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When your love life drains your pocket

By John Kariuki | January 28th 2015

Some Kenyans have a queer habit of always splashing what little money they have. Frequently, they paint the town red with the help of eager, unofficial lovers and hangers-on that they date. But the thrill of these escapades can derail one’s financial focus.

Scores of hustlers and low and medium income earners, pretending to be millionaires for the day, will order costly drinks and food and end up spending all their wages.

Scores of lovers, both young and old, appear to live on cloud nine and frequently go out on dates with the aim of making a lasting impression, with true love coming later, if at all.

Thus they will hire or borrow the latest car model and hang out in exclusive clubs where food and drinks are priced way beyond their reach.

History is replete with people who have given their dates fabulous presents on the spur of the moment like yachts, aeroplanes, flashy cars and expensive jewellery.

Some princes have even ceded part of their territories to their lovers. While we may not order troops to war to prove our love, we nevertheless commit enormous funds to the vanity that frequently goes with it.

Austin Gachango, an accountant, had been dating girls in the fast lane until he did the math and reconsidered his ways. He regrets a loan that he once took to take his date on a holiday.

“I am still paying the loan up to now and things never worked out for us,” he says. In retrospect, Gachango now sees where he went wrong with the dating game.

“I started on a high note, taking my date to expensive places from day one and I had to live that way till we parted,” he says.

Gachango’s date came from a well to do family whereas he hailed from a rural one. She had never washed her clothes all her life, while he had been doing all the chores that are typical to a rural home. “Part of the dating arrangement was that I frequently paid for a cleaning woman to do her laundry and to keep her house tidy,” says Gachango.

From his experience, Gachango advises the youth to date people of their own social class to minimise a character mismatch, which will ultimately cost them the friendship.

“It’s important to understand the person you are dating before committing your money to any serious outings and purchases,” he says.

Peterson Lihanda, a civil servant, is also in the dating game. Three relationships in, he has learnt his lesson.

“A previous girlfriend was more interested in what I earn and my share of my family wealth than in building a lasting relationship with me,” he says. They parted ways after a while.

And a second date had the nasty habit of bringing along a crowd of her friends whenever he took her out. “At one sitting I would pay a bill for drinks in excess of Sh3,000,” he says. Even a mere call for a cup of tea would always end up as a meeting of five or six people, he adds. Partly due to these expenses and the fact that his date was never alone for a single moment, he ditched her and moved on.

He advises people in the dating game to keep out the crowd and strictly stick to their dates when on outings. Further, he says that one should withhold disclosing his or her financial standing until a relationship survives the test of time and is destined to end in marriage.

“One should not rush in into financial disclosure before fully knowing the other person,” he says. Doing so, he adds, can be an expensive mistake.

Yvonne Muturi, a teacher, says women also incur costs.

“A girl has a few things that she must do before every date, irrespective of whether the romance leads to a lasting relationship or not,” she says. And these range from getting a manicure and a pedicure to costly hair styling. She prices a manicure and pedicure at Sh400 each and a hair styling session at anything from Sh500 to Sh1,000.

“We have not added the cost of minor things like eyebrow penciling and lipstick,” she says and poses, “who between men and women buys new clothes when going out on a date?”

Muturi says that contrary to popular belief that men always spend the money in relationships, there are a growing number of male sponges who have no qualms spending a women’s hard earned cash. “Such guys are often serial heartbreakers and will walk into a woman’s life, get a life at her expense and leave when the fun is over,” she says.

Muturi’s colleague took a huge loan and entrusted it to her boyfriend, ostensibly to start a joint business only for the fellow to squander the money with other women. She advises women to trust their gut feelings before committing their money to the many dating frauds who are on the loose.

Sharing your hobby with your partner is a great and cheap way of dating. For example, teach your date how to knit, sing, bake or write.

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