Is He Judging Her Spending Habits?

Name: Katy
Age: 40
State: NYC
Question: I’ve been dating someone new for about a month. Recently I’ve noticed that he makes a lot of comments about money, how much things costs, etc. For example, I joined him at his apartment one night. I mentioned that I had taken a cab from his place to mine. He suggested that next time I should take the subway because “it’s less expensive.” Over dinner he spoke about where he buys his food and how inexpensive it was to make the meal. We met on OKCupid. On our first date he mentioned that he would never pay for an online dating site. He has never skimped on dates when we go out, paid the bill, etc. We take the subway most times. When we eat together it’s usually at his place. Not in a restaurant. He recently bought his apartment and has been at his job for over two years and appears financially stable and responsible. I can’t tell if he’s fixated on money, having money problems, is cheap or  trying to be helpful. What are your thoughts?

Typically, if comments like this get under your skin, there is a reason. Maybe it’s a past experience with an overly frugal partner or your own personal financial shortcomings. Rarely do these statements stay with or affect us for no reason.

Only recently (in the last 2 years) have I really become more educated on certain financial issues. Financial management has become a huge priority in the wake of my Dad’s surgery and subsequent passing.  His constant question  “What are you going to do when I’m gone?” haunts me. Maybe it was part of my grieving/bargaining process, but I spent a good chunk of the last 2 weeks getting certain things in order and establishing new relationships with financial advisors. So, if a guy made comments like this to me, I’d probably internalize them, too. But that’s about me.

My thoughts about your situation is that none of this should concern you at this point. If he doesn’t like to spend his money on cabs or restaurants, that’s his right. It’s his money. If he just bought an apartment, I’m sure he probably had to invest quite a bit of his earnings or savings to do so. Now, if he begins to deny you things citing the cost, that’s when you have reason to be concerned. If you want to take a taxi and can afford it, take a taxi. If he continues to bring up how cheap the subway is, gently assure him that you understand the cost but sometimes prefer a cab. Or just lie or keep certain things to yourself until more is revealed. Seriously, folks. It’s okay to not be 100% honest all the time. You know who says that people should never lie to their dates? People who barely date or can’t get past the first date.  Honestly, at this point, how you choose to spend the money you work hard to earn is nobody’s business.

Some people just don’t know what’s appropriate to discuss and what isn’t. He might assume that everybody that lives in Manhattan knows how expensive things are and so therefore it’s open for discussion. What you could do is ask him why he makes these comments. You don’t have to be pointed or accusatory. Just start the conversation some night when things are relaxed or the next time he makes a similar comment. Say to him, “It’s sweet that you worry about how much money I spend.” Open the door and let him walk in.  Maybe things are tight for him. Maybe he’s trying to do the best he can with what he has to impress you. Start the conversation if this is something that concerns you.

Even if he is frugal, is that really such a bad thing? I was reading this amusing exchange between two women about why the man should pay for the first date. Guys, you want some Intel about how we dissect your spending habits? Take a look. And that’s the funny thing. We women make comments like this all the time. Maybe not to the man’s face, of course. But many of us scrutinize how a man spends his money.

Look, if you want a tropical vacation or expensive dinners or to be wooed at some uppity bar, pay for that stuff yourself. There’s no rule that says he has to do it for you. If things like that are important, then why don’t you bring them to the table? Don’t get stuck on antiquated rules about what a man should or shouldn’t do. We ladies want the freedom to do what we please without judgment. Why can’t men be afforded the same right?

Ooh..disclaimer time, kids! Here’s the skinny. Just because I link to a blog in a post doesn’t mean I’m “attacking” the blogger. As you can see, there was nothing negative said about the blogger. I’d be more than happy to leave my assessment of what they make public on the internet in the form of a comment on their blog.  But since that doesn’t appear to work for many of them, I’ll be writing it here. Should anybody take issue with that, feel free to contact Management or file your Butt Hurt Complaint Form.

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26 Responses to “Is He Judging Her Spending Habits?”

  1. nathan Says:

    Moxie’s right on here. In fact, even though I don’t support the idea of lying to your dates, I think it’s wise to not reveal everything early on. The funny thing about financial nitpicking on the first few dates is that it assumes a level of intimacy that just isn’t there. You don’t know each other. You have no idea why someone is opting out of blowing money on expensive dinners or drinks. Or why they are focused on saving money.

    If the only issue with someone you are on a date with is that they aren’t willing to pay the whole bill, or aren’t interested in doing something fancy and expensive, I’d say that’s pretty tiny in the grand scheme.

    • Howard Says:

      “Now, if he begins to deny you things citing the cost, that’s when you have reason to be concerned.”

      I was doing really well reading Moxie’s comments until I got to that line. It really bothers me. Could I imagine a world where a guy gives a guy advice like that?

      “If she begins to deny you things citing the cost,…….”

      I am so tired off these outmoded gender hypocrisies. For crying out aloud, the guy is spending money on her, and she she still got issues. She is just as money fixated. If she had ponied up financially for a date instead of wasting money on the cab ride over, we would have some progress. Maybe that’s where he is headed. After a month, she should be contributing financially to dates.

      • nathan Says:

        Looking at that line again, I have wonder what Moxie means by “deny”. The word bothers me as well. It implies not only that he owes her something, but also points to him having a certain power over the relationship financials. Which doesn’t make any sense. They’ve been dating a month. They aren’t married and fighting over the use of the shared disposable income.

      • Trouble Says:

        I think Moxie means something along these lines, in a dating relationship at this point:

        Telling her that she shouldn’t take a cab, if it’s her money she’s spending and she prefers a cab to the subway.
        Telling her that she shouldn’t be spending money on _______.
        Telling her that they can’t do something together that she is willing to pay for or split.

        At this point in a relationship, you’d be surprised how many guys can be kind of controlling about what the woman does when it doesn’t fit with his personal choices.

        I’ve had guys tell me what color toenail polish they wanted me to wear, how I should dress, what I should eat, how often I should exercise, and how I should spend my money, all relatively early in dating them. It’s crazy for anyone to be attempting to exert control like that a month after meeting you, and that’s why I kicked them to the curb.

        • nathan Says:

          I have rejected women for similar behavior. I totally agree with you that no one should put up with that kind of stuff. But at that early of a stage in the relationship, you still have the maximum level of control over your responses to such attempts at controlling. There aren’t major entanglements, like shared debt or possessions to deal with. After a month, the other person shouldn’t be in a position to deny anything. And if he or she is, it’s probably because you allowed it.

      • Kristen Says:

        I agree with Trouble. The wording might be a little misleading, but I think Moxie meant that if he is denying her with HER money, not that he is denying her with HIS money.

  2. trouble Says:

    I definitely prefer a frugal guy to a guy who spends more than he makes. If it bothers you, just tell him that sometimes you prefer a cab for safety reasons or whatever. But, it would also to see if he is able to compromise or splurge occasionally, as well. I would not want to be with someone who could never be flexible.

    • trouble Says:

      Also…old fashiined girls have sex on the third date? Lolololololol. Yes, that is truly an old-fashioned standard.

  3. Selena Says:

    My guess is buying the apartment has made him more aware of how he spends money elsewhere. There are costs incurred in ownership that aren’t apparent in renting -taxes, insurance, repairs, replacement of appliances, monthly maintenance fees and periodic assessments for repair of the building to name a few . He may have spent most of his savings on the downpayment and is trying to rebuild a cushion by being frugal with transportation, shopping and restaurant outings.

    I don’t get the sense he’s judging your spending habits – more that he’s telling you this is how he lives. Why does this bother you? Do you feel discussing money/expenditures is crass? Would you rather he take you to a restaurant than cook for you in his home? Pay cab fare when you go out, rather than take the subway? If you would prefer a more extravagant kind of guy, really that’s on you.

  4. Selena Says:

    About the conversation you linked to…seems obvious these two women would go out with a guy who didn’t pay (and perhaps go home with him) as long as he was “hot”. That’s their criteria.

  5. Mike Says:

    The guy is sharing a little about himself by sharing how he likes to spend his money. I always pay for the first date and almost always the second (which is probably dumb but what every woman seems to expect). It is still insane to me that women will judge me if I didn’t? Its true – I don’t even really know her yet. Why shouldn’t she expect and ask to split the bill? Just seems crazy to me still in this day and age.

    • Selena Says:

      “Why shouldn’t she expect and ask to split the bill?”

      Because you were the one who asked her to spend her time with you, doing what you want to do, at the venue of your choosing. Seems crazy to me she should be expected to pay for that ‘privilege’.

      • The D-man Says:

        Give it a rest. Going on a date with a woman is not a privilege. It’s a mutually agreed outing. Would you insist your (platonic) friend pays if she asked you to happy hour?

        I always pay too, but that’s because I know many women are overly judgmental about this, not because they’re right.

        • Selena Says:

          When you invite someone for dinner at your home do you present them with a bill when they are ready to leave? Itemizing the costs of the time you spent developing a menu, shopping for the ingredients, preparing and cooking, as well as the cost of the food, transportation to store(s) and back, plus wages and standard-to-generous tip for the server (that being you )?

          I’ll venture most people would think it terribly rude to ask someone they invited to dinner at their home – friend or date – to pay for that ‘privilege. Why is inviting someone to dinner at a restaurant different?

          • The D-man Says:

            Yawn. More self-justification. The question was not about inviting someone to my home, it was about going out somewhere together, each not knowing the other very well.

            And if I invited them to a potluck at my home I would expect them to bring a dish.

            Hell, if someone invites me to their home I usually at least pick up a bottle of wine, even if they don’t ask me to.

            • Selena Says:

              Yawn. More self-justification. If you are inviting someone you don’t know very well out, why should you expect them to pay to join you?

              Have you never hosted a dinner that wasn’t a ‘potluck’?

              Yes, if someone invites you to their home for dinner (not a potluck)…bringing wine is considered good manners.

              • The D-man Says:

                I wouldn’t expect someone to accept my invitation if the only reason is for a free meal. Men are expected to ask women out, not the other way around. Why? Who knows? The point is that social conventions are just conventions. They don’t come from reason.

                • Selena Says:

                  I wouldn’t expect someone to accept an invitation if the only reason is for a free meal either. The invitation should be offered and accepted based on enjoying each other’s company. Whether in one’s home or a restaurant.

                  In the above OP, Katy stated ” He has never skimped on dates when we go out, paid the bill, etc.” Splitting a restaurant bill is not the issue here.

  6. M Says:

    Yes, its true that he may have spent a lot on his apartment (condo?), more than he thought he had to, and he is doing this to compensate. Totally possible. Maybe he recently moved here from somewhere else and is constantly getting sticker shock every time he sees a price for something. With that said, I kind of hate to say this, but I think he is cheap. I thin he might look at her, look at her spending habits and think “If I end up with this girl, she’s going to be doing that with my money” and he’s not happy about that. Does it mean that he’s averse to spending money? Not necessarily – see the first few lines of this comment. However, he could be concerned about it.

  7. mari Says:

    I would assess whether he is ever generous to himself. Does he ever splurge (not crazy way over his budget splurge) but a cab in the rain, another drink, a spur of the moment something. If everything is very thought out and very measured to the point of deprivation it will effect his whole life. Frankly he sounds annoyingly frugal (but definitely bring my prior experience to the table). If this is how you are too, that works, but if you are more generous to yourself (which is what is sounds like), in the long run this could be a major issue. As for paying for dates, at this point, I feel you should be paying for every other date (or bring the bottle of wine to the dinner at his house).

    • Selena Says:

      She could treat him to a restaurant (and pay the cab ride there) in appreciation of the meals he’s cooked for her. It’s called reciprocation.

  8. Kay Says:

    It okay to be frugal, but projecting your frugality onto others, especially someone you’ve been dating for just ONE month, is rude. Someone mentioned it already, money and finances are intimate, too intimate to discuss within the first month. People invest in different things, some in a home, others in their wardrobe and others on experiences. There’s nothing wrong with eating in but who doesn’t know the subway cost less than a cab? It’s one thing if you’re aware of a person’s financial situation and/or they ask for help or suggestions, It’s quite another when you give unrequested advice.

    Receiving unsolicited advice can sometimes feel like you’re being judged. However, I don’t think he’s judging, he’s merely showing her how he is, frugal and/or financially savvy (this is good, now she knows more about him). But he certainly can’t expect her to be the same.

  9. LostSailor Says:

    Some people just don’t know what’s appropriate to discuss and what isn’t

    Maybe yes, maybe no.

    While I don’t think he’s necessarily judging her spending habits, frequently commenting on how much things cost, how cheap the food was to buy, etc. sets off a number of warning bells, at least for me. Dating for a month? You wouldn’t catch me discussing finances until much later in a relationship.

    If it was only an occasional comment, that would be one thing, but since it bothered Katy enough to write in about it, I’m gonna guess it’s set off some warning bells with her as well. Have the conversation. I think there’s more going on here…

  10. offensivedan Says:

    Okay, OP. Listen. I had this really cheap friend who we called “cheap-o-pottamus” and referred to as the cheapest man in the Southeast. We are no longer friends due to, partially, his chepaskate ways. When you need to start worrying is if this guy takes advantage of your goodwill. For example, you start to pay his way or you provide freebies,such as sports tickets, without any reciprocation. Then you know that, not only is he cheapr, but he is a “taker.” You will start to feel resentful and feel taking advantage of.

    Now, I will say this. I disagree with Moxie. I can tell this guy’s comments and views on $ are starting to bother you or at least cause you pause and you guys are just in the beginning of a relationship. Unless you truly feel the same way and have the same views on money it will not work. Save yourself the trouble and find yourself someone less stingy and who has the same view about money as you. I’m going to predict that this relationship is DOA.

    In any event, this is a good example of women’s thinking when it comes to $. And no, I don’t think the OP is a golddigger unlike the vast majority of U.S. women.

  11. Mark Says:

    This is a toss up. On one hand you noted that he hasn’t skimped when it it comes to going out on dates with you. On the other hand you seem bothered by him suggesting things like taking the bus vs a taxi and eating in vs eating out.

    Monitoring ones saving and spending habits is a great thing, it’s a matter of financial solvency. What is frugal to one person might be seen as stingy to another. But it seems that you two seem to have very different notions of what is appropriate with respect to spending habits and possibly money in general. Financial disagreements are nearly always near the top of problems that couples have in relationships.

    Give him some credit here. Because it seems that what you see is probably what you will get if your relationship goes any farther. There might be some wiggle room involved but at least on this issue, you know who he is and vice versa. If you accept that, then there can be no real complaint on your end. If you find his attitude towards money/spending is something that you don’t feel comfortable with, then go no further.

  12. Mark Says:

    I imagine a scenario where one partner in a relationship could be rightfully concerned with the expending habits of the other partner. Let’s say that this fellow and this woman kept the relationship for several years and then divorce a common-law marriage. All the financial gains during the relationship would be equally divided.

    Under these circumstances, it would be clear that one of the partners would consider betrayed. Being frugal, investing, saving while the other was just spending, shopping..:) seems out of balance.

    Of course, if the woman were rich and contribute equally or more to the financial gains of the partnership, then this wouldn’t matter.

    I would expect that financial equality is not common place. Most women mention shopping as a pastime, something you do to feel better about yourself…. Most men would consider saving and investing more enjoyable.

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