Not only that but most singers and musicians can get laid by just taking the women back to their place and don't even need to spend money on them. Do you think musicians take their groupies out on dates? Of course not and I digress. Like you say this is not musicianpickupforum.
I think any high value man does not need to impress a woman with money. She is doing him the favor and not the other way around. I think there are exceptions though and there is a right way to do it. The problem is most guys think they need to spend money right away and most women think this is acceptable too. I think both genders tend to think that on the first date it should be the man who pays(or whoever asks which as we all know 99 percent of the time is the man). This is why it's best to just meet up for coffee, go for a walk in the park or other inexpensive dates. Heck one time I even met up at a mall with a woman. As for dinner dates what you can do is eat a good sized meal before you go out with her then you just order a salad. More than likely she will not order anything more expensive than what you did. Or you can just say well I'm not really hungry. Typically a woman won't expect you to pay for just her dinner if she's eating by herself. I think it's best to stick with cheaper dates then by the third or fourth date don't take her out just invite her back to your place for dinner instead.
I agree though that paying for her typically should be viewed as a reward. When you first meet her she hasn't done anything to deserve it. She hasn't proven herself yet so why should she get a fifteen dollar(plus) dinner? If you are going to splurge then make sure she has done something to deserve it(unless it's a cup of coffee or something in which case it doesn't really matter).