Does Online Dating Save You Money?

(Photo: Gail)

(Photo: Gail)

Our recent podcast, “What You Don’t Know About Online Dating,” offered an economist’s guide to dating online. Here’s one more perk: a report by CovergEx Group estimates that online dating is more cost-efficient than traditional dating. From Business Insider

The ConvergEx folks, using data from, note the average courtship time for “off-line,” traditional dating ahead of a marriage runs around 42 months – or two years longer than the 18.5-month, average dating-to-marriage cycle for people who meet online.

And using that data, they came up with a formula.

“At a conservative estimate of one date per week and a cost of $130 per date – $100 for a meal and drinks at a nice restaurant, plus $30 for two movie tickets and popcorn – the dating phase prior to an offline marriage runs up a $23,660 tab,” ConvergEx said.

“The average dating site customer spends just $239 a year for online memberships, which more than pays for itself to the tune of $12,803 in cost savings from fewer dates,” they continued. “Assuming you go Dutch, each party saves a touch over $6,400 in choosing the online route to marital bliss.”

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  1. mark says:

    Additionally, undesirable losers can save an extra $239!

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  2. bill says:

    This study fails to recognize the reality of dating in two respects: 1) once a relationship gets serious the couple does not consistently go out on fancy, expensive dates, nor does the man pay every time and 2) members of online dating sites go out on lots of dates with lots of people (at which the man pays) before they settle down with one. Just because the courting is shorter on average with online dating doesn’t mean it’s a bargain.

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  3. Josh says:

    This got published? I’d like to see a controlled study, perhaps one that randomly offers people browsing online dating websites a free membership. In this study the only useful information is that people getting married do so more quickly if they meet online. I’d assume a high level of selection bias in that people participating in the online dating market are more willing to marry quickly.

    From my personal experience, it was hard to filter out good matches doing online dating. Over the course of several months, I dated nearly 20 women, spent a lot of money, and met zero potential wives. I gave up dating altogether, then I met the woman I’m dating now in a bar. She’s better than all the women I met online put together.

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    • Chris says:

      +1 for this. I find it hilarious that you bemoan the possibility of “selection bias” and then follow up with “from my personal experience” to somehow justify your claims. Nice touch!

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    • David says:

      Let me guess.. Jdate?

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      • caleb b says:

        question: what percentage of JDate people are lying?

        I mean, if the girl was hot enough, sure I’m Jewish. I’m whatever you want me to be baby.

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  4. caryatis says:

    Come on, who buys a $100 meal for every date? For four years? No way. Even in the first few dates, I very rarely spent that much, and after a year or so couples tend to default to hanging out at home with a bottle of wine and Netflix. Also, shouldn’t the number be split in half given that the couple will likely either split expenses or rely on the man to pay for everything?

    I’m betting CovergEx Group is trying to advertise online dating.

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  5. Eric M. Jones says:

    Save both time and money; run a credit check on them. A score below 700 is a no-go for marriage.

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  6. Scott says:

    Very interesting. Can we get a follow-up on how successful “online” marriages are compared to the traditional (divorce rate, etc.)? Also, does courtship-time (online or off) change the likelihood of successful marriage?


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  7. Mark Brucker says:

    It doesn’t seem to me they’ve made their case. No info indicates that it’s because of online dating that the period is shorter. Who knows how online daters may differ from those who meet through other methods. I’d guess there are significant differences….

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    • NZ says:

      The rigor of studies mentioned in the books is in sharp contrast to the consistent non-rigor of studies discussed in the blog.

      You get what you pay for.

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  8. W Lu says:

    This article just economized the whl dating process. Real Romantic! Thanks Freakonomics :)

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