Confession: I’m attracted to men who know how to manage money. That’s right. My top priority is not a disarming smile or strong arms or even a robust income (although all those things sure do help). I want a man who has a personal budget in place and a few frugal hacks up his sleeve.
With that being said, it comes as no surprise that I’ve actively sought out frugal-minded romantic partners in the past. One of my boyfriends and I would even half-jokingly compete to see who was the savviest spender. Another one liked to carry around a steel water canteen so he didn’t have to spend money on the expensive bottled stuff. And, as a single woman, I occasionally linger around the clearance section of a grocery store to scope out any potential romantic partners.
So, when I’m on a date, I look for early telltale signs of whether a potential partner has his money situation under control or out of control. In my experience, here are 5 red flags that your Tinder date is bad with money. Keep in mind that these signs apply to men and women:
They live beyond their means.
FYI: I’ve never faulted anyone for running into a rough patch or experiencing lean times. But if someone is just plain irresponsible with money or spending beyond their means, well, that’s another story.
Figuring out if someone spends too much is a bit tricky. You can’t really tell if your date is bad with his money just because they have expensive hobbies, live in lavish digs, or wear designer clothes. There’s actually a good chance that, depending on the particular situation, they could afford these things and have a good handle on their expenses. On the other hand, if they are juggling two full-time jobs, and go on pricey weekend shopping binges after payday, this should sound the alarms.
They outright tell you they’re bad with money.
This might be something I run into more because I write about money for a living and openly express that I love budgeting and saving. And, because I broach the topic of money management (hopefully in a casual, non-intrusive way) on the first date or so, the guy sitting across from me might respond with the following: “Yea, I’m all about that and here’s what I do.” Or, “that’s something I really could use some help with.” He might also abruptly change the subject.
I feel that if someone says they are bad with money, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should run the other way. In fact, I think it’s a good sign when someone admits that they can use some help with managing finances. However, keep in mind that there may be some tough #realtalk about money to be had down the line.
They suggest a pricey place to dine, then can’t afford to pay for it.
Okay, this hasn’t happened to me personally, but I’ve heard stories about dates sneakily handing over the check to the other person as soon as the waiter turns around. Pretty tacky. If your date suggests a fancy place to dine and when the check arrives there’s an awkward silence and a reluctance to pay for it, they might not be able to afford it. Either that or they’re just plain stingy, which can be a whole different problem. Consider using peer-to-peer payment apps for these awkward moments of silence when paying the check.
They aren’t cost conscious.
If your date doesn’t really pay attention to how much things cost, this can give you clues about their lifestyle. In my book, this just tells me that they don’t really know where their money is going. Also, if they tend to get sticker shock when paying for things on a date, this can mean they aren’t investing much time to comparison shop or research how much things cost.
They’ve never heard of popular budgeting apps.
Forgive me if this comes off as being judgy, but I feel that if a person wants to handle finances better, they should be familiar with at least some budgeting apps. And, if they don’t know what a budgeting app is, they either live under a rock or just don’t care about what’s going on with their money.
Spotting the signs now can spare you problems later
To be fair, there’s only so much you can size up about someone’s spending habits from a handful of selfies and a couple dates. It’s only when you start to seriously date someone that you begin to see the truth about how they manage their money. On the flipside, you can definitely keep an eye out for clues on the first few dates. Are you ready to look out for red flags in your early stages of courtship?