If you’re looking for love in the new year, here are things to consider before paying for a dating app

Personal finance

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January can set the stage for new beginnings, with many single people setting a resolution to look for love.

In fact, dating apps see the highest rate of activity at this time of year.

There are 11.4 million more messages sent globally from January 1st to February 14th — Valentine’s Day — compared to the rest of the year. Similarly, 58.7 million more likes are sent during this period, according to global internal data from dating app Tinder.

“Everyone is back from the holidays with fresh New Year’s resolutions whether to find love, make more connections, or to put themselves out there in the New Year,” said Blaine Anderson, a dating coach for men in Austin, Texas.

“Dating Sunday,” or the first Sunday in January, is referred to as “the busiest day for online dating,” said Sheldon Bachan, senior brand communications manager at Tinder.

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Like many other New Year’s resolutions, getting back on dating apps often requires a financial commitment. Some 35% of Americans who have used a dating website or app have paid to do so at some point, according to a recent report by Pew Research Center.

The average paying dating app user spends about $19 a month, Morgan Stanley found last year. But some users pay much more. In 2023, Tinder released a $499 monthly subscription while Hinge also introduced a $600-a-month membership.

3 things to consider before paying for a dating app

If you’re hunting for love in the new year, here are three things to be mindful of before you pay for a dating app:

1. Ask yourself if you are ready. If you haven’t made any changes into your life, paying for an app may not help: You’re likely to get the same results that you had before, said Anderson. “Do you have a job that allows you to have more time to date? Do you have the financial means to take people on dates or subscribe to dating apps?…are you mentally prepared to integrate your life with somebody else’s?” she said.

2. App costs add to the already high expense of dating: Make sure your budget is prepared to weather the cost of the app as well as the resulting dates. The average cost of a full dinner and a movie across major cities in the U.S. can cost around $159, according to a 2023 analysis by MoneyGeek. A 2020 report by LendingTree shows that Americans spend nearly $700 on dates annually.

3. Paying for apps does not guarantee a match: While paying app subscriptions may come off as an investment into your dating life, users must understand that “the most important thing for online dating is to have a standout profile,” said Anderson. Simply paying for apps won’t immediately change your prospects. Instead, edit your profile and get a second opinion from trusted peers or dating experts.

“It’s not your fault, you didn’t learn this in school,” said Anderson, “We’re not meant to think in 160 characters or a little box of text to describe ourselves.”

CNBC reporter Annie Nova contributed reporting.

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