"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." - Winston Churchill

Do I Really Have To Try To Date? Day 10

By , January 10th, 2013 | 24 Comments »


Apparently my sister is not only my sister, but also an evil genius on par with all the worst comic book villains of all time in her ability to morph things in ways to get her intended purpose no matter what. I don’t date. It’s not that I think there is anything wrong with dating, it’s just that with my lifestyle, it’s not worth the time or effort. I am extremely happy with my life and lifestyle, and it just happens that the lifestyle that I lead isn’t very conducive for dating.

My sister, on the other hand, believes that nobody can truly be happy unless they are in a relationship. She has, therefore, been trying to get me to date any chance that she gets for far too long. She saw the perfect opportunity with the comment from secretarysaving who left a question asking me about dating and the minimum wage challenge: “Jeffrey – What about your personal life, any dates planned?”

Sister: You really can’t do this challenge without dating?

Me: Why not?

Sister: Because it’s something that everyone does, and if you leave it out, then you’re not giving a true representation of all the things that people normally do in life.

Me: I’m not trying to do that.

Sister: So, what you’re saying is that if you have to go on dates, then you would lose the challenge. Basically you’re afraid to lose so you won’t do it.

Me: No, that isn’t it at all.

Sister: I don’t believe you. Prove it to me.

Me: Fine. I’ll go on some random dates during the year just to prove you’re wrong.

Sister: But you can’t tell them that you’re doing this challenge. That would be cheating. You have to just go like it was a regular date.

Me: What?!

Sister: If you tell them that you’re doing the challenge, they will feel sorry for you and let a the date slide even when they aren’t having a good time. You can only tell them after the fifth date.

Me: What?!

Sister: And if you can’t get to a fifth date with anyone this year, you’ve basically proven that you lost the bet because you couldn’t find a dating partner that would be willing to date you while on a minimum wage budget.

Me: What?!

Sister: So it’s settled. You have to date and date one person at least five times or you lose the bet.

Me: What?!

And then she turned and walked away triumphantly, shouting over her shoulder that if I refused, then I’d just proved the point that I was chicken and couldn’t do it. Now, anyone who is aware of the Sibling Agreement on Records, Bets, Stunts and Streaks (SARBSS) code knows that all accusations of not fulfilling terms of a challenge because one is “chicken” must be proven false, no matter how ridiculous the accusations are, just to prove the point of how wrong the sibling who made the accusation in the first place was.

The problem is, I’m not even sure how to go about doing this (any suggestions would be greatly appreciated). It’s something that I’m now going to have to figure out how to do, and I have a feeling that it’s not going to end well.

Today I headed for the second house sitting gig of this year, this time in Santa Rosa, CA. It was about 100 mile drive north from my mom’s house which meant that I had to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. No matter how many times I cross that bridge, I’m always amazed at how spectacular it looks. On a day with blue skies, like today, there was really no doubt that I was going to stop to take a few photos of it:

Golden Gate crossing

Golden Gate Bridge

I think that this house sitting job will be a little harder on my budget than the last one. Once again, I was told to eat whatever I wanted in the house, but this time there are far fewer perishables and leftovers in the fridge, although there is beer which should be nice (I think I’m going to have to be careful, because I might start losing house sitting jobs by showing the inside of everybody’s refrigerator where I house sit)


While there is enough food for part of my stay, I’ll probably have to go to the grocery store to supplement the food during this week. Unfortunately, I don’t have any coupon inserts with me so I’ll have to go and buy whatever I can find on discount. I think I should be able to come away under my $5 per day budget on food, but it won’t be quite as easy as the last house sitting job.

One positive of this house sitting job was that the owners felt bad that I was only charging them the cost for me to travel to and from their house, so they took me out to lunch before they left. This allowed me to have a quite nice lunch at no cost which consisted of a salad and enchilada (although it was the strangest enchilada I have ever eaten):



Since my transportation costs to the house were covered and the lunch was paid for by the home owners, I didn’t incur any other spending costs for the day.

Today’s Spending

Food: $0.00
Car: $0.00
Housing: $0.00
Travel: $0.00
Misc: $0.00

Total: $0.00

Total Spending

Food: $7.39
Car: $0.00
Housing: $0.00
Travel: $0.00
Misc: $16.15

Total: $23.54

Next article: Day 11: Failing to Think Creatively

Editors note: If you are reading this posting because you are actively looking for someone to date, join match.com. Match is a paid online dating service. Its members have to invest a monthly fee in meeting people, which means there is much less flaky behavior and better quality partners than free sites like Plenty of Fish, Tinder or Bumble. Match is also very popular because its mobile and desktop interfaces do better at facilitating communication than its competitors like eHarmony. Click here to join.

(Top photo courtesy of BrentOzar)

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  • Mjrube says:

    I’m the youngest of 10, so I get the whole sibling thing. I don’t think she’d be able to argue this:

    Why don’t you and she agree as to what the 5 “acceptable dates” entail? Maybe a movie and ice cream one night, dinner at a mid-range place another, etc. Once you agree on the 5, commit to setting aside the amount if money it would cost to do each at the various points of the year.

    This way, you are accounting for the things that “everyone does”, without actually having to go on the date.

    Good luck!

  • Denise A. says:

    Yes your sister is an evil genus.I would try and find someone to date who likes nature and appreciates national parks.

    Without coupons you have to think a little bit out of the box on buying groceries here are 2 alternatives in Santa Rosa:
    Grocery Outlet
    1116 4TH STREET
    SANTA ROSA, CA 95404
    (707) 566-0530

    99 Cents Only Store
    3575 Industrial Dr,
    Santa Rosa, CA 95403

    While neither one is a full grocery store, they both carry produce and Grocery Outlet even has fresh meat. Many items are cheaper than if you used a coupon in a regular store. Remember there are lots of printable coupons online. And all of the major stores have their sale flyers online. If you have the time you should do OK. You just won’t get items for free or near free.

    • jeffrey says:

      Thanks for the info — it will come in handy.

    • John says:

      Grocery Outlet is an awesome store. They carry a lot of expensive brand name and organic stuff that’s sometimes nearing expiration, which they sell really, really cheap. I’ve walked out of there with two bags of brand-name snack foods for parties on many occasions with whopping bills of like $10.

      They also have a good wine and cheese section usually — be wary though of some of those items.

  • Nikki says:

    If you’re going to date while on a minimum-wage budget, I would suggest seeking out fellow frugal people. You’ll probably have something in common with them immediately, and they most likely won’t mind inexpensive dates – a walk in the park, hiking, going to a museum, etc. Besides, according to ABC News, frugal dating is on the rise http://www.abc2news.com/dpp/money/frugal-dating-is-on-the-rise.

  • CB in the City says:

    I think you should date only when you want to and only with someone you want to get to know. And I think you should be honest with that person. This is your life, not your sister’s. She shouldn’t be telling you to play games with people.

  • Natasha says:

    By now, both here and on your $1/day challenges, I’m just amused by your sister’s challenges to make it harder on you. Here, though, I think it’s crap.

    Not everyone lives life the same way, minimum wage or not. Some people simply do not date. Maybe people are QUITE happy not being in relationships. As such, your personal life ought to be out of it.

    This is one you two should have agreed to send to the readers to arbitrate.

  • twest says:

    I agree with CB. I don’t think it is cool to play games with people and if you don’t like to date then that is just the way it is. Personal finance is just that….personal.

    In my opinion your sister is so afraid that you are going to accomplish this minimum wage challenge with flying colors that she keeps adding on things. I have a feeling she will be wanting to add to this challenge all year long. Don’t mean to be hateful to your sister because I know we all love our siblings, but this is just the way I see it.

  • Nika says:

    I don’t think that her conditions are reasonable. I know plenty of women who have not had 5 days with one guy in years, and it has nothing to do with money. Some don’t date for months. I know two guys off hand who could not meet your sister’s condition (and one of them makes over 1 mil a year).

    Her condition is almost as unreasonable as if she had said “If you don’t find your future wife this year while doing this challenge, you failed the challenge.” I think she is just finding a way to push her own agenda and you should push back and insist on doing what you want with your personal life.

  • Alexandria says:

    Maybe I am biased because I haven’t dated since I was a teenager (money never seemed to be an issue because no one had any at that age – HA!)

    BUT. Honestly, I think this is a good thing. You will be more likely to find someone who is more compatible and up to your crazy challenges anyway. You might not attract anyone high maintenance, but why would you want to anyway? 😀 Perfect date? A hike and a sunset – something like that. Meeting for drinks or coffee – I have seen that mentioned as a pretty safe first date. Dinner and a movie? Expensive, and *yawn*

  • Alexandria says:

    P.S. Other than that, I agree with Nika. You can’t force dating. Yuck.

  • Joan says:

    How silly. If you really were a minimum wage earner, anyone you dated would not be apt to think you earned significantly more. It would show in how you dress, how you entertain, what hobby/sports equipment you have, where you live, what transportation you use, where you shop, how you eat, how your living space was furnished, etc. Most people dating find out what the other does for a living and that can give a good idea what income might be.

    So I think it would only be LIKE a minimum wage earner’s situation to share with dates that you are doing this challenge. To pretend otherwise or to hide the truth would be a deceitful omission and therefore a manipulation that I am not interested in seeing you record in this blog.

    Date if you want. Don’t date if you don’t want. Be honest.

    We vote your sister off the Island of Real World Dating Honesty. The challenge may be a game, but she should not try to rope unsuspecting others into the game.

    Thumbs down on sister’s demand.

  • BillsBeloved says:

    I just don’t see what dating has to do with the minimum wage challenge. How can you fulfill a challenge if the rules keep changing?

    But if you feel you have to try, I’ve heard ads for “It’s just Lunch”. We’re in the Twin Cities area and I haven’t checked it out (I’m happily married) but it sounds like they are a national company. From their ads, it sounds like it would be a good way to meet someone to date.

    While your sister’s ideas don’t match my logic, I’m enjoying reading this blog. Thanks for sharing.

  • Aleta says:

    Did you have the rules set up before you started this challenge? Your sister is trying to sabotage your success at this. The challenge was about you alone not about having an extra person with you that would add on to your expenses. You date when you want to.

    Sister can’t make the rules up as she goes along. You’re doing great. I love reading your blog.

  • Melanie Pierce says:

    I have a question. Do your house sitting clients know that you are doing this challenge?

    • jeffrey says:

      Good question. I don’t think so — the first one didn’t. The current one knows something is going on (I have house sat for them in the past) and I changed what I charged, but I didn’t go into detail about it with them.

  • Wendy says:

    If you find someone YOU actually want to date, there are inexpensive ways to do it. Our newspaper has a list of free events in it’s Friday entertainment section. Packing a picnic and going to a lake or the beach are always great. Real world minimum wagers do date, but I agree with the others who have said your Sister shouldn’t be allowed to change the rules after the challenge starts. It’s deceitful to wait for 5 dates before you share your challenge situation with someone. Your sister is telling you to lie by omission to an unsuspecting woman. If you actually meet the love of your life, that could ruin it. Tell your sister that your readers have voted her idea down.

  • nors says:

    I agree with Joan and some of the other posts – it is not fair to another person to be used to try to prove some one elses point. I would loose repect for this challenge if you date 5 times just to prove a point to yourself or your sister.

  • Frugaltexan75 says:

    I agree with the others. You shouldn’t have to date unless you actually want to. Besides, with the nomad lifestyle you have, I would think it would be difficult to first find a person to date AND manage to see them 5 times before moving on to the next location. Plus I would imagine that your sister wouldn’t accept frugal dates (ones that cost little money) as fulfilling her idea of a “date.” It really isn’t fair to change the terms of a wager mid-stream.

  • Amish Author Sicily Yoder says:

    Make my favorite pasta, which I just had for a late lunch. You can use any pasta.

    Drain cooked pasta
    Add in:
    1/4 cup dry, grated Parmesan cheese ( I use the cheap shaker-type)

    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon fresh or dry basil

    I love this meal. I had an apple cut-up to go with it.

  • Pauline says:

    I think you should put a rule that any addition to the agreement should be made before January 31st or she will keep adding barriers as she sees you getting closer to your goal! You could join a hiking club or a cycling one, or random meetups like couchsurfing and the like, to do free activities around the city. Chances are like minded people will attend.

  • ericka says:

    i think there are lots of great inexpencive dates. i know that my husband and i do lots of things that are inexpencive…and we do alot of things that are expencive too.

    we hike, hang out..we have an outside fire pit and do roasted marshmellows over it, watch a movie from the library…or a bunch of library movies lol…we cook…one of our best first dates was the night we painted his kichen, and made home made pizza…wasnt expencive…but the best part was talking while we did it. weve went to drag races, and out for ice cream, weve been blackberry picking, and taken a walk in the woods…weve taken pictures of things while out on walks…and made dinner together….

    what im saying is..if your going to date…and you want to date…if the person your with likes you…they will prolly have a good time doing almost anything with you. i know when im with Phillip….i have a great time….even when its something id not have picked to do myself ( like the time we built the back patio).

    good luck!


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