I already put a price tag on my last breakup, so how about figuring out how much it costs to fall in love? What is the cost of dating in general? I broke it down:

The Cost of Dating Sites

Most of them are free, and the rest are generally free for women. I’m not a fan, but have tried them briefly, and prices are around $20 a month. My friends who pay for online dating services argue that they don’t get so much spam, and that the guys are more motivated. So maybe sites like eHarmony are a worthwhile investment.  (I have a friend who swears online dating is the cheapest way to eliminate the duds before investing a dime.)

Grooming Costs

I’m not a girly-girl. On a normal day, you will find me dressed in whatever my hand reaches first in my closet. And combing my hair is about as far as I’ll go in terms of trying to look good.

But if I’m going on a date, I’ll probably have my hair done, go for a manicure, and — just maybe — even buy a cute top.

Even if I don’t go overboard, I’m looking at $30 or more before I even walk out the door. The cost of dating ain’t cheap!

Putting Yourself Out There

When you’re in a relationship, a tub of ice cream and a How I Met Your Mother marathon make for a perfectly acceptable Friday-night date. But when you’re looking for love, you say yes to more events — bar nights, dinners with friends, concerts, games . . . — to the tune of anywhere between $20 an over $100 a night.

I try to keep costs down by having just a drink or two, or having a snack before I go out, so I’m not tempted to have every appetizer on the menu.

The Cost of An Actual Date

A way to keep costs low is to not go on dates with everyone who offers. Spend a little time chatting first. See if you really want to go.

I try to check to see if there are any deal breakers before accepting. Do we want the same things? Some people date for fun, others to find love. Both goals are fine, but if your date wants something different than you do, it won’t work.

You can pick a coffee shop to make it a cheap date, or offer to go for a walk around town, which makes for a great conversation starter on top of being free.

If we go out to eat, I always reach for my wallet when it is time to pay. Only once did a guy let me pay the whole bill (and no, there was no second date).

The guy will usually offer to pay, or else we’ll split it. While I think men should pay for a first date, and I will pay for the second one, I always come prepared to pay my share. I generally bring small bills so that we can get it over with quickly and I don’t have to wait for my change.

First dates usually cost me $5 to $30 because even on a free date, there are transportation costs to get there.

Dating is a numbers game, so you may go on a dozen dates before you find a boyfriend. Then, you’ll go on a dozen more dates with said boyfriend.

Once I Find a Boyfriend

Once things go well, I usually pay for every other date. I like it better than splitting the bill every time. Without counting pennies, it’s an easy way to balance things out in my head. If he gets expensive tickets for a show, I’ll treat us to a nice dinner.

If you’re too worried about the cost of dating, it can become debilitating.

I also like small gifts when I see my boyfriend needs something. It’s $10 here and there to show the other person you thought of him.

By then, things are going very well. Thank goodness, because you are moving in together, and finally recouping the whole cost of dating by halving your rent and going back to TV marathons!

Just kidding. Sort of. Keep having fun, cheap dates that don’t break the bank.

The Total Cost of Dating

Let’s put the math together. For a dozen dates at $15, a couple of grooming sessions at $30, a dozen more dates with “the guy” at $50 (of which I’d pay half), and saying yes 10 times to my friends telling me “you should really go out tonight or you’ll stay single forever!” at $30 a night – that’s $840 to find my next boyfriend.

And I’m not trying as hard as others. Some girls get hair done for every date, or get a gym membership to get in shape.

Nor am I a man paying for dating sites and first dates in full. Otherwise, I’d probably be looking at more than $1,000. Love is expensive! (Just ask people who measure love by the size of an engagement ring.)

Overall, dating can be as cheap or as expensive as you make it. You can have just as much fun at the park as in a fancy restaurant. Furthermore, if the person is right, the place won’t matter at all.