I’m a massive fan of online dating. If it seems sketchy to you, it’s not. Although my friend did get kidnapped once . . . More on that later.

It is a wise financial decision to interact a few times, properly, before meeting your date for the first time. Seriously!The Internet has evolved to the point where people’s personalities really shine through.

I’ve met tons of people first online and later in person. You know what? Everyone has turned out exactly as I expected.

Why do I love online dating so much?

Largely because it’s a fantastic way to save time and money. With online dating, there’s a huge selection of partners to be found where a valuable vetting process can take place without physically meeting.

If dating is a numbers game, there’s no better resource than the internet.

Most online dating sites and apps show you what a person looks like, the contours of their personality through how they answer questions, and how serious (or not serious) they want the relationship to be.

And the best part is that there are some really good free dating sites and apps out there. Let technology help keep you from bad dates.

The not-so-official process goes pretty much like this: You start messaging each other; you talk on the phone; maybe do Skype or FaceTime; and then meet in real life.

I give it a minimum of one week before agreeing to meet in person. At that point, you can be confident it’s worth your time and money to go on a date. The only bad online date I went on was when I rushed this process.

Give it some time. Normally, when we meet in person, the transition between online and offline is pretty seamless.

The money aspect of online dating is simple: You don’t waste money going on a date with people with whom you didn’t click.

Going on blind dates or taking someone you barely know on a date … talk about a potential money waster. And this applies to both girls and guys. It’s the 21st century, gone is the assumption that the guy always pays.

The guy could pay, the girl could pay (I have yet to go on that date!), both guys could split the bill, both girls could split the bill … whatever the arrangement may be.

At this point, you may think I’m pretty unromantic. After all, I’m talking about money and love all in the same 700-ish words. I get your point.

But taking people on expensive dates without knowing them first? I really don’t feel like blowing $100 every weekend. It’s just bad financial planning.

If I went on a bad date every weekend, that would waste enough money each year to fully fund my Roth IRA. That’s not how I want to manage my money.

I once took out a girl I didn’t know very well. I met her in person and throughout dinner I found myself wondering, Why am I allowing this stranger to charge so much dang sushi to my bill? How is it all disappearing so fast? And now she wants to get ice cream. It’s 9 p.m. — is that too early for a yawn to get me out of this?

After wrapping up the night at a candy shop, I felt like I was donating to charity. I was feeding someone I hardly knew, and there was no personal benefit.

Online dating sites help you save money because they can keep you from going on one bad date after another. Here, you weed people out who aren’t your type.

Every dating site also has questions about personal finances. That’s extremely helpful as the number one cause of stress in relationships is money-related.

You can tell if your personal money philosophy aligns with theirs before going on a date.

A friend of mine recently told that he likes online dating because both parties feel comfortable with each other more quickly than if they had asked out random people in a bars, at the mall, in class, at hot yoga, or wherever.

Dating sites ask all those deal-breaker questions upfront: “How serious of a relationship do you want? Do you want kids? What’s more exciting for you right now, love or fun?”

My friend went on to say that getting comfortable with each other first means that you can hang out at each other’s houses sooner. It’s a lot cheaper to have a romantic date at home than to go to a busy restaurant. That’s a good point.

Money aside, though, is online dating safe? Overall, yes. But I do have a friend who was kidnapped while meeting his online date. Quite literally. He decided to do a bit of online dating while in Greece four years ago. But that’s another story for another time. I think dating is safer here in America.

What you need to remember is that online dating saves tons of time and money. When you’re not worried about these, you can focus on more important things.