Being Frugal Makes You More Appealing

According to a new ING Direct study, the word that most comes to mind when a hypothetical blind date partner is described as frugal is “smart.” Sadly, “sexy” only came to mind about 3.7% of the time, but at least you’ll have more chances: an eHarmony review commissioned by Ron Lieber at the New York Times “found that both men and women were 25 percent more likely to have a potential mate reach out to them if they identified themselves as a saver rather than a spender.”

“How to Be Frugal and Still Be Asked on Dates” [New York Times]

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  1. smo0 says:

    Hahaha, not me… I’ve gone on dates with “frugal” guys… guess who picked up the tab…

    Moi.

    I’m always turned off by generic brands too…. there’s probably something wrong with me but… I like what I like!

    • WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

      There’s a difference between being frugal and being a tightwad and a jerk.

      When I was single, I was frugal so I could afford to have nice dates. Now I’m frugal so I can do fun things with my family.

      As far as generics go, a great many of them are made by the same people. My wife was always anti-generic too, until I started doing the tasters choice challenge with her on certain things. Now… there’s some generics that are just God awful, but many are indiscernible or, IMO, better.

      • smo0 says:

        I dunno… when I see the “Kroger Toothpaste” I shudder… I know you’re right about generics… but.. can’t help that feeling!

  2. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    - It’s the men reaching out to women on dating sites the vast majority of the time
    - Men traditionally pay for things like dinner, gifts, etc. It’s less common for women to buy men things.
    - Men don’t want to date a spendthrift, because inevitably that means he has to pay for more things.

    Obvious answer.

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      “- Men traditionally pay for things like dinner, gifts, etc. It’s less common for women to buy men things.”

      Man… I wish that was still true.

      • Mole90 says:

        You’re going out with the wrong guys.

        I just rejoined the dating scene. And I always pay. For the first three or four dates at least. It’s how I was brought up. Plus in most cases, I make much more money than the women I go out with. (Seems I am always dating teachers).

        I don’t mind paying. Eventually if we go on further dates, we will go dutch, or they will offer to pay for a night out and I will agree. I would just feel funny not paying for the first couple of dates.

        • FatLynn says:

          In my dating days, I always tried to pick up a little something…like if he took me to a nice dinner, I’d pick up the drink while we waited at the bar or the valet or something. I think most men did not expect that at all, but I felt like it showed I wasn’t in it for the meal ticket.

  3. Coelacanth says:

    Interesting how the question is posed. Perhaps people are more drawn to the “saver” attribution inasmuch as it implies that the person must have saved an amount worth praise.

  4. NarcolepticGirl says:

    I am very frugal (except when giving gifts)
    I think my boyfriend likes that about me since i don’t require a $5,000 engagement ring, trips to Hawaii and $300 worth of clothing a month.

    But, I think me being “frugal” got old fast once we started living together.
    He likes guitars and music equipment, Organic foods, buying DVDs, has about 5 times more clothing than I do, etc.
    So, you know, that causes some issues when we’re both paying the bills.
    “Do you REALLY need another t-shirt? You have two closets full… Let’s save up money so we can get a second car”

    BUT – I have him couponing now!

    • Ladybird says:

      Yay for couponing!

      Mr. Ladybird is the frugal one in the relationship. It was hard at first because we never went ANYWHERE. Once I started seeking out free or really cheap things to do around town that changed.

      His frugal habits have rubbed off on me. So rather than pricey meals out, I’ll play Gorumet Chef on a Saturday night. Even with splurging on fresh, high- end ingredients, it’s still cheaper than dinner at a 4 star eatery.

      • NarcolepticGirl says:

        “Even with splurging on fresh, high- end ingredients, it’s still cheaper than dinner at a 4 star eatery.”

        Yeah, That’s what my boyfriend basically told me and that’s how I see it now.
        That way, it’s a bit easier for me to spend money on food for the house.
        Plus, I’m learning to like food that’s made at home since he cooks. I’ve been living off Hot Pockets, scrambled eggs and burritos for the last several years.

  5. Murph1908 says:

    There’s a difference between being cheap and being frugal.

    Me, I don’t mind spending money, but I don’t like wasting money.

    And I am embarrasing when it comes to things I paid for that I can’t use anymore. Any ‘card’ that you put money on (subways, prepaid phone cards, amusement parks) I’ll give to someone else if I am leaving that city/country/park.

    And if I have a coupon that gets, say, 8 people in for a discount, I’ll find people in line around me to hop onto it. I’ve ‘bought’ breakfast/lunch/dinner for a few people in Vegas by letting them be the 2nd person on my ’2 free buffet’ comps in Vegas.

  6. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    Many years ago, on my very first date with me (now) wife, I used a $15 off coupon to take her out to dinner. Neither of us had very much money and it allowed us to go to a restaurant we could otherwise not afford. When dating, we alternated who picked up tabs and never had any problem hitting up happy hour specials or using coupons.

  7. NarcolepticGirl says:

    Also -
    I date a guy for 2 years or so. I remember a time when I had just lost my job and I didn’t have any money. I had a coupon for a bottle of water (the tap water where we lived in Florida was NASTY) that was $0.35 so I asked him if he could lend me $0.35 because I needed something to drink.
    He said he couldn’t afford it.
    That night he bought a bottle of wine and got wasted at his friends house.

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      I guess that’s just being a selfish ahole, though.

      and excuse my grammar.

    • Tongsy says:

      Maybe what he meant was that he didn’t have 35 cents on him.

      I never carry money around, I only use credit cards

      • NarcolepticGirl says:

        nah, he said “I can’t afford…”

        This is a guy who, when we broke up, had a trunk full of packages I gave him money for and asked him to mail out. EBay transactions that I thought were lost in the mail and refunded people… and a package to a pen pal whose mother was dying of cancer.

        Man, I was so pissed they were sitting in there for 6 months or more.
        Probably gave him about $50-75 for those things that he obviously just spent on something else.

    • evnmorlo says:

      You get drunk at his friend’s house over a coin? Sounds both of you are living in the 1500s.

  8. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I’m the kind of gal who thinks that if you’ve been dating a guy for a while and you say you would rather have books than jewelry, and you get jewelry, you should walk away quickly. His assumption has already been made, and it’s clear at that point that he hasn’t listened to you at all and is hung up on the idea of what women should like. You’re a person, not a doll. If women are able to spot the men who are too tied to cultural norms earlier in the relationship, it will make it easier to find the men who don’t cave to them.

    • qwickone says:

      I prefer books to jewelry, but what girl doesn’t like a nice pair of earnings every once in a while. I say, if he got you the jewelry AND it’s in keeping with your style, keep him around because he probably pays attention. Now if he KEEPS buying things you say you don’t prefer, then he’s not listening.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Ah I see I wasn’t being clear. What you said is basically what I meant. Thanks for clarifying for me. I don’t mean that if he doesn’t do exactly what you ask all the time it means he’s not a good listener, but like you said, if a guy doesn’t understand your gift preferences and doesn’t pay attention even after you’ve discussed the matter, you should walk away.

        • shadowboxer524 says:

          I suppose that after you’ve had a clear discussion about gift preferences, and he still opts for the “traditional” gifts, then that’s okay. But do be sure he *really* knows that you’re speaking truthfully. In my few experiences with women, “I don’t want anything special” means “I don’t want to tell you want I want, but I do want something nice, and I’m going to be totally cryptic about it, and if you aren’t able to read these non-existant clues I’m giving you, then you just don’t *get* me.”

          I’m not saying this about all women, but the ones I’ve dealt with would get mad when you did exactly as they say. If she says to buy her a book, and you do it, you’ve done something wrong.

          Now, I date men.

        • shadowboxer524 says:

          I suppose that after you’ve had a clear discussion about gift preferences, and he still opts for the “traditional” gifts, then that’s okay. But do be sure he *really* knows that you’re speaking truthfully. In my few experiences with women, “I don’t want anything special” means “I don’t want to tell you want I want, but I do want something nice, and I’m going to be totally cryptic about it, and if you aren’t able to read these non-existant clues I’m giving you, then you just don’t *get* me.”

          I’m not saying this about all women, but the ones I’ve dealt with would get mad when you did exactly as they say. If she says to buy her a book, and you do it, you’ve done something wrong. Nothing was ever to be taken at face value.

          Nowadays, I date men.

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            That’s so weird to me. I mean, I guess a lot of women are like that, but I’ve always been very upfront about what I like so the idea of double talk is very strange to me. I’ve always been very clear about my interests. I guess others aren’t.

    • evnmorlo says:

      Books are pretty traditional gifts too. Personally I hate them, since I will either have already read them, have zero interest in the topic, or feel that a lot of money was wasted on something freely available at the library. I’d be reluctant to give someone a book for the same reasons, unless they tell me exactly what they want, in which case I’d feel like I was shopping for them not giving which is supposed to contain some suprise.

      Gifts are complicated, as seen from your post, since you will dump a guy based on what he buys.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        You completely misread my comment. I’m not advocating dumping a guy based on gifts, but based a larger pattern of whether he actually takes the time to listen to your wishes.

        You are correct in saying that gifts are complicated. I clarified myself further down in the thread where I said that it’s about how a person chooses to listen to you. If you don’t want something, and you’re clear, and it still happens, it’s no longer about the gift and instead, it’s about how that person is not listening to you.

        We all enjoy frivolity once in a while, and we all enjoy feeling special. It’s when that person has different ideas about how to go about that that can lead to missteps.

        The topic of the thread is frugality. I can imagine a scenario in which frugality is of utmost importance, and splurging on something expensive is not in the cards. But if a person – whether intentionally or not – just hasn’t listened and you have expressed that you don’t want that expensive item and then you receive it anyway, that causes a lot of problems because it seems the person has ignored the request to NOT give a particular item.

        Another way to look at it is this…when I say I don’t want anything, I really mean it. Someone feeling like they have to get me something when I say I don’t really want anything puts some kind of bizarre guilt on that person and pressure to buy something. It’s not what I intended, and I often dislike that feeling that I’ve put pressure on someone when I never meant to. If I receive a gift even when I’ve said that I don’t want a gift, I am appreciative but then the onus is on me to get them a gift, and when they say they don’t want a gift, I have to then interpret that they really DO want a gift because they interpreted it that way when I specified that I didn’t need or want gifts.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          If you don’t want something, and you’re clear, and it still happens, it’s no longer about the gift and instead, it’s about how that person is not listening to you.

          THIS.

    • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

      Mr. Aroo is pretty good, on my 21st birthday he got me a great book on a topic he knew I loved (knitting) AND jewelry in my style and everything. It was a pretty good birthday : )

      But yes, I agree, if at that point he doesn’t understand what you like, or just “doesn’t believe” you, then it’s time to cut him loose.

      That said, I’m not one to turn down jewelry. Heh.

  9. c!tizen says:

    frugal = cheap

    I love me a cheap woman!

    • qwickone says:

      Not really, frugal is closer to “biggest bang for your buck”. I think I’m pretty frugal, but I also like nice things. For me, that means I save my pennies to afford my nice things and only buy when it’s on sale. Typically only when it’s REALLY on sale.

      But I’m still cheap on some things (I only drink water when at restaurants even though I really want iced tea) (:

      • c!tizen says:

        True, but “I love me a frugal woman” and “I love me a cheap woman” come out a little bit better than “I love me a best bang for my buck woman”… although the first two were meant to be a bit of off-brand humor, the ladder just sends the wrong message.

        I get it though,I’ve got an accountant as a parent so frugal is in my blood.

      • JonStewartMill says:

        That’s me. I’m frugal on the little things so I can spend the money I saved on big-ticket items.

  10. ElleAnn says:

    My husband and I met on an online dating site and I think that we talked about frugality on our first date. We almost always see eye to eye on money. However, sometimes it turns into a spiral of frugality which serves no good purpose because we’d be better off spending more money. Exhibit A: Our current apartment is very inexpensive for our area and staying put has allowed us to save money towards a downpayment… but the landlord keeps “forgetting” to pay bills for common utilities so we go days without heat or water. Not worth the savings! Exhibit B: Our dressers are falling apart. We keep fixing them instead of buying some decent furniture. We have the money, but we both hate furniture shopping and don’t want to spend money. Sometimes it would be better if one of us were slightly less cheap to act as a voice of reason when we are being too frugal.

    • ElleAnn says:

      I should have said cheap. We’re downright cheap.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I see what you’re saying. Sometimes frugality can be a detriment and if one of you were more of a moderate when it comes to frugality, you would have a dresser and an apartment you’re happy with. Maybe this is a good time to let go a little and buy yourself some things that, while may not bring about permanent happiness, go along way to making you happier with your living space. It’s why we bought a new couch. Sure we could have sat on ours for another five years before it truly fell apart, but it was greatly satisfying to decide for ourselves what we wanted and to give our old one to someone who had a use for it.

      • shadowboxer524 says:

        “Sure we could have sat on ours for another five years before it truly fell apart, but it was greatly satisfying to decide for ourselves what we wanted and to give our old one to someone who had a use for it.”

        I agree. The point of frugality is to be able to have some expendable income. But if you don’t ever buy something with that money, then the frugality doesn’t serve a purpose. And it is nice to buy something you really want every now and then. It’s the reward of a thrifty lifestyle.

  11. smartmuffin says:

    I call BS on this one. What women claim to want and what they actually want are quite different, as most of us found out as early as the sixth grade!

    “Savers” live in cramped apartments with roommates, drive crappy cars, wear clothes from the goodwill, download their movies instead of seeing them in a theater, and never *ever* eat in ridiculous upscale resturants. Yeah, women are all over that.

  12. AllanG54 says:

    My wife loves when I’m frugal, unless of course I’m spending money on her. Then there’s no limit. But I put off buying myself certain things because frankly, I’d rather spend the money on her anyway.

  13. Lucky225 says:

    Are you serious Consumerist? I send you a nightmare ING story and it don’t get pub’ed, and then you pub an ING study? h8rs.

  14. JoyfulC says:

    When my husband and I first met, we were both involved in a sport that ate up lots of money and time. To have both of us participating meant that we had to live on a shoestring for years.

    But after we quit, a few years back, we initially thought “great! Now we can spend more freely.”

    It didn’t work out that way,though. Frugality is damned near a sport in itself, and a source of pride. We finally came to see that, instead of buying a lot of stuff we never could afford before (and thus didn’t need), we preferred to work less. He took an early retirement. And while I love my business and am not ready to give it up just yet, I was ready to be a lot more selective about the assignments I took.

    We’re living very nicely now — not much money, but lots more freedom and time. Better than running in the rat race.