How Inflation Has Changed Dating


Life in 2024 looks much different than it did in the late 2010s. Everything has become much more expensive, and your dollars don’t take you as far as they once did. It’s called inflation, and it happens to be the biggest problem facing most Americans at the current moment.

In these economic conditions, many are focusing on the essentials. What are they? Well, people need to eat. People need to gas up their cars to get to work. They need to clothe themselves. And they must pay their rent or mortgage to keep a roof over their heads.

So, in this faltering economy, some single people are forgoing the cost of keeping their dating apps or planning extravagant first date ideas to impress prospective partners. In short, many people are cutting back on love and romance, which is shifting the dating landscape, especially for those who have been hit the hardest by inflation.

The Increased Cost of Goods and Services

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there have been dramatic increases in the cost of dating-specific activities that are driving many singles to reevaluate what’s important to them. The BLS has found a bump in prices that began in 2021, and the dollar amounts continue to increase yearly.

Consumer Expenditure Report

Activity Avg. Cost in 2020 Avg. Cost in 2021
Eating Out $2,375 $3,030
Having Drinks $478 $554
Entertainment $2,909 $3,568
Personal Care $646 $771
Apparel $1,434 $1,754
Gas $1,568 $2,148

As you can see, the prices are up in all major categories. So, what kind of impact does this have on single Americans looking for love?

How Inflation Has Affected the Cost of Dating Apps


As the price of gas, groceries, and other goods or services has been going up since 2021, the current state of the economy has also had a profound effect on the dating app market. They’re more expensive now than they’ve ever been and, unfortunately, this means that many people have been making some cuts here to balance their budgets, be it dropping the service altogether or becoming more frugal with how much they spend on dates.

Before we get into more of these specifics, we encourage you to do some research yourself to discover how much dating apps cost in general. Learn how to work one of these into your budget and still find dates or someone special despite the current economic challenges.

Less Frequent Dates

With inflation being an ever-present thorn in the side of the American consumer, a 2022 study by CouponFollow suggests that 41% of single people are going out on fewer dates. And there’s a decrease of 20% in the number of dates that singles have experienced lately.

So, the cost of dating apps is up due to inflation. And because going out on dates costs money, too, 41% of users are reporting fewer dates IRL with their matches. Well, it’s no wonder because there’s financial pressure on all sides right now to pay more money for the same product you had just a few years back. It’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You essentially have consumers paying inflated prices for a service that’s not getting them the results it once did. And it’s not even the dating apps that are at fault here for the lackluster results. It’s inflation. It’s the cost of goods being up across the board. To be profitable, dating apps had to raise their prices. But so did the businesses in other areas of the economy, like bars, restaurants, and entertainment.

How Much Do Dating App Users Spend on Dates?


In your best-case scenario, you spend more money than usual to use Tinder or Bumble and find someone special. And the relationship begins to flourish. You end up going out on a lot of dates every month. Sounds good, right? Ah, not so fast. There’s inflation, remember? That’s going to cost you.

We consulted a 2022 Statista study which showed how much dating app members spend on dates each month. The people still going out on dates are paying some major coin. It seems there’s a high price to be paid for happiness.

When you see how much people are paying for Tinder or Bumbles, combined with how much you spend on the dates themselves, it’s no wonder people have been scaling back in this area. For many, it’s a lot of rigamarole when it could be done in a much more thoughtful, less costly way.

A Shift in Priorities


We’ve been seeing that singles folks are lowering their standards to keep pursuing love or romance amid inflation. And they’re getting creative with first date ideas, the goal being to maintain their budget while still impressing their partner and keeping them interested in continuing the relationship.

Lower Standards in Dating Rituals

CouponFollow found that couples have been resorting to cheaper date options to keep the sparks of love and romance stoked.

With inflation on the rise, the coffee date tops the list as the most common option that singles are turning to as their dollars continue to lose value. This is followed by enjoying a movie at home and going to a fast-food restaurant. Singles in today’s inflation-riddled world are trading up Ruth’s Chris Steak House for Burger King. They’re forgoing the theaters and kicking back with some Netflix.

Lower Standards with Your Ideal Match

Let’s be honest. Some people date because they’re interested in finding someone to care for them financially.

Some people want to find someone who can help them achieve an expensive, lavish lifestyle. Other people aren’t interested in living in the lap of luxury, but they like the idea of someone providing for them. And this isn’t inherently wrong, but it can be dysfunctional if what your partner can provide is more important than the actual relationship itself.

In today’s economy, singles like these (the providers and the pampered alike) need to reevaluate their motives for dating because it’s getting harder to find single men or women who can cover all the basic living necessities and still have enough left over for the pampering, the expensive trips, the eating out every night, and the like. And those who can’t acclimate to these new economic conditions by dropping their high or unrealistic standards (based on materialism most of the time) will likely find themselves lonely and wondering why no one is interested in dating them.

It’s incredible how much can change in certain relationships when you take wealth and extravagance out of the equation. If we continue to see the strong economic headwinds persist, we might see people having to actually develop real relationships (gasp).