How Much Do Long Distance Relationships Cost? Here Is How Expensive It Is.

I’m not trying to sound unromantic but it is important to be aware of the costs and sacrifices when it comes to starting and maintaining a long-distance relationship. 

Whenever Jacqueline and I ran into an obstacle in our relationship she would ask “Is it worth it?”. I would reply “You’re worth it“. How’s that for romance?

The common costs of a long-distance relationship are:

  • Travel
  • Lodging
  • Dining

Travel

The travel expense is the biggest hit to the wallet. Whether you’re driving across state lines or taking a plane to another country, just getting there is the most expensive part. And, if you don’t live in a major city, you’ll be taking connecting flights to get to your destination. 

You can drive your car to save on plane tickets. However, you’re adding miles to your car and shortening its life. Include maintenance as part of the travel expense.

Lodging

Lodging could be your cheapest expense as you can easily share a room with your significant other. However, some may still be in the dating-phase and are still living with traditional parents. Thus, this situation will require that the visitor stay with a friend or pay for a hotel.

If you’re forced to stay at a hotel, the cost of a room can range from $50- $300/night. It all depends on the quality of the hotel and location. Ideally, you want to be closer to your partner. However, that convenience may come at a steep price.

Dining

You haven’t seen your partner in a while so that’s enough reason to celebrate! Usually, this means going to either the fanciest or trendiest restaurant in town. And, because it’s a special occasion, you might feel compelled to splurge on appetizers, desserts, and specialty dishes.

More than likely you’ll have multiple special occasion meals.

How To Make a Long-Distance Relationship Affordable

There is no denying there taxing ways that could cost your long distance relationship and, in particular the costs associated with having a long-distance relationship. The words Long Distance Relationship and Money can be daunting. However, there are ways to prepare yourself financially when visiting your loved one.

Talk To Your Partner

Honesty is the best policy and this is especially important when it comes to money. You and your partner have to be open about the pressure the relationship has on your finances. 

A lot of couple separations are related to money issues. For example, my parents split when I was 8-years old because of a disagreement about money. 

You might have pride in not sharing your financial situation. But, discussing it earlier in your relationship will help manage expectations and avoid an argument in the future. 

A quality partner will respect you more because of your honesty. Also, they will appreciate your effort because it shows that you are trying to take steps to make it work. Try out these creative virtual date ideas to help bridge the gap.

However, a significant other still preferring to be lavished outside your financial limits may be a red flag. If they are not willing to work with your situation, then breaking up will save on cost!

Create a Budget

Once you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to your finances, the next step is to create a budget! The purpose of a budget is not to restrict you. Instead, it lets you know how much freedom you can have. 

As a couple, you two need to determine how much you need to save. This number can be estimated by taking into account all the expenses you expect to incur, such as plane tickets, eating out, etc. 

After paying for all your basic monthly expenses, set aside a portion of your paycheck to go towards your “love fund”. Once your target number has been met, then you can start making reservations.

There are different types of budgeting strategies. The strategy my wife and I use is a zero-based budget. It gives every dollar from your paycheck a purpose, such as paying bills, grocery shopping, and savings.

The zero-based budget has given us the confidence we need when it comes to our money. We no longer assume we’ll be okay; We know we’ll be great! For more details on our strategy, check out our article What is a Zero-Based Budget + How I Found $10k.

Once you become comfortable with the basics of creating a budget, you can break down your target savings into finer categories.

Reduce the Frequency of Visits

A good budgeting strategy doesn’t tell you you can’t spend money. Instead, a good budgeting strategy tells you when you can spend money! 

A person’s savings rate will determine how soon or how long it will take to reach their savings number. For example, a person who can set aside more towards their savings goal will reach their goal sooner. On the other hand, a person who is only able to set aside a little at a time may take a while before reaching their goal.

Therefore, the target savings number and a person’s savings rate can impact how frequently and for how long a person can visit. Reducing the target savings number or increasing the savings rate will allow their goal to be reached sooner.

Take Advantage of Money Savvy Opportunities

Aside from building a “love fund”, there are other opportunities to save money by taking advantage of programs offered by different companies.

For example, airlines offer free miles or free flights if you sign up with one of their credit cards. Also, credit card companies offer points depending on how much you spend which can be converted into cash or gift cards.

Jacqueline is the one with a credit card. So, we always use her card to collect the points. However, I would always get the “stink eye” from a waiter every time it looked like she was the one paying for our meals. 

Moral of the story: I got a joint credit card.

Long-distance relationships can be tough, but they are not impossible. The same thing applies to budgeting for your visit: It’s not impossible! With proper planning, you and your partner can create unforgettable memories versus memories of regret. 

Be honest about your financial situation. If they are understanding and willing to work with you, they are a keeper!

Meet the writers: Jacqueline & Jonathan

Jacqueline and Jonathan are real estate investors and personal finance bloggers for Parent Portfolio. They have been married for over 9 years and have two lively children. They own a small real estate business that owns and operates investment properties in their local market. They’ve also been featured in Business Insider, USA Today, FOX Business, and more.

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