Many men in Singapore complain that Singaporean women are too materialistic and money-minded. Is this true? With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Budget Babe explores the issue of dating in Singapore.
Words by Budget Babe
It’s common to hear people complain about the high cost of living in Singapore, but ask the men and they’ll tell you that they have it worse. As if it isn’t hard enough to get by in Singapore already, Singaporean men, in general, are also expected to pay for the women. With Valentine’s Day approaching, these costs are expected to go up.
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Based on anecdotal research, an average date in Singapore can cost anywhere between S$50 and S$200. If you bring your date out to a café, the bill can easily exceed S$60. This number can escalate higher if you’re dining at a decent restaurant. Add in flowers, chocolates and gifts, and the number will balloon even further. But, are Singaporean women too materialistic? Or do Singaporean men just tend to spend too much when dating in Singapore? We take a closer look.
Many Singaporean men feel that they are expected to foot the bill, either to demonstrate to the women their financial prowess or due to a misplaced sense of masculinity. The money spent on dating each month can easily reach a few hundred dollars, depending on the frequency of dates. For this article, we surveyed a few men from different phases in life and found some interesting trends.
How much do Singaporean guys usually spend on dating in Singapore each month?
- Male students spend an average of between S$100 and S$150 a month on dating. We assume this is so because food in school is cheaper, and you can make use of student discounts at numerous places.
- Young working adults who are fresh out of university tend to spend between S$150 and S$500 a month. They don’t date as often and some of the common reasons cited included having to pay off their tuition loans and busier schedules.
- Men in their 30s varied widely in their spending. Some were more frugal, spending S$400 a month, whereas others were guilty of spending between S$1,000 and S$2,000, especially if they often ate at restaurants and bought gifts for the women.
- Those who were engaged (or have engaged in serious discussions with their girlfriends regarding a future together) were more conscious of their spending in lieu of saving up for a wedding or a flat, spending about S$200 to S$400 a month.
Dating costs were largely attributed to food and films as well as taxi fares incurred in sending the girl home. Men who were in the process of wooing women said they spent more frequently on gifts, whereas folks in stable relationships longer than a year didn’t have much of a habit of gifting and only broke the piggy bank to purchase a gift during special occasions.
Are Singaporean women too materialistic?
As a female myself, I am inclined to say no, but I have to admit that there are some girls out there who give the rest of our gender a bad name. An SMU study conducted four years ago revealed that Singaporean girls to be more materialistic than their American counterparts. The key here lies in the age of those surveyed (19 to 21). If you ask the older women (try those aged 23 – 29 instead), I’m certain the results will be quite different.
Yes, all of us know that one woman who needs her boyfriend to own a car, treat her to fancy dinners at restaurants, and shower her with flowers on every date, but if that describes the majority of ladies you are dating, perhaps you’re mixing with the wrong crowd.
I do have friends who expect the guys to constantly foot the bills and give presents in order to demonstrate their sincerity, but I also have many more friends who don’t operate that way.
As females, we do tend to prefer men who earn more than we do since it means they’ll be able to provide for us. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we look down on those who earn less. Living and raising a family in Singapore is expensive, so it may be practical for women to go for men who earn more than they do. However, most of us will rather choose to marry a guy with character and decent values over someone who earns more.
Having said that, which lady would not want to marry a man who’s rich enough to buy her all the things she wants? It is a preference, but not a criteria. Many females will fantasise about their tai-tai dreams, but many understand that reality may not always turn out to be that way for most of us, and we accept that fact.
Can you use money to purchase romance?
In this age of gender equality, we are perfectly capable of buying that branded bag that we have our eye on. In my opinion, men who complain about Singaporean girls being too materialistic are looking in the wrong places, because there’s a clear difference between dating a girl and seeing a woman. I know of many materialistic girls, but struggle to think of women who heap such unrealistic expectations on their men. In my immediate circle of friends, I can name at least five women who are strong and financially independent, but are still not attached. I wonder why…
Besides the usual flowers and soft toys, some of my girlfriends have gotten branded bags and wallets from men, which I can imagine must have cost a bomb. I remember receiving an Agnes B. wallet when I was 18 from a guy who was in the same junior college as me and one year my senior. He was trying to woo me. I insisted on returning it, because I was shocked by how expensive it was. Based on my estimates, it must have cost him around S$200. However, he refused to take the present back.
Was I impressed? No, because I’m not that type of girl. Did I eventually get together with him? No, and the wallet had nothing to do with it. I simply had no romantic feelings for him. Just imagine how much men spend on gifts alone trying to impress girls! And yet all that money may not necessarily get you a girlfriend.
The higher your wedding costs, the more likely you are to divorce
Emerging research has also suggested that couples who spend more on their wedding are more likely to get divorced, as wedding debts can cause a huge strain on a marriage. The study found that couples who spent over US$20,000 were three times more likely to divorce than those who spent between US$5,000 and US$10,000.
The average wedding in Singapore costs between S$44,000 and S$60,000, so anything more than S$60,000 might mean that you’re headed to the divorce courts sooner than you think. It can be quite stressful and taxing on your marriage if you’re trying to pay off your exorbitant wedding debt.
Is financial compatibility an important factor in relationships?
Most likely. Couples can easily end up having arguments over money matters, so this is one area you might want to tread carefully. It would be best if both you and your partner have similar ideas on spending and saving, but if you don’t, then the best way would be to have separate funds for your individual expenses such as shopping and hanging out with your own friends. In some married relationships, we found the one who was more prudent is usually the one taking charge of the purse strings.
Of course, asking for financial information may be the fastest way to kill a romance, but many studies suggest such communication makes for a solid foundation for a happy and long-lasting marriage. Understanding the differences between you and your partner’s financial priorities earlier in the relationship can help you avoid the money arguments later.