Being Genuine with Money When Dating

by TTMK on August 2, 2012 · 13 comments

When people are dating, the early stages are frequently not the most genuine.  Let’s get real, people are on their best behavior and often trying to either impress the other person, or at the very least not send them running away!

I’m convinced that not everyone is totally genuine when it comes to money and relationships in the early stages of dating.  Let’s take two examples, which are admittedly stereotyped (and the reverse can be true in each, full disclaimer), but let’s go with them:

  1. A man might be interested in impressing a woman he really likes by taking her for an expensive dinner or event, or by purchasing gifts for her.  He wants to show her that he can take care of her, that he has resources, and that he’s a catch.  He thinks that he has to spend money to get her hooked on him. He doesn’t want to appear stingy, as that might be a turnoff.
  2. A woman might be interested in impressing a man she really likes by not acting like she cares about what kind of job he has, what car he drives, what career potential he has, etc. She wants to seem like she isn’t overly interested in his finances, so she doesn’t appear to be a gold digger.  Clearly, she doesn’t want to appear money-minded, as that might be a turnoff.

In reality, the two people might have different thoughts behind the scenes. He might really prefer not to spend much money on his dates, and would rather save his money but still get a great girl anyway.  She might really prefer to snag a guy who is motivated and has good career potential and will be generous with her.  However, neither wants to portray this.

This got me thinking about a friend of mine who has taken a very genuine approach with his finances from day one with his wife.  I remember him telling me in the past about how he didn’t like to go out too frequently to expensive places when dating, and didn’t like to buy her a lot of little gifts or other things some guys might do.  In other words, he didn’t try to hide that he was a saver and not a spender.

I’m not even sure if he paid for the first date, and wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t.  The way he described it, he didn’t want to pretend to be something he wasn’t.  He didn’t like to spend, would never be somebody who would be living paycheck to paycheck, so he established that up front.  He is a penny pincher and acted like it up front.  The thinking is that if she liked him knowing how he was up front, then she would be less likely to have a problem with it later.

As I mentioned up front, just to reiterate, the roles could be reversed in terms of the man and the woman, and their motivations.  Anyway, the whole point is that just like it’s best to discuss finances before marriage, it’s also a good idea to be genuine and transparent with your money habits when getting to know someone.

They been married for quite some time, and both seem very happy, by the way!

My Questions for You

Do you think that many people are less than transparent about money habits when dating?

Why is it so hard for some people to be up front about their spending/saving tendencies, or financial goals?

How genuine were you when dating?


{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

SavvyFinancialLatina August 2, 2012 at 8:38 am

Honestly, one of the things that caught my eyes about my hubby is because he spoiled me while we were dating. None of the other guys spoiled me the way he did. I knew he worked and saved money, which is why he had enough to take me out on a date. I’m not a gold digger. I think we both protect our finances now. I more so than him, want to save $$$.


TTMK August 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm

SFL – that’s understandable, and glad it all worked out. Interestingly, it was my friend’s approach to not spoil her with buying things because he knew that he would never want to change. Seems like both ways can work!


Smart Military Money August 2, 2012 at 10:10 am

I love to spoil my lady, but it’s not with grandeur things. Little things make her smile just as much as anything could. She’s also a strong, independent woman so she’s not into having me always pay for date activities. We’ve each picked up the tab an equal number of times.

As you point out, people may not want their counterpart making decisions based on finances. As such, couples may not be transparent about their finances. I consider myself to be genuine and transparent.

-Christian L. @ Smart Military Money


TTMK August 4, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Christian – that’s great that you guys have been equal in picking up the tab, while you’re still finding ways to spoil that are not breaking the bank.


Kathleen @ Frugal Portland August 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I met my voice of reason at a really low point for me financially. I let him know that I was at a low point, and he understood. We’re still dating, but now he lets me pay occasionally.


TTMK August 4, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Kathleen – Sounds like a good guy.


Edward Antrobus August 2, 2012 at 11:03 pm

I was pretty spendthrift when we were dating. If I had money, I spent it.


TTMK August 4, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Edward – I’ll bet that’s how many dating situations are, the guy spends money if he has it.


Edward Antrobus August 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm

True, although it applied to more than just my dating life. I didn’t get serious about saving money until after I proposed.


SB @One Cent at a Time August 5, 2012 at 11:24 am

well, when I used to date, 15 years ago, I was college broke and didn’t have money to spend. Now I think it was good that I didn’t spend much.And the girl I used to date is my wife now. So nothing’s actually lost here by being frugal.


Michelle April 21, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Interesting post. Looking back, my husband spent way more money than he should have on dates (but he’s totally old fashioned). I think we really got honest about our financial status about 2 months in when it became common to just lay around and watch movies at home.


TTMK April 23, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Well, that’s cool that he splurged…and great that you guys did talk about things openly later! It seems like a good thing all around.


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