a price – those who set a price are those unable to attain it.

And for fun, some Canadian statistics –

‘In 2008, there were 147,288 marriages in Canada. At 4.4 marriages per 1,000 people, the marriage rate was at the lowest level it has been in the last century.

Age and Gender — Canadians who marry do so at an older age than ever before. Between 1972 and 2008, the average age at first marriage increased from 22.5 to 29.1 for women and from 24.9 to 31.1 for men.’
http://www4.hrsdc.gc.ca/.3ndic.1t.4r@-eng.jsp?iid=78

I’m not sure that money is the primary determinant of what is going on – especially when noting the above information combined with this – ‘The most frequently quoted measure, the low-income cut off or LICO, displays a downward trend since 2000 after a spike in the mid-1990s and is 10.8% as of 2005.[30] Another measure, published by the free market think tank Fraser Institute, displays a constant downward trend since 1970 and stands at 4.9% as of 2004. There is a debate about which measure is more valid.’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_history_of_Canada#Recent_years

Canada is not the U.S.

Hazel Meade February 14, 2013 at 10:06 am

If getting married costs $26,000 on average, that explains why so few people are getting married.

Or it could be that Cosmo-girl’s idea of what counts as “average” is a bit off.

Willitts February 14, 2013 at 11:41 am

If I understood correctly, this was the total cost of all the courtship up to and including the wedding. The cost seems rather low to me, but I suppose people who are poorer and marry younger (and quicker) bring the average down.

I think marriage is being pushed later in life for several reasons. Men and women who get a higher education typically wait until the education is over. Women no longer marry the first guy who makes her laugh. Birth control removes the shotgun weddings. Income independence makes it less necessary. Shacking up is more socially acceptable now. Divorce is costly, and at least some people are forward thinking about those costs.

My family is almost the picture perfect traditional American nuclear family, but even we married late in life. Our education and my military service and heavy workload were the primary reasons for a late start.

I’m seeing more women choosing to marry in their mid to late thirties. I’m not sure that’s a good thing for the health and vitality of our births. On the other hand, I can’t imagine my daughters getting married and pregnant in their teens like people did in medieval times and in contemporary retro societies.

Willitts February 14, 2013 at 1:31 am

I wish all my courtship and marriage costs were only $27k in current dollars.

But I got a really hot Lithuanian wife, so it was a bargain. I think I paid off law school debt faster than I paid for my courtship.

Ben Hughes February 14, 2013 at 2:55 am

Isn’t this befalling a substantial amount of “double counting”?

Many of the costs attributed to relationships are costs that would be incurred to some degree anyways. You might not spend quite as much eating when you’re not out on a date, but you still have to eat. Not to mention many of the activities which would otherwise be done with friends.

axa February 14, 2013 at 6:33 am

Exactly.You have vacations, fancy diners and weekend getaways with your family and friends, even alone. You do that stuff in the way of getting married or not, just for the sake of it.

Perhaps a better valuation method would be considering only things exclusive of marriage such as engagement ring, wedding dress and the party, no more.

Andrew' February 14, 2013 at 6:42 am

Single men do “vacations” and fancy dinners?

Mike February 14, 2013 at 6:50 am

Drinking with your friends in big city bars/clubs isn’t cheap. The activities aren’t identical, but when I was single my friends and I weren’t building up huge bank accounts.

j r February 14, 2013 at 7:48 am

Nope. I have it on good authority that single men do noting but sit around in their boxer shorts drinking Miller Lite and eating old pizza crusts.

Andrew' February 14, 2013 at 7:56 am

Well, sometimes they splurge and buy their own entire pizza.

Marie February 14, 2013 at 8:20 am

My husband would add video games to that description.

Andrew' February 14, 2013 at 9:02 am

Seriously, a vacation was going to my friends’ college, getting a pizza to the computer lab. These other cats must be the same guys over in the Valentines’ post talking about “I should have to pay my gal for the pleasure it gives me to signal my love to her!”

JWatts February 14, 2013 at 11:52 am

I’ll second the play video games comment.

Peter February 15, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Actually I was single until I was 32 (and truly single, wasn’t even dating) and I can honestly say yes I took myself to a fancy dinner at least once every two weeks and a vacation at least three times a years. You roll into Dubai, Thailand, Bali, most non-tourist 2nd and 3rd world countries (i.e. Africa / South America), and all the other places single men go on holiday and they ain’t lacking for business or numbers. Hell I still go out drinking alone, you will always find somebody to shoot the shit with. I think only single American men are hung up on not going out alone.

TerriW February 14, 2013 at 9:20 am

Throughout my entire childhood in MN, whenever there would be a newscast reporting how many heart attacks were had while shoveling snow the previous day, my dad would always get so angry at the TV: And how many of them were going to have heart attacks even if it hadn’t snowed???

(I love memories of cranky dad.)

Willitts February 14, 2013 at 11:48 am

Your dad was a smart man. Most people wouldn’t think about that.

However, the extreme exertion of shoveling was the predicate event of the heart attack even though clogged arteries was the proximate cause.

Some of them would have had a heart attack with other forms of exertion, but others who were not forced to exertion might never have had a heart attack.

bgaesop February 14, 2013 at 3:44 am

Very minor note, but it’s TANSTAAFL, not TAANSTAFL

J.D. February 14, 2013 at 9:38 am

Maybe he meant “There Ain’t No Such Thing As Free Love”?

Gunnar Tveiten February 14, 2013 at 4:23 am

How much a wedding costs is a “how long is a piece of string” question. Weddings can cost $200 or they can cost $1 million, or anything in between. Also, they estimate that if you’re dating, you go out fancy 12 times a year, and non-fancy 12 times a year, and use things like take-away or movie-rentals 36 times, but that if you wheren’t dating, your costs for these things would be zero. That’s just nonsense.

Edward Burke February 14, 2013 at 6:30 am

How much are these costs shared? (I do not say “fortunately”, nevertheless, the only engagement I ever proposed ended formally after two weeks. I do not say “unfortunately”, either, however.)

Frederic Mari February 14, 2013 at 6:45 am

IMHE, the costs are a function of the woman’s insecurity, tendencies to happiness/unhappiness and, to a lesser degree, in what she values as bringing her happiness/security…

liberty February 14, 2013 at 7:44 am

Or the man’s insecurity (e.g., she won’t love me unless I buy her a very expensive ring…), or both people’s insecurity, or the traditions of the family, etc. My wedding, with the most wonderful man in the world – our 1st anniversary coming up – cost a few hundred quid including travel up to scotland, dress, rings, etc. The engagement costs were included in a dinner and drink night we were having already. “Courtship” costs? You mean, the time we spent together before getting married? Um… I don’t think you can separate that from what we’d have spent anyway, except that generally we have better economies of scale when we pool our resources…

Frederic Mari February 14, 2013 at 8:24 am

Point taken as to the man’s insecurity also playing a role…

j r February 14, 2013 at 8:14 am

What would be really interesting would be to model this price against the relative sexual market value of the couple. That could be a good measure of how much game the average man has.

ladderff February 14, 2013 at 8:32 am

Be a Skittles Man.

Willitts February 14, 2013 at 11:50 am

That didn’t work too well for Trayvon.

Hazel Meade February 14, 2013 at 9:44 am

The Toronto-based independent financial products comparison website pegs the price of courtship at $6,936.74. That includes a dozen “fancy dates” (nice restaurants and theatre tickets), a dozen movie dates, 36 “casual dates” (take-out food, coffee and movie rentals), weekend getaways, a beach vacation plus random other expenses for things such as “apology flowers,” treats and new clothes.

Ok, seriously, who does this anymore?
Maybe this happens in Hollywood, or perhaps amoung upper-middle-class urban elite professionals, but most people in the real world don’t go to the theater twelve times a year even when they are dating.
This reads like someone’s list of what an idealized “romantic” courtship would look like. It was probably written by some chick that spends all her time reading Cosmo and trying on makeup and shoes.

Edward Burke February 14, 2013 at 9:54 am

“It was probably written by some chick that spends all her time reading Cosmo and trying on makeup and shoes.”

AND she left out the “romantic cruise”! (Arguably, she also left out the his-and-her Kevlar vests to go with all that movie theatre attendance.)

Hazel Meade February 14, 2013 at 10:00 am

She left out the Honeymoon too. I take it she’s not going to settle for Niagara Falls. Or Vegas.

JWatts February 14, 2013 at 11:55 am

Nope, that’s definitely a Paris or Dubai kind of girl.

Hadur February 14, 2013 at 10:16 am

Agreed, but they are probably leaving out things that normal couples do. The estimates are both over-inclusive and under-inclusive, and thus may well be correct.

Hazel Meade February 14, 2013 at 10:22 am

What is she leaving out that isn’t covered by “movie dates”, “casual dates”, and “weekend getaways”?
Hmm, drinks and dance club sounds more reasonable, but probably is still on the cheaper end.

In some parts of the country, a “date” is a 6-pack of beer and a drive out into the woods.

Thor February 14, 2013 at 2:30 pm

It’s easy to forget that for many non-urban types, catching a flick is just not something you do.

Hazel Meade February 14, 2013 at 5:55 pm

And even for urban types, it’s so much cooler to show your tech savvy by ripping a torrent.

Someone from the other side February 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Elite professional do not have time to go the theatre (and most not for dating, either)

Hadur February 14, 2013 at 9:57 am

How do weddings become so insanely expensive? Is the cost mostly related to food for so many guests?

I am fortunate enough to be dating a girl who has told me that she does not believe in expensive engagement rings, and would be happy with a cheap lab-made diamond. I hope that if things go well, she will have a similarly cheap taste in weddings.

Edward Burke February 14, 2013 at 10:21 am

Instantly, I see a new application for the heralded 3-D printer . . . .

Sbard February 14, 2013 at 1:09 pm

3-D printers are widely used by internet jewelers already. It’s what lets them make a ring in any size for any stone to order. You print out a wax mold in the exact geometry you need and cast the ring.

Cliff February 14, 2013 at 10:32 am

Lab-made real diamonds are not any cheaper (why would they be?). Fake diamonds are cheaper.

Thom February 14, 2013 at 12:39 pm

The cost is pretty evenly divided between food, bar, and everything else (hall, dress, flowers, etc).

I’ve always wondered if wedding venues in Utah charge more for the food.

Sbard February 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm

You can get some great deals on colored gemstones. Natural yellow sapphires are much less expensive than either natural or lab-created yellow diamonds (clear sapphires are pretty inexpensive too if you want a clear stone). The problem is that most retail jewelers relegate them to their fashion jewelry lines. I got my wife’s engagement ring (a blue-green sapphire) and we got both our wedding bands at internet jewelers and it worked out great.

The big determinant regarding the price of a wedding is the number of guests. More guests means a bigger venue, more food, and a bigger bar tab. The other thing is that there’s a big markup on anything done for a wedding. Call up a caterer and see how much it costs to feed 50 people for a family reunion versus a wedding.

IVV February 14, 2013 at 11:41 am

My wife insisted on no engagement ring, whatsoever.

As for our wedding, we had two. The first was a hastily-scheduled wedding in front of a judge, so that we could start the paperwork to get her to stay in the country. We didn’t want anyone to attend (since her family would be unable), but my parents insisted. Thankfully, there needed to be a witness, so there they were. We didn’t even pick out a dress–just some flowers, a smart white suit and hat, and photos and a nice dinner afterward.Total cost: a few hundred.

The second wedding was a church wedding in San Francisco, with both families in attendance. Total party: 8, plus the two of us. We found the wedding dress for $100 in a secondhand store in our hometown–a lovely Victorian-looking hoop skirt, braids and flowers in her hair… she was an absolute vision. She was stopping traffic. Literally. A tour bus pulled up and everyone jumped out to get pictures. While driving back from the wedding, other drivers were getting out of their cars to run up to ours and congratulate us. Total cost: a couple thousand, but my parents paid for it.

Doug M February 14, 2013 at 11:46 am

I remember someone telling me that protitutes were cheaper than wives. You might buy them expensive gifts from time to time, but you never buy them houses. I thought it was funny at the time…. Now I am getting divorced and see that it is true.

Thor February 14, 2013 at 3:32 pm

There’s probably also more honesty between a prostitute and a john … not always in a good way, mind you.

What you’d lose out on is companionship. (The modern western world quite rightly puts a lot of emphasis on companionate marriage, which in the grand scheme of things — anthropologically, culturally, historically — is a rare and anomalous thing.)

Jamie February 24, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Where are the women in this? It’s written completely from a man’s perspective in a heterosexual, traditional relationship and assumes that the woman pays for nothing. Seems an unlikely one-sided relationship. Relationship costs might not always be equally dispersed among the couple, but what kind of relationship is it when one party is paying 100% of the costs and the other party pays nothing?

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