Is He Cheap Or Just Broke?

September 11th, 2016

Dating & Finances, NEW!


Name: Victoria
Question: Hi there,I have an interesting predicament. I’ve been dating a guy for a few months now, and we have probably been out on a total of 5 or 6 dates or so. We have many things in common, we talk for hours and really enjoy each other’s company. However, I have noticed that there seems to be an issue as far as dates and finances go. The last time we went to a movie, he paid for his movie ticket and I had to pay for my own, while he mumbled something about his budget. I was pretty furious. Then, tonight, I’d gone to his house where we had planned to ride our bikes on the beach. I brought a bike pump to put air in my tires, but he wanted to use his new bike pump. I let him. He wound up popping the tube and tire. We took my bike to the bike shop, and then we drove to Walmart, because he felt it would be cheaper to buy the supplies there. Ok, fair enough. The difference in cost ended up being less than $5. I didn’t hold that against him. Then, when the guy at the bike shop told him it would be $15, he turned to me and asked me if I had my wallet. Um, excuse me, but HE broke my bike and he should fix it. Isn’t it rude to expect ME to pay for something HE broke?! I had legitimately left my wallet at his house, however, so he wound up getting a ticket to pick it up later. Because our plans for bike riding were nixed, we decided to walk around near the beach. He had mentioned to me about an hour earlier that he was hungry and hadn’t eaten all day. When I told him I was hungry and we should go eat, he agreed and suggested an Italian place. We were seated, and I proceeded to order. He proceeded to tell the waitress he wouldn’t be having anything. I was shocked, and irritated. I told him it was socially awkward for me to be eating in front of him, especially when I knew he was hungry, and he said he didn’t bring his ATM card. I insisted I would not be eating in front of him, canceled my order, and we left. When we got to the car, he told me he didn’t want me to be mad at him and he would walk home. He then tried to give me the ticket to pick up my bike, to which I said, oh no. No, no. He then said something about being on a budget, and he didn’t understand why I was making such a big deal about things, etc. etc. I was pissed, because it totally ruined our date. I happen to know he does have some credit card debt which he is probably responsibly paying off, but I know he has a decent paying job, lives in a very nice house near a marina, and does spend no small amount of money on things he wants, such as an expensive beach cruiser he recently bought. I have never run into this issue before, and I frankly don’t know what to do. I don’t run into men that I’d consider dating long term very often, so I’m reluctant to cut my losses, but I have to say my first instinct was to drop him like a hot tamale. What should I do?!
Age: 30



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29 Responses to “Is He Cheap Or Just Broke?”

  1. JayD Says:

    The only person I feel bad for is the waitress at the Italian restaurant. Water seeks its own level. Drama vs. drama.

    • JayD Says:

      What the what? You people don’t feel bad for the waitress who got them seated, waited on them, took their order, and then had to cancel the order with the chef who probably did not take it kindly, and all for naught because the drama queen/king had their episode. I think I am losing my faith in humanity.

  2. HerGuyFriday Says:

    Sit down with him and have a mature conversation about money and expectations. Maybe he feels like you are using him and is resentful. Do you ever offer to pay for anything?

  3. Noquay Says:

    He’s broke. BTW, you don’t stick with someone like this just because you meet few men you want to date. If his behavior is a problem, choose to be alone, look elsewhere, consider moving elsewhere where there are men more in line with your values.

  4. Mark Says:


    Does it matter if he is broke or cheap?


    If he is broke he will still engage in the same pattern of behavior. You cited several examples. Each one bothers you.

    If he is cheap (not frugal nor parsimonious…but cheap) he still displays a pattern of behavior. Each of which bothers you. Not just quirky, but downright bothersome so you.

    Net result—same result.

    For whatever reason you do not find this behavior appealing. In fact, you find it downright unattractive. If he is broke, then why would you be inclined to believe that this would change in the future? If he is overly tight with spending, the same issue. Why would you believe this would change? Further, would you likely be accepting of this if you were to continue seeing him as you are now?

    Didn’t think so.

    You basically answered your own question by the way you framed the letter.

    Best of luck and hope you make the right choice.

    • Ruth Says:

      I have found that cheap on a financial level equals cheap on a emotional level. Cut your losses and move on to someone better.

  5. Speed Says:

    “He has a decent paying job, lives in a very nice house near a marina, and does spend no small amount of money on things he wants, such as an expensive beach cruiser” –OP

    The guy is obviously not broke then. Yet he doesn’t want to spend trivial amounts of money ($10-$20) on the woman he’s dating. Assuming the OP’s report is accurate, the guy is a spendthrift on himself and a ridiculously blatant miser with others.

    In my experience, these kinds of people are absolutely terrible, because they lack any sense of reciprocity, generosity or empathy. Although their personal treasure coffers are overflowing, they don’t want to be “conned” or “taken advantage of” by covering a tiny expense for a lover or even family member. Moreover, they are either suspicious of people who treat them, or feel entitled to being treated without the need for any reciprocity at all. I almost want to label it a personality disorder of some kind.

    If the OP stays with this person, she will be in for a very bad ride, trust me. She’d almost be better off with a true, full-on spendthrift. At least they are more positive, outgoing and up for doing things.

    • Mark Says:

      Just because he has a decent paying job and expensive toys doesn’t mean he is well off. If sending habits more than earnings and investments, he could still be in financial difficulty.

      • Brad Says:

        Then maybe he should date his beach cruiser? Cut bait with this chump. I’d rob a bank before I broke someone’s property and insist they pay for it. His priorities are wacked-out.

  6. Bethany Says:

    Sounds like he’s not only cheap, but socially awkward. If he wasn’t going to eat at the restaurant, why wouldn’t he suggest cooking dinner at his place or something? And to pop your tire and not offer to pay for it is incredibly inconsiderate.

  7. Selena Says:

    Having known people who blow through their paycheck not long after cashing it…I think it’s possible he could be both broke and cheap. It sounds like he spends his money on things that matter to him (the home at the marina, credit card debt for past indulgences, toys like a beach cruiser) then finds himself on a very tight budget until the next payday. Too tight for 2 movie tickets? Too tight to order food in a restaurant? If he was truly broke why is he inviting you to these places? It’s odd.

    The question you need to be asking yourself is do you enjoy this person’s company enough to adapt to his spending habits for the foreseeable future? If you can, carry on. If it’s going to continue to irk and frustrate you…might as well end it now.

  8. ATWYSingle Says:

    Okay, so, let’s break this saga down:

    *5 or 6 dates in “a few months”
    *Breaks your bike and doesn’t offer to fix it.
    *Appears to have enough expendable cash to buy and do other things that don’t involve you.

    No man or woman who was genuinely interested in dating someone would behave like this. They would know how actions such as these would reflect poorly on them.

    This guy’s interest in you is moderate to non-existent, so all the Monday Morning Quarterbacking is a waste of time.

    • Yvonne Says:

      This jumped out at me too. If I was really into someone, I’d know whether or not we’d had 5 dates or 6, and yes, over the course of “a few” months, that is maybe a couple of dates per month. I’m not getting why a 30 year old woman feels like her options are so limited.

    • Ben Iyyar Says:

      I believe the guy has money to spend on dates, but it seems that he does not want to spend his cash on this lady. Perhaps he feels that while she is worth dating she’s just not worth dating very much!

  9. mamajuju Says:

    Drop him. He’s playing games to make you pay for dates. And expecting you to pay for something he broke is just tacky.

  10. Bostonette Says:


  11. xyzed Says:

    Drop him ASAP… I know you are giving him the benefit and trying to make this work but trust me you are wasting your time. I recently got out of a 1yr relationship where the woman I was dating always dressed in expensive designer clothing but always had a difficult time opening her designer pocket for a few dollars. Sitting down with her did not make a difference. Cut your losses NOW and run like Forrest Gump!

  12. mxf Says:

    At first it seemed like this guy is just stingy, but then:

    1. I had legitimately left my wallet at his house

    2. When I told him I was hungry and we should go eat, he agreed and suggested an Italian place

    3. he said he didn’t bring his ATM card

    So, you BOTH left his house without the means to pay for anything? How ridiculous. It’s like two adults playing not-paying chicken. But since you established first that you didn’t have your wallet, I think it was pretty rude to then ask to go get food.

    He may be cheap (and owe you a new bike tire), but he also sounds like he’s fending off your attempts to force him to pay for things, which could reflect on you as well as him. After 6 dates, the fact that you can’t decide together how to split the funding of your dates in a way that respects both your budgets is also kind of nuts. It seems like you aren’t into each other enough to figure it out.

    • Selena Says:

      Good catch mxf.

      She leaves her wallet at his place, and he doesn’t bring his ATM card. Sounds like neither person wanted to pay anything on this “date”.

      I get that she’s pissed, but it is kind of funny that her attempt to get him to pay for a meal backfired. :)

  13. Parenting Says:

    You’re both cheap. Move on.

    This guy’s cheapness would drive me nuts, but it would drive me nuts if someone picked a fight with me over $15 bike repair. Who cares who broke it? Pay the bill and dump him.

  14. ATWYSingle Says:

    I happen to know he does have some credit card debt which he is probably responsibly paying off, but I know he has a decent paying job, lives in a very nice house near a marina, and does spend no small amount of money on things he wants, such as an expensive beach cruiser he recently bought.

    Just curious…how do you know any of this? How do you know if he has debt? How do you know how much he makes. I find this guy’s behavior completely distasteful and tacky, but I can not CAN NOT stand people who count other people’s pennies. You have no idea what his debt level is or how much he makes. You are not privvy to his finances. You are not entitled to ANYTHING regardless of whether this guy works a minimum wage job or whether he’s a brain surgeon.

    Anybody who offers any information about their finances to a near stranger is either an idiot or a con artist.

    • BTownGirl Says:

      Amen. I once stopped going to a damn good hairstylist over this type of thing. You know how intrusive/annoying the questions have to be to put your hair in potential jeopardy?! Terrible.

    • JayD Says:

      It takes two to tangle. Drama people are what drama people do.

  15. Drea Says:

    You don’t meet often enough for the relationship to progress at a normal speed. He is not that interested so he’s not investing time or money.
    You are making a lot of assumptions about his finances…and a lot of calculations. It’s in bad taste. I suggest you let it go and move on.

  16. Fyodor Says:

    “The last time we went to a movie, he paid for his movie ticket and I had to pay for my own, while he mumbled something about his budget. I was pretty furious.”

    You were furious over this? That seems pretty entitled.

    I think it’s curious also that you had to pick a fight over him not eating, flip out, and leave the restaurant.

    • Yvonne Says:

      He said he was hungry and hadn’t eaten all day, suggests an Italian restaurant, but once there, he refuses to order food because he didn’t bring any cash, ATM card or credit cards. Was he expecting her to buy his meal? I would feel uncomfortable and annoyed about eating in front of him too. Are these too even dating? Sounds more like “just friends” to me.

      • K Says:

        Good question! How does she even know they are dating vs. just friends or a casual hook up and hang sometimes. I know not everyone follows the guy-asks-you-out-pays model on here, but often that’s one way I know it’s a date if I meet a guy in an ambiguous setting like work or through friends. Maybe he paid on an earlier date or two. If things were otherwise good, I felt courted on the earlier dates, I would just pay for his meal if he forgot his card (or in general), but clearly if he’s nickel/diming me all the the time I’d just end it. The driving around to save $5 would just show me we aren’t alike in how we value our time and money.

  17. Bree Says:

    He’s CHEAP and you are PETTY.

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