Online Dating Doesn’t Just Save You Time – It Saves You Money

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A lot of people love online dating because of its convenience. It's hard to beat being able to scan through potential matches from the comfort of your own home, entirely at your leisure. Traditional dating can be found, but it can also be a huge time suck. Sometimes all you want is an efficient way to weed out the frogs from the princes (and princesses).

Online daters already know that dating websites are a great way to save time, but it turns out they're also a great way to save money. Couples who meet online tend to marry after a shorter period of time than couples who meet in real life, meaning that a courtship that begins via the Internet ends up being thousands of dollars cheaper than meeting and wooing someone offline.

According to market strategists at New York City-based ConvergEx Group, the average dating period prior to marriage for a couple who met in real life is approximately 42 months. Let's do some math: if that couple goes on one date per week, and that date costs around $130 (for food, drinks, entertainment tickets, etc.), then the total cost of that couple's courtship would be around $23,660.

The average time between meeting and marriage for couples who meet online, on the other hand, runs around 18.5 months. The average dating site customer spends $239 a year for online memberships, according to ConvergEx Group, and if we assume that the amount spent on dates is the same, an online dater saves $12,803 in comparison to an offline dater.

And what if the dates go Dutch? In that case, each online dater saves just over $6400. Not too shabby at all!

But, just because it's more acceptable, easier, and less expensive for people to meet online doesn't mean more US citizens are using dating sites to meet marriage partners. According to the Pew Research Center, only 51% of Americans were married in 2011 – a significant drop from the 72% who were married in 1960 – and the numbers are continuing to decline.

ConvergEx suggests that the trend could be in reaction to the high divorce rates seen throughout the 1970s and 80s. “Seeing their parents and/or friends’ parents go through a divorce has made today’s young people more cautious when it comes to finding a mate,” they say.

Many more of today's young people are putting their careers had of relationships, making them less reliant on a spouse for support and possibly also contributing to the decline in marriage. Marriage rates are reportedly also dropping faster among people with less education. "Declining marriage rates among those with lower levels of educational attainment is a warning sign that is worth watching," says ConvergEx, "especially if the trend continues."