If you've been single for any portion of the past year, you've probably tried a virtual date ahead of the inevitable park walk.
Dating virtually has its pros and cons, but according to new research, it could be saving you up to £3,200 a year.
It's also based on a real-life date costing a pretty hefty £300. This includes £50 for a new outfit, £140 for theatre tickets, £60 for a restaurant meal, £35 for drinks and £15 for a taxi home.
By contrast, the research estimates that a virtual date might set you back £50. This includes £25 for a new top – because your date will only see half of you on Zoom – £6 to watch Hamilton on Disney+, £10 on a supermarket dine-in deal, and the rest on pre-mixed supermarket cocktails.
These figures definitely seem like a lot – after all, there's no reason why a virtual date can't just be enjoying coffee or a glass of wine over Zoom. And most of us would have to be pretty smitten to spend £300 on an IRL date. But even so, they do highlight the potential savings – both in terms of money and our equally precious attention – of dating virtually .
Sarah Neate of Ocean Finance also pointed out that dating virtually has benefits beyond being kinder to your bank balance.
“For one, the lockdown has heightened many singletons’ desires to create a genuine connection and pushed people to act more seriously when looking for love in lockdown," she said. "In our study, we found that 42% of singletons like the fact it’s easier to end a virtual date if it’s not going well."
She added: "So, whilst the mere thought of meeting a date for the first time via video chat may seem scary, it’s worth reminding yourself of the positives. Plus, once upon a time finding a partner via a dating app seemed like a weird concept, but that stigma is far from over. It’s now the norm.”