Bank Better, Live Better
nicolette mashile’s secret to enjoying date night on a budget – while keeping the romance alive
Entrepreneur and media personality Nicolette Mashile, also known as the Financial Fitness Bunny, is passionate about levelling the playing field when it comes to financial literacy – particularly where it applies to relationships. Here’s her secret to enjoying romantic dates while staying within a budget.
Levelling the playing field
Dating can be expensive – candlelit dinners, movie tickets and romantic weekends away don’t come cheap. Often, these expenses can put a strain on the relationship, particularly when the same person always pays the bill.
“Globally, the biggest misconception is that the man has to take care of the woman and the finances, particularly when it comes to dating,” says Nicolette. “It creates dangerous expectations, because it’s easy to get into that routine of being the one who keeps paying or who expects the other person to pay all the time.”
Nicolette is an advocate of having a Mjolo account – a simple savings account (like one of the 4 savings plans that is available to you as a Capitec client) which both partners then contribute to equally.
It starts with each of you agreeing to how much you are willing and can afford to contribute to this “entertainment fund”. You can then use this money for activities you do together.
The idea is that no matter who invited the other, the bill is paid with money that has been saved by both of you. “It also takes the pressure off the person who does the inviting, knowing that they don’t have to pay for everything out of their own pocket,” says Nicolette.
Manage your money, together
“Once you become exclusive as a couple, it’s important to make sure you have that open and honest conversation about how you’re going to deal with your finances,” she says. “To start with, having a Mjolo account is a good way to fund dates, but it can also be a savings account used to save towards a bigger financial goal, like a weekend away or a holiday. Your money will also earn interest as the amount in the account accumulates.”
Keep track of your spending
Another benefit of a savings account for dates, is that you can track how much you spend when you go out together and what you’re spending it on. This will help you to become more financially savvy as a couple. “It starts with knowing how much you spend on entertainment.”
While this may sound unromantic, Nicolette believes it’s the opposite. “It can make your dates very personal and intimate, because you will have to come up with ways to enjoy yourselves and dates to go on that won’t cost a lot, like picnics.”
And she believes you can still treat each other to special gifts, if and when your budget allows. “If the one decides to treat the other, say to a massage, they can pay for it from their pocket as a special treat.” Again she cautions against making this a habit to avoid falling into the trap of having one person pay for everything again.
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