How Much Do You Spend on a First Date? If You Met on Tinder, Probably Not Much

dating on tinder

Newsflash: Online dating sucks.

Actually that’s not really a newsflash; anyone who’s scrolled and swiped their way through one of the many dating sites or apps probably already knows that.

Thanks to a recent study from RetailMeNot, I now have even more reason to avoid the online dating scene.

People who meet online tend to spend way less on first dates than those who meet in real life.

How Much People Spend on First Dates

My friends and I have a basic rule for online dating: Only commit to drinks on the first date.

Since there’s a decent chance the person will creep you out or bore you to death, you don’t want to waste your time or money going to a nice dinner.

Based on RetailMeNot’s findings, it looks like most people agree.

Here’s the average amount a person spends on a first date when they meet through:

  • Mobile dating apps (e.g., Tinder or Bumble): $19.20
  • Mutual friends apps (e.g., Hinge): $23
  • Online dating sites (e.g., $24.30
  • A social setting (e.g., a bar): $35.20
  • Work: $44.40
  • Mutual friends or relatives: $46.10

People who meet their date at a bar spend nearly twice as much as those who meet on Tinder? Who knew meeting at a bar was so classy!?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not some bougie chick who needs to be taken to Ruth’s Chris on a first date.

The monetary amount isn’t what matters; my time is.

And I think these numbers reflect the seriousness with which people approach relationships on certain platforms.

I’m not interested in a fling, so this study confirms what I already knew: I’m probably better off meeting guys in real life than through a screen.

There are, of course, always exceptions — but if you’re serious about finding love, it might be time to put down your phone and finally go out with that “nice young man” your mom keeps bugging you about.

Your Turn: Do these numbers surprise you at all? Do you spend more or less on a first date, depending where you met the person?

Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.

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