If you’re going out on a first date, do you think a certain amount of money should be spent? As the spender or the spendee, we asked seven Nigerians how much they think a first date should cost. Here’s what they said. 

“Men are expected to audition to catch my attention”

— Yinka*, 35

Of course, it’s important to note that a first date should cost whatever the paying party can afford, but if I have to give a figure, I’d say ₦50k–₦70k. I tend to date within a certain income bracket, and first dates usually cost more than the ₦50k–₦70k average I gave. Men must pick me up, pay for fine dining and drop me off. Any place with nice food, music and background won’t be cheap. 

The men I go on dates with have money and like spending on experiences, so we just order without looking at the bill. For example, if we’re drinking Glenfiddich, a bottle sometimes costs about ₦350k and above, while a bottle of wine can cost around ₦60k. 

But if it’s someone I’m not that comfortable with yet and I want to go easy on their pockets, a first date should cost around ₦50k–₦70k. If we’re doing bottle service, maybe ₦100k. I drink at least two cocktails, and by the time we add starters, main course and dessert, we’ve already racked up quite a bit. That’s why ₦50k–₦70k works as a safe ballpark figure. And yes, I can spend that money on any date, not just a date with a man. I’ve usually spent more with women because I enjoy their company, but men are expected to audition to catch my attention, so let them spend. 

“I’m not rich, so I’m unlikely to spend more than 15k” 

— John*, 26

I don’t have a lot of requirements on what a first date should look like, just that I hope my date and I enjoy each other’s company and have shared interests. But I’m not rich, so it’s unlikely I’d spend more than ₦15k on a date at this point in my life. Indoor dates are more my style anyway, because they’re more intimate, and you also get more value for your money. On the last indoor date I did, I spent like ₦13k which covered  a three-course meal and two bottles of wine. 

There was a time I spent ₦25k on a date because we went out for dinner. It wasn’t a luxury restaurant, so the bill was not as high. 

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“An ideal first date costs money, no matter how much we like to pretend it doesn’t”

— Jane, 21

A first date can cost anywhere from ₦10k–₦100k, but I’d like to put the average at about ₦35k. That amount of money works well for the kind of first dates I like or take people on. We can go grocery shopping, I make a home-cooked meal while I  talk with my date, eat, drink and watch something on TV. Also, it covers a small “thank you for coming” gift. It’s an excellent way to get to know someone in a very intimate setting. 

I’d like if someone did these for me too. Something soft and sweet that gives me a chance to know them on an ideal first date costs money, no matter how much we like to pretend it doesn’t. On a first date, you’re trying to make an impression, and that’s never cheap — especially not in this economy. 

“Sha hold the money. This is Lagos” 

— Ebenezer*, 27

I think the cost of dates depends significantly on the city you live in. I hear that Abuja is cheap, and many people are eating for as low as ₦15k on their dates. But in Lagos? You need to hold like ₦50k in case of incasity. First dates usually involve food because eating is excellent, but I try to add things like watching a movie or going to an art gallery. But no matter what you do on your first date, sha hold the money. This is Lagos. E fit be police wey go stress you. 

Plus, you may spend more than your budget on a date. Even if you know a place and have planned what you’d order, you may not know what is going through your date’s mind. One time I was caught slipping, and while it wasn’t the most I’d spent on a date, it shocked me because I didn’t expect a bill of about ₦40k+. I paid it o, but I didn’t go out again for the rest of the month. 

Honestly, that’s one of my issues with dating. What will remain if you’re doing multiple ₦40k dates in a month? How much is my salary? 

But the most I’ve ever spent was ₦80k, and if you ask me if it was worth it, I’d say no. If I’m not with the person in holy matrimony, then e no worth am at all.

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“Speaking as a broke person, the minimum is ₦20k”

— Amaka*, 26

I think a ₦20k budget is fair. To be honest, with this budget, you shouldn’t go to any restaurant in Lagos to eat. Instead, it’s for playing games at an arcade or going bowling. With my current partner, our first date was at an arcade, which was nice. You can also plan a picnic for two with this money. 

But essentially, a date should depend on what the person can afford, and speaking as a broke person, the minimum is ₦20k. Even that ₦20k is somehow because in Lagos, all you have to do is go outside and breathe, and your money has finished. 

“It depends on the nature of the date”

— Osas*, 30

The price of a first date is dependent on a couple of things. Sometimes things have been intense since day one, so they want a more intimate date. Other times it’s very casual so they may enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere. 

The nature of the date also plays a massive role in how much a date will cost. So here’s my breakdown: a coffee/tea date is between ₦5k–₦7k, and a movie date is ₦10k–₦15k, including tickets and snacks. If you want a  Netflix date, it can cost between ₦0–₦20k depending on whether you want to eat homemade food or order delivery. 

A games night can cost between ₦5k–₦15k which covers the cost of game tokens and a meal before or after. If you plan on going out for drinks, that can cost between ₦8k–₦16k depending on the cost of cocktails, beverages and location. A walk in the park is ₦0–₦10k, depending on if you’re buying snacks. And then, a restaurant date can cost between ₦10k–₦30k depending on the food and location. For restaurant dates, I feel like Chinese restaurants give the most value for money in terms of quality and quantity. 

So, there are a lot of factors to consider. With my partner, our first date was a movie date and it didn’t cost much. 

“I like to pack multiple activities into one date”

— Bisi*, 26 

A first date should cost between ₦20k–₦50k because I think a date should cost a minimum of ₦10k per person. It may be cheaper for some people, but I like to pack multiple activities into a date. A first date may involve seeing a movie, attending an event and then grabbing dinner. Doing various things is sure to cost more money. If it comes down to it, we can share the cost, and I can cover my expenses, but men usually want to pay for everything, so I let them. 

* Names have been changed for anonymity 
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