Close-up of two pairs of hands, one persob holding cash and the other a calculator

Dealing with dating a tightwad

by Eharmony Editorial Team - April 21, 2010

Times are tough and our pockets aren’t as deep as they used to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s ok to be Scrooge. Dating someone who never puts their hand in their pocket can be downright frustrating – here’s how to deal with them.

Being frugal, especially when times are tough, is commendable. But being a miser is just plain rude. Whether he insists on taking public transport on your date to save on parking, or she seems to think that paying for dinner is the man’s job, dating a tightwad can be a real turnoff.

Now, this isn’t an article about whether it’s up to the man to shell out on a first date or not – that’s a whole other hornets’ nest we’ll deal with elsewhere. What we’re talking about is whether it’s possible to date someone who’s obsessed with counting the pennies – and whether they’ll ever appreciate you over their money.

1.    When dating cheap doesn’t equal careful
Most people don’t have lots of money to spend on a posh meal out or a luxury holiday, and that’s ok. Sometimes the simplest experiences can create the best memories. If he makes the effort to take you out for a wonderful picnic rather than spending a mint on a Michelin starred restaurant, the effort and creativity certainly outweighs the fact that he hasn’t spent much cash. If you’re considering having a future with this person, then their ability to be careful with their money could be a great asset.

If, on the other hand, your date has made it clear she has money but just doesn’t want to be parted with it, she most probably falls into the cheap category. By no means are we saying that if your date earns a good wage then they should be taking you out to expensive bars every night, but you have to ask if they’re going to be equally unforthcoming with their time, or their emotions. How someone manages their cash is often a great indicator of how they manage their life.

2.    Air your thoughts to your date
Usually relationship problems can be solved by an honest chat, but too often we choose to avoid issues in the hope they’ll go away. In this situation, don’t just blurt out to your date that you think they’re cheap. Instead, explain how you think that the odd birthday weekend away or celebratory dinner isn’t such a bad thing. Also make it clear that you don’t expect them to stump up all the cash; that you’re in it together.

If you’re both on a tight budget, suggest putting a little cash aside every week so that once in a while you can have a small treat together – even if that’s just a cinema trip (you can even take your own popcorn) or a 2for1 deal at your local Italian. Hopefully, once you’ve had a few of these treats your date will realise that the shared experiences you can have with the odd splurge far outweigh spending the cash you stump up.

3. Do you always want to think about money?
If the issue really bothers you (and we assume it probably does if you’re reading this article) you need to decide whether your partner is simply concerned about money at the moment, or whether they’re always going to be tight with their cash. If you’re dealing with the latter case, and it bothers you now, it’s going to keep bothering you. Think about when you’re booking your first summer holiday together – do you really want to be scouring the two-star package deals on the Costa del Sol, or would you rather be spending a bit more cash to go away somewhere you’ll actually enjoy?

The biggest trap you can fall into is thinking habits go away over time, or after marriage. They’ll most likely stay the same, or get worse. If you’ve really got a tightwad on your hands, be prepared for a future of cheap birthday gifts and staycations…