Life Lesson #18: Understand subscription costs (a Match.com online dating case study)
We all have at least one friend with a severely restricted diet: vegetarian, vegan, gluten intolerant, etc. Sometimes it’s not self-imposed, like a nut or shellfish allergy. Either way, while sometimes a hassle, it’s always important to accommodate their dietary requirements.
The Story: As mentioned in the Candied Orange Peel story, I enjoy cooking. Sometimes I experiment and create something new, and other times I follow a favorite recipe.
A nostalgic recipe from my childhood that my mother used to make was a Swiss-French dish that became popular in the US in the 60’s: cheese fondue. When we were younger, my brothers and I loved dipping the French bread in the hot, melty-gooey cheese sauce.
I thought it would be a fun fall dish to prepare for a girl I was dating. As expected, she not only thought it was delicious, but enjoyed the novelty of eating fondue.
Not long after, when we were curled up on the couch watching TV, she started feeling ill. At first it was a small headache. As the pressure in her temples intensified, she also began experiencing heart palpitations and trouble breathing. This was becoming serious!
I quickly recounted the ingredients I had used to prepare dinner. At first glance, we thought it might have been the beer used in the dish since she was sensitive to alcohol. The recipe only called for 12-ounces, though, and the alcohol would have certainly burned off.
I anxiously rattled off the list of additional ingredients: butter, flour, salt, mustard, cheese, Worcestershire sauce, Accent.
I grabbed the bottle from the cupboard. The front of the label advertised, “Wakes Up Food Flavor.” I then spun it around, staring at the words on the back in surprise: “Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).”
MSG is a flavor enhancer that intensifies the savory flavor of food. According to the Mayo Clinic, however, there can be numerous adverse reactions in certain people, but they are generally mild and short-lived. Other websites provide far more ominous opinions.
The Breakdown: The obvious message here is to know your dinner guests’ allergies and food restrictions. The more obscure lesson, perhaps: understand subscription options and costs.
Had the Accent debacle taken a more tragic turn, I may have found myself looking for a new online dating subscription to Match.com. Match offers numerous membership packages:
- 1-month subscription – $36.99/month
- 3-month subscription – $19.99/month
- 6-month subscription – $18.99/month
- 12-month subscription – $16.99/month
As you can see, these online dating membership rates are structured to incentivize you to at least opt for a 3-month subscription, which is 46% less expensive per month. It also guarantees Match.com 62% more revenue from you. As you move to longer term contracts, the discount becomes less dramatic.
Just as we learned in Number One Stunner, combo deals and bundles aren’t always advantageous. I am uniquely qualified, however, to comment on the perils of online dating. I have a resume filled with a seemingly endless subscription to various online dating sites from my younger days. As a matter of fact, I met my wife, Katie, on Match.com. Accordingly, I would strongly endorse a multi-month contract.
Let’s take a closer look at a 6-month subscription versus month-to-month over the same period of time. Worst case scenario, with a 1-month subscription, you would pay over $220. With a little online coupon searching, you could presumably knock off 25%, bringing the total down to $166.
With a 6-month membership and coupon, the total would only be $85. Furthermore, a 6-month subscription qualifies you for the ‘Match.com Guarantee,’ which provides you with an additional 6-month membership should you not meet somebody special during your initial subscription period. Don’t forget the lessons Extreme Couponing taught us about always reading the fine print first. That ends up being about $7/month for a year. Alternatively, if you ended up with a month-to-month subscription for a full year, you would pay 290% more – an additional $247!
While it’s more economical to avoid an online dating Match.com subscription altogether; just in case you’re having issues with a girlfriend or boyfriend, I’ve included the infamous Cheese Fondue recipe below.