How to Tell If Your Tinder Date Is Bad With Money

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.

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?

 

How to Decide If You Should Get A Joint Bank Account With Your SO

If you’re tired of sending Venmo requests to your significant other and tracking who will pay for dinner, you’re not alone. With half of millennials combining finances with partners before marriage, it’s clear that many don’t wait to combine money until after they tie the knot.

But, even though it might seem easy to open a joint account with your boo, it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly. In fact, when deciding what banking options are best for you and your significant other, it’s key to discuss your finances before cohabitating – and then continue to have money talks on a regular basis. In the meantime, here’s a primer on whether to open a joint account or keep things separate (or both).

When is it right to open a joint account?

Joint accounts provide ease of use for couples and eliminate the need to constantly send money back and forth. But beyond that, joint accounts make it easier for couples to work toward a shared goal, like saving for an upcoming vacation or a down payment on a house. It does require one of you to close a bank account and there are pros and cons to making that commitment.

But, keep in mind that, because joint accounts are equally owned by both people, most couples do not begin their relationship with a joint account. Instead, it is often better for a couple to gradually work toward combining funds. Opening a joint account should not be taken lightly as the account is equally owned by both parties.It also means that either person on the account can withdraw the balance at any time. It also means that if your other half goes through a lawsuit, bankruptcy or debt collection, the joint account can be drawn upon by the government or authorities. Thinking about the worst case scenario may not feel romantic, but it’s necessary.

To break things down even further, take a look at our list of pros and cons:

Joint Account Pros:

  1. You will be able to pay bills from the same account.
  2. You will no longer have to send those annoying Venmo requests or track your money to make sure you’re not paying way more than you should.
  3. You and your partner will have more financial transparency.
  4. You and your partner won’t have to constantly discuss which account bills will be paid from which account.

Joint Account Cons:

  1. You may feel less independent.
  2. Both people have 100% access to the account.
  3. In the event of a  break-up, one partner might drain the account and you’ll have no easy recourse.
  4. In the event of death, money in a joint checking account is typically given to the other person on the account. (Despite what may be written in his or her will.)

When is it right to keep a separate account?

Perhaps you prefer complete financial independence or don’t feel ready to become financially bound to your significant other.

Or, maybe you two are still getting to know each other and haven’t yet disclosed income, debt or money matters. Whatever your reason, there’s nothing wrong with keeping a separate bank account. In fact, nearly one-fourth of couples choose to maintain separate checking accounts even after marriage.

To this end, separate accounts don’t have to mean completely separate finances. With apps like Honeyfi and Honeydue, couples are able to manage their finances as a team without opening joint accounts. These apps allow couples to choose which credit cards and checking accounts to link and share with their other half. The end result? Household finances are shared and organized in one place.

Should you have both a joint and separate account?

The good news is that you don’t have to choose between one or the other. Many couples choose to have both. Joint accounts and separate accounts offer flexibility and can have different purposes.

For Michigan couple Katie VanArsdall and Melissa Silvia, a combination of accounts just made sense. “We merged finances when we moved in together, but we also wanted to keep our own separate accounts because we both work full-time jobs and make money that we consider to be our money,” says VanArsdall.

“But for all of our joint bills, we have a joint account. It’s so much easier to just figure out our monthly expenses and mutually put money from each paycheck into a joint account and pay our joint bills from there. It’s made everything so much easier to have a mixture of both accounts,” she says.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

The most important thing to do before making a decision is to sit down with your SO and have an honest conversation about goals, preferences, and finances.

Grab a glass of wine or sparkling water and make time for a money date. For starters, set aside thirty minutes and ask each other these specific financial questions:

  1. What are our shared financial goals as a couple?
  2. Do we have debt we are trying to pay-off or a big expense we are saving for?
  3. Do we have joint expenses and bills?
  4. Are there any money guidelines we want to implement as a couple?

As you can see, when it comes to joint accounts versus separate accounts, there isn’t a wrong answer. It’s up to you and your partner to decide what’s best for your money sitch. As long as you remember to keep the communication channels open and be open to making changes as you both see fit, you should be on your way to finding your banking groove.

 

How to Budget for Love

I don’t care what hardcore romantics say. You can put a price on love. In fact, with more single people than ever in the U.S., singles are throwing down some serious dough in search of a soulmate — or just a suitable partner.

Let’s look at some numbers, shall we? For starters, dating services alone make up a $3 billion dollar industry. And according to a Match.com survey, the average single person in the U.S. spent $1,596 on dating in 2016.

As it may take you months —  or even years —  to find love, you may want to sock away some funds for dating. Take a look at 4 cost centers to factor into your “love” budget:

1. Dating Site Subscriptions

While there is no shortage of free dating apps — Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid and Plenty of Fish for starters — you might consider signing up for a paid dating site. Those who pay for a dating service tend to be more serious about finding a partner, after all. Prices vary depending on the dating service and subscription you choose. Popular dating site eHarmony, for example, charges $39.95 a month for a three-month subscription. But, if you opt for a six-month subscription, it’s $29.95 a month, which works out to $180 for half a year.

If you have more cash than time to find love, you can link up with one of those elite matchmaking services, such as Kelleher International. These services, which oftentimes include coaching too, can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 (yes, count those zeros) a year.

2. Dates

Whether you grab drinks at a bar, partake in fancy dinners, or buy tickets to see one of your favorite bands, dates add up quickly. Unsurprisingly, according to the Match.com survey, men spent $1,855 a year on average, compared to $1,423 spent by women on dating. This includes everything from dating subscriptions, new outfits, entrance fees to clubs, and beautifying oneself.

While you can go splitsies, there will still be times when you’ll want to treat your date. And let’s not forget those expensive “let’s kiss and makeup” reconciliation steak dinners out (they do happen).

3. Weekend Getaways

When you’re dating, don’t forget about those impromptu weekend trips. While it depends on what you and your partners want to do, it’s safe to budget $1,000 a year or more on trips with your boo — based on my personal experiences. And, if you are in a long-distance relationship, you’ll need to factor in travel expenses to spend quality time with your significant other.

When I was dating more actively, my partners and I would go on trips at least several times a year. This easily added up to at least a thousand bucks a year in travel, which included long weekend getaways up the California Coast, friends’ weddings, or a short summer stay in other parts of the country. 

4. Special Occasions

According to the National Retail Federation, a person can spend about $136.47 on Valentine’s Day. So, it’s not surprising that you might want to budget for getaways and gifts for occasions like birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries.

Depending on your relationship dynamic, spending money on special occasions can be negotiable. One of my exes and I actually moved our anniversary celebration date so that it wouldn’t bump against a month that was super crowded with birthdays or major money-burning holidays like Christmas. This way we could allocate ample time and money to celebrate our anniversary.

Save for Love to Alleviate Stress

If you’re actively dating or plan to start the process soon, you can start to save up for these expenses by adding a bit of padding to your discretionary spending each month, or, better yet, start earmarking money into a dating fund. The search for romance is rarely easy, and expenses can quickly balloon. However, setting aside some funds for dating will alleviate some of the stress that comes with romantic courtship.