I don’t know about you, but lately my social world revolves around getting wedding proposals, actually getting married, and having babies. As for me, my concerns include trying to get my laundry picked up by the shop, staying up to plan for my trips to the mountains, the beach, or somewhere far.

Of late, I’ve gotten back into dating {thankfully, not through Tinder} and boy, did it take very little to blow my finances out of the water. Surely, a man pays for most of our outings such as dinners, at least in the beginning, and every now and then a lady pays, too. But there’s more to getting to know someone romantically than the wallet can foresee.

When I started dating, I was eating out more than I used to. At this age, and having my own place, I would have chosen to cook for the both of us at some point. However, I am still in that phase that my cooking might turn out to be blah and I’m not sure I want the guy to judge my culinary skills. Hence, we had been spending about PHP 7,500 between the two of us in dining out.

My maintenance habits went up on a much higher frequency. Whereas having my legs waxed was not exactly a priority before I started dating, I now spend at least PHP 500 every two weeks. Add to that the eyebrow threading, roughly PHP 700 every two weeks, and I’ve escalated into a truly high maintenance woman. Any guy would say, of course, that they don’t really care if a woman has the right hair cut or is wearing great makeup. But gentlemen, trust me, you will notice if we don’t do any of these things.

In the event one of you goes out of the country, and in this case, I’d been on consecutive trips, I realize I had to enroll my postpaid plan into data roaming. This added several hundreds of pesos on top of my monthly bill, just so we could keep communicating.

I am, admittedly, a wardrobe shopaholic. So when I’m dating someone, it mattered how often I repeat my clothes so naturally my shopping costs doubled. I don’t particularly recommend upgrading fashion expenses at any change that happens in life, but if your budget allows for it, go for it. In my case, I took the opportunity to rebuild my wardrobe and suffice to say, I’m not shopping for clothes until the year ends. In the span of 3 months, I had shopped a total of PHP 17,000. This is a bit higher than I normally shop for in three months and I’m glad I had the legroom for it. However, it’s something I can’t keep doing every quarter.

When I began seeing this guy, I started spending most of my free time with him. It took so much from my schedule that I ended up putting a pause on my passion projects, some of which earned me substantial income. In that sense, I’ve lost potential earnings I could’ve gained from the time we spent together. Time is money, after all.

There is only one lesson here, folks: try to keep a clear head as soon as you start dating. There will be numerous factors that will be affected, and money is just one of them. So keep your mind clear and your financial discipline intact. Don’t forget to protect your heart too.

Tara Cabullo

Tara is the lifestyle blogger behind ChroniclesofVanity.com, a founding member of the Brighter Life Team, a BDJ Box Beauty Minister, and a digital marketer for a Telco company.