THE TRUE COST OF FINDING LOVE
If you are single and looking for someone special to share your life with, you can go on dates until you find “the one”, or, if you want to speed up the dating process, you can find love through online dating websites or even agencies that specialise in matching up singles. But how much does it cost the average person to go through this courtship phase before they get engaged, married and start on those 2.5 kids in a house with that white picket fence?
There are a plethora of online dating sites to choose from in South Africa.
If you don’t feel like heading to the nearest bar, you can meet other singles in your area who like the same stuff you do with the click of a mouse.
Free dating sites in South Africa include LetsMeet, Singles2Meet, DateCorner and LoveAwake. However, there are a lot of dating sites that do charge fees. Sites such as Thunderbolt City, EliteSingles and DatingBuzz have free basic subscriptions.
However, they lure you in by allowing you to upload your photos, search for matches and receive messages from others. But if you want to reply to a message or upgrade from simply being able to send smiles, likes or one liners, you usually have to pay for the pleasure.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it’s best to find out how much it will cost you before you whip out your credit card. Generally, the longer you sign up for a dating site, the greater the discount.
Thunderbolt City and DatingBuzz, for example, charge users R99.95 a month for 12 months, but the fee jumps to R179.95 a month if you only sign up for a month.
Also watch out for automated rebilling. With certain dating sites, if you don’t cancel your subscription, you will be charged again automatically.
It’s easy to forget this and end up paying hundreds of rands for a service you’re no longer using.
There’s a way around this though – simply cancel your subscription as soon as you’ve joined. You can always renew it if you are happy with the service.
Dating agencies are another possibility, but can be more costly than online dating. National dating agency Corporate Dating, for example, which is headquartered in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal, charges clients a one-off fee of R4 500.
Fiona Dorse, the owner of Corporate Dating, says: “I charge a one-off fee, but some of my competitors charge a fee like this yearly, which I don’t find fair as you could meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with on the first date. I once had a client who took over seven years to find the person she married.
“I charge a fee like this because I want to make sure that my clients are serious about finding someone. I want them to be emotionally and financially stable.
“Financial issues are, after all, one of the top reasons for divorce.”
She warns singles to be vigilant when using online dating sites.
“Some people worry about the stigma [of using agencies], but then use dating sites and open themselves up to fraudsters, married people or people who are just after a quick sexual fling.
“With my company, you shouldn’t run into trouble as clients agree to allow me to do criminal background checks using their ID numbers.”
– Angelique Ruzicka