I’m not talking about paying for love. I’m talking about putting a down payment on love. Here’s a cheap way to do that.

How much would you spend to find the perfect mate? If you replied, “Everything,” here’s the sad part: That might not be enough.

Debt.com recently compiled a lot of other people’s research on dating and spending. The results made me appreciate my age.

Young people today have a much tougher dating scene than I did. That’s ironic, because dating apps make it easier than ever to meet someone. But a pandemic and inflation has made it harder to afford someone than ever before.

Get your mind out of the gutter. I’m not equating love to wealth, and I’m certainly not talking about buying sex. The simple truth is, it’s harder to love someone who’s broke without ambition than someone who’s comfortable with a mission.

The problem today is that the dating crowd doesn’t have the cash to woo each other. A LendingTree poll found, “77 percent of daters say dating could be easier if they had more money.” Interestingly, that’s true for men and women.

Sure, more men said that (83 percent) than women (73 percent), but that’s still a good sign. The days of men paying for women – and exerting control over them – are fading fast if it’s not already gone.

Men are willing to spend up to $104 on a date. Women? Up to $81. Again, that’s pretty close.

Here’s where the problem comes in: Another recent poll, this one by a company called Credello, found 4 in 10 daters “are willing to take on credit card debt up to $2,500 in order to impress a new love interest.”

That’s crazy!

You might impress your love interest today. But later on, when you’re talking marriage and revealing your financial conditions, big credit card balances will be a massive turnoff. This is the one-time size does matter – and smaller is best!

We need to redefine sexy in this country. Yes, we can all aspire to the Real Housewives lifestyle. But you don’t attain that by going into debt today. I fell in love with my first husband, and he wasn’t rich. Neither was I. But we were thrifty, hard-working, and ambitious. It was sexy building up our financial lives. If he had run up his credit cards to impress me, well…I would be the opposite of impressed.

Even today, when I run a large and successful insurance firm, I’m more impressed with how men spend money than the amount they spend. Throwing around money to impress people is decidedly unsexy. It smacks of desperation. No one – man or woman – likes a suitor who tries too hard.

Instead, I’m impressed by a man who takes me to an out-of-the-way restaurant I’ve never heard of but is absolutely amazing. I’m even more impressed when he cooks me dinner – and unless he’s importing ingredients from other continents, that doesn’t cost a lot.

And you know what will impress me most about a man? He’ll do the one thing that costs nothing but is so rare, it’s worth more than pink diamonds. He’ll listen.

It’s not how much money you spend that will lure a mate. . It’s how much attention you pay. It’s how creative you can get.

That’s how you put a down payment on love.

For more information, check out: debt.com/vicki

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About the Author

Vicki Gunvalson

Vicki Gunvalson

Before Vicki Gunvalson starred on Bravo TV’s hit series “Real Housewives of Orange County” – which launched the franchise in 2006 – she was already a financial expert. Gunvalson has owned and operated Coto Insurance for three decades. Based in Irvine, California, Coto has been ranked among the top 1 percent of insurance companies nationwide, with more than 10,000 clients in those 30 years. Coto’s success helped Gunvalson become a member of the Million Dollar Round Table – which represents the top life insurance and financial services professionals from more than 70 countries. She continued to grow Coto during 16 salacious years on the hit show and subsequent celebrity projects. But it wasn’t just Coto that has earned Gunvalson praise and awards for her financial acumen. Licensed in every state not just as an insurance agent but also a retirement specialist, she has made it her mission to help people – especially women – become financially independent. She has partnered with Debt.com to help even more of them. “I’ve counseled thousands of Americans who experienced their own melodrama – over money,” Gunvalson says. “Debt.com is in some ways exactly like me – and in other ways, unlike me. We both care deeply about getting good people in better financial shape. But unlike me, they do it quietly!”

Published by Debt.com, LLC