Spender + Saver = Bad Combination?

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I don't mean to be the bearer of bad news (well, not like anyone really gives a hoot!) but I think that the promising relationship with new guy I had been seeing for over half a year has deteriorated.  It sucks.  Especially sucks when you have to have to see your friends and acquaintances gush over each other's engagement and talk for two hours about what they are using for flowers for their wedding.  It's hard not to panic because I am in my 30's now (not so young anymore but still thrifty) and although I don't feel old, I feel old, know what I mean?

But I am happy anyway.  Pharrell Williams' catchy new song helps 🙂

Doomed From The Start?

Everything was going great for the first half of the relationship.  He was sweet, kind, generous, chivalrous, thoughtful.  The only thing was that we didn't have that ‘connection' and great conversation at times (though maybe that came after I heard “the news” so maybe that inadvertently affected our relationship somehow).

Related: Is Debt a Deal Breaker?

Spender saverAnd the other thing was that he told me he was in debt.  Now, I appreciated the honesty because the act of looking like we both liked to spend money on $50-$100 per person dinners was getting a bit much (unlike 90% of Vancouver, I'm not that much of a foodie).

Now, back to the debt.  It wasn't very much.  Heck I could have paid it off for him except that's not the point. The point was that the debt did not move and it kind of sucked because his debt felt like my debt.  I evaluated it based on general net worth, not simply debt.  If a guy had debt to invest that's totally fine but it was consumer debt.  I tried my best to cook for him, get groceries, ensure that we stayed  home for meals more often so that he could save money.  But when I saw that the debt still wasn't moving I felt deflated and tired, and I couldn't see the goal in site.  I felt guilty that we were splitting the costs of dating when I knew I had more money than he did.  I started worrying about the future- will I have to financially support him?  How will this affect the relationship dynamic?  How will we build a future together?  I don't think I made him feel very manly because of these thoughts I had.

We grew up with different financial values and consequently, we have different financial values.  I would much rather save money so that I have a secure financial future and to build a future and retire early (not being “chained” to work but working because I want to) not to mention travel the world.

Related: Dealing with Long-Overdue Student Debt

Am I Shallow or Too Picky?

I am not sure if I am being too picky, too shallow, too selfish or what.  I think it's because I am too selfish- I mean, who cares if he shares my money?  Then sometimes I think that I worked so hard to save my money and I will end up bickering and arguing about how he is spending his money and my money.

I think compatibility and similar values are important- especially when it comes to looking for a long term lifelong partner.  If you disagree on religion, children, or money it can work, I'm sure, but it will just take a lot of effort.  Considering that 50% of marriages now end in divorce and most divorces are because of money (according to Huffington Post financial arguments early in the relationship are predictive of divorce), I think finding someone who has similar financial viewpoints as you is important.  That being said, people can change (for example, Get Rich Slowly transitioned from spender to saver) but I don't want to make anyone change because most people don't change.  Like I said many times, money whether we like it or not- symbolizes your values and priorities in life.  Isn't a relationship and marriage about achieving and sharing life goals and experiences together?

Anyway, I am currently reading Marry Him: The Case for Setting for Mr. Good Enough so I can stop being so picky.  Wish me luck!

Readers, do you think that different values when it comes to money affects your relationship?

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Young is a writer and former owner of Young and Thrifty and the main "twitter' behind Young and Thrifty's twitter account. She lives in Vancouver, BC and enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with her anxious dog, and finding good deals. If you like what you read, consider signing up for email updates.

13 Comments

  1. SnowHalation on May 28, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    “Readers, do you think that different values when it comes to money affects your relationship?”

    It depends. If I had a significant other that didn’t care enough about paying off consumer debt after giving them a year of trying, then I’d break off the relationship right there. If they happen to be a spendthrift, but carry no debt(I wonder if that’s possible lol), I don’t really see a problem unless it affects our future goals where I (and this is just my opinion) expect both of us to contribute to, like our future child’s/children’s education money.

    My belief is that mutual love in a relationship is important, but money is a bit more so. It’s one of the reasons why I’m not in a relationship at the moment. Both persons should be able to support theirselves (assuming they’re adults and out of school) before the relationship even starts. It’d be plain irresponsible otherwise.



  2. Phil on May 28, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Readers, do you think that different values when it comes to money affects your relationship? Absolutely, but if they are the same that might not mean it would work either… In a previous post I made reference to my observations that opposites who attract rarely work out in the long run



  3. Dayle on May 29, 2014 at 7:14 am

    Absolutely! And I have lived this first hand for years before meeting bf. Thinking that I was too selfish, too picky, shallow, etc… and being told as much sometimes, but still continuing to make it a priority in a relationship for the other person to be gainfully employed, financially independent, and smart with their money.

    I have learned that smart people tend to have a handle on their finances. It’s all related. I have broke it off with many men for reasons that stem back to finances. Sometimes it’s masked as wanting to go out too much, keeping me up too late, not supporting my gym habits, but in the end it all comes down to money!

    6 months ago, I met bf, and I almost didn’t even bother to meet him because he was 2.5 years younger than me and I wasn’t sure I wanted to step out of the box on age! I always dated people older than me because I thought it increased the chances that they would be financially smart. At barely 27 years of age, he was living in his beautiful home that he bought with 20% down. He had never carried an ounce of debt in his life until taking on his mortgage. Always paid cash for everything including vehicles, and before even meeting me he already tracked all his spending to the penny. Really? Who is this person?! He is PERFECT for me. It’s crazy! I later learned that he is extremely smart, and he had saved $100,000 by age 23. Then quit his job and went back to school, eventually starting his current job and buying his house the very next day! I know it sounds like I am focusing on money here, he has so many other great qualities, but again, I think it comes down to money and being on the same page financially. I thought I would never find this person!

    Cheers, thanks for reading 🙂
    Dayle



  4. Ray on May 29, 2014 at 9:17 am

    “I don



  5. CNJ on May 29, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    My husband is a total spendthrift and I’m a big saver. I get the same thrill from seeing our net worth increase than he does from buying a new pair of shoes. This was obvious early in our relationship but the reason I stayed was that I saw something else in my husband: an appreciation of my views and a realization that, if left to his own devices, he probably wouldn’t be able to ever meet any financial goals.

    We’ve worked out a system where he keeps a small percentage of his paycheque as “fun money” and the rest goes towards the family fund. We discuss all financial decisions together and this way, he can indulge (a bit) in his spendthrift tendencies.

    Our way probably wouldn’t work for other people but what it gets down to is that you don’t have to be on EXACTLY the same wave length to make a marriage work – as long as there’s mutual respect of the other person’s view. But heck, we’ve only been married for five years – ask me again in 20!



  6. Kristyn on May 29, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Why would you ever settle for just good enough?!? Apply the same standards for a partner as you would to your finances, is just good enough ok for your investments or your retirement? I think that idea of settling is ludicrous, obviously nobody is perfect but a partner should engage you in a way that their imperfections or weaknesses are not something you look down on them for. You deserve someone who makes you happy and stress at this early stage of the relationship over something as important to you as money is probably indicative that this is not the guy for you. Have faith, don’t settle!



  7. Will @ FQF on May 30, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    I dated a girl once who wanted to spend everything she earned (everything I earned as well). I would be lying if that’s not part of the reason I dumped her. Money is never just about money. Her spending was endangering our future security. Eh, well.

    In my opinion, you’re not thinking too much about money within relationships.



  8. alana on June 2, 2014 at 12:25 am

    I feel you on the age thing. I never really ‘felt’ as old as i actually was until around 28. Now I’m 30, its starting to feel as if I’m 35 or something. Those two years in between really did a number on me. Seeing everyone else move on in their personal lives sucks as well but I do what I can, excel in my academic/professional pursuits, it will once together for you and I’m sure.

    Totally with you on this guy. One has to at least be making genuine effort to get your financial shit together. If he was, his behavior would have reflected that, which didnt happen in this case. At this age and stage, aint nobody got time to wait for a man to change… Next



  9. Marie @ My Personal Finance Journey on June 2, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Choosing your partner wisely, so that in the end you would not regret it. Honestly, I do have a hard time with my ex bf before, I’m the type that I don’t like to spend unless it’s very necessary, but he was the type of “one day millionaire.”



  10. Leigh on June 4, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    I am so sorry, Young! Don’t stop being picky! I promise you. Your relationship with your ex sounds so much like mine with my ex. It’s totally worth it once you find someone who you fit with. I kept wanting to be picky and thinking there was something wrong with me and people told me to stop being picky too, but don’t listen to them. Being single and happy is so much better than being in the wrong relationship.



  11. Young on June 5, 2014 at 1:04 am

    @alana- Ain’t nobody got time for dat!! 🙂



  12. Tania on June 9, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Great article. I’ve always been on the same page re: money with my hubby and I always wondered if it would be a deal breaker or not to have differing attitudes about it.

    CNJ seems to have a good solution, but I’m not sure I’d be thrilled to see him having “fun” with our money if it meant that a debt was going unpaid.

    Aside from the money thing though, Young, please don’t lower the bar. Standards are a good thing to have.



  13. Emilio on July 7, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Picking a life partner is the biggest financial decision you will ever make (among many other things).

    Make the best possible decision you can!



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