Which Is More Attractive? A Saver Or A Spender?

Today’s post is by the founder of Money Life and More (and my husband), Lance!

Piggy BankI recently came across a piece on MSN about money and love, so I knew I’d need to talk about it! Here’s a quick quote from the article that summarizes it pretty well, then I’ll dive more into my thoughts on it.

Researchers conducted a series of experiments that involved asking volunteers to rate the attractiveness of potential dates. Indeed, savers were “viewed as possessing greater general self-control, which increases their romantic and physical attractiveness.” 

The researchers were from the University of Michigan and in theory their research showed that being a saver makes you more attractive to potential mates. I think that it makes a lot of sense, but I don’t really see their research applying to the dating scene. Why?

Who Talks About Money On Dates?

If we assume the research is correct and that savers really are more attractive, how does it actually apply to dating? I’d like to argue that it really doesn’t, at least early on in a relationship it won’t. I don’t know about you, but I don’t run across many people that talk about money on dates or when they’re flirting unless it is a joke or the person is trying to compensate for something else.

Unfortunately, people don’t have tattoos that say whether they’re a saver or a spender. Unless you ask someone whether they’re a spender or a saver before you date them, you’d likely never know what their spending habits are so the attractiveness benefit of being a saver won’t be realized.

Being A Saver Could Seal The Deal

On the other hand, being a saver could seal the deal in a serious relationship. After the first few dates, when things begin to get more serious, you’ll likely start figuring out each other’s money tendencies. (If you don’t, you might end up in a world of hurt!) Finding out that your significant other is a saver might make them reach that ideal level of attractiveness for you to decide you want to spend the rest of your life with them.

However, if you find out that your significant other is a huge spender with a ton of debt it could go the other way as well. I know if I was in a serious relationship and found out a person had a massive spending problem with a ton of credit card debt, I’d have to seriously reconsider whether or not the relationship would work.

I Think It Depends On The Person

I do think there is a certain group of people that would be attracted to spenders rather than savers. If you’re the type of person that likes receiving a ton of gifts, would you really want to date a big saver? Of course, I’m a saver, so I can’t accurately predict these things.

What do you think about the study? Do you agree or disagree? If you’re a spender, do you think you’d prefer dating a saver or a spender? What if you’re a saver? Which do you prefer to date?

photo by: 401(K) 2013

Obscene Amounts of Alcohol and Cruising

El Crucero Carnival Magic, el nuevo buque de Carnival Cruise Lines en Las Palmas de Gran CanariaMost adults would admit that when they envision paradise, it includes a really yummy cocktail in your hand. Am I right? A cruising vacation to the Caribbean means living on a floating paradise that is loaded with endless food and alcohol.

My husband and I aren’t usually ones to go out to a bar and go drinking. We do however like sipping on a few cocktails while cruising, especially when going to the Punchliner Comedy Club.

As yummy as cocktails are, and even only having just a few, the cost can really add up fast. On the Carnival Cruise Line, the average drink costs between $7.25 and $10, plus an automatic 15% gratuity that is added. Not very budget friendly for a complete paradise vacation!

Cheers Program

MartiniCarnival Cruise Lines has recently introduced a new “Cheers” program. This program offers the purchaser up to 15 cocktails each day for the entire duration of the cruise. Not gonna lie, when I first read about this, I was pretty interested.

This sounded like a great deal. Of course the too good to be true mantra applies to this “Cheers” program. We of course read the fine print of the deal and realized that it was definitely not worth it.

True Cost of the Cheers Program

One stipulation of getting the Cheers program is that every guest over the age of 21 in the same cabin must purchase the program. This of course is to prevent sharing.

Carnival charges $57.50 per person per day (that includes 15% gratuities), and you must purchase it for the entire duration of the cruise. So if Lance and I got the Cheers program, we would spend over $700 just for alcohol. We thought that was absolutely insane! There is no way we would drink enough alcohol to make that remotely worth it.

Two Interesting Examples

Though Lance and I aren’t really big drinkers, there are tons of people on cruises who are. If you are a big drinker it may be worth it.

Towards the end of the cruise, we were standing in the guest services line to get a map for the next day’s port. The line however was moving very slow because there were three young girls holding it up. We were right behind them so we were able to see/hear what they were discussing.

They each had a two page bill that was near $800, consisting of bar charges. They were trying to argue that they did not order all of those drinks and make those purchases. We had a hunch that they did, but did not find out the resolution.

In this instance, it probably would have been worth it for each of the three girls to have purchased the cheers program, especially if they were paying their own way. They would have not been “surprised” with a horrific bar tab, and they would have been able to drink knowing that it was a set price and would not have to worry about it during their vacation.

Oh The Horror!

There may be some out there who drink an abundant amount and believe that the Cheers program is really worth it. However, there are some people that really shouldn’t get it. During the same time we were watching the three girls dispute their massive bar tab at the guest service desk, the long line behind us started gasping with horror. We immediately turned around and asked what all the commotion was about.

All I could see was a giant puddle on the tile floor in front of the glass atrium elevators. My initial thought was that someone had spilled their drink. And then the horror was revealed. A full grown woman was so drunk, that she was crawling on her hands and knees to the elevators, but then paused and peed right on the floor, and then continued to the elevator. My jaw was on the floor. Needless to say, she was one of those who definitely did not need the Cheers program, but it does provide an interesting story!

Have you ever encountered anything like this on a cruise? Have you purchased the Cheers program for yourself? Would you think it’s worth it?

Is Bulk Buying Cost Effective?

Sam's Club exteriorMost large cities have some sort of bulk buying warehouse. Depending on your city, it could be a Sam’s Club, Costco, BJ’s etc. Until recently, I never considered a membership for a married couple or small family a smart option. It only seemed to be cost effective for those really large families and local businesses.

Pros To Membership For Small Familes

Non-perishable items that are a necessity are generally a good buy, such as toiletries, cleaning supplies, and dry goods. The fresh food department is also very good. They have a butcher on site and cary a wide variety of fresh cut meat, as well as cheeses, and bakery items. If you have the storage space for bulk items, it can be worth it to get a membership to save money in the long run.

Cons To Membership For Small Families

Up front cost can be a bit tricky for some people. While you may be saving a decent amount of money in the long run, bulk buying  is expensive up front. That chicken breast you want may be $40-$50 right now, but may last you months and only cost a few dollars per meal.

The same goes with most of the items offered. You have to budget right to afford a monthly trip to the bulk warehouse because although you may only have 10 items in your buggy, your total could easily be $200!

Getting caught up in the “that’s a great deal” thinking can really get your wallet into trouble! They strategically set up those tasting centers to get you to buy items not originally on your list, and believe me, sometimes its really hard to resist (especially the cheese station)!

Waste was my biggest concern about buying a membership. It is only a good deal if you use all of the product. We try very hard to be conscious of this when we shop at our local Sam’s.

I also noticed that the variety of choices can be limited in the dry goods section, such as the cereal. We love cereal but unfortunately Sam’s does not stock our favorites.

Why We Tried A Membership

A couple times a year, the bulk warehouses offer weekends that are open to those without memberships. We decided to roam around during one of these weekends and were unsure as to if it would be worth it for just two people. I then needed to buy a large purchase through them for our wedding and they had the best deal hands down.

If I had made the purchase with out a membership, I would have had to pay an extra 10% surcharge, or I could buy a membership for $45. After talking it through with the hubby, we decided that it would only take a couple trips to pay itself off. I don’t think we would have gotten it had I not made the large purchase for the wedding. After this years membership is up, we will reevaluate if getting another membership is cost effective for us.

Do you shop at a bulk warehouse? What types of things do you regularly save money on? Does family size make a difference for you?

Would You Go Back And Pay?

Please Pay Here 3-14-09 19My question to you today is….What would you do if the cashier forgot to ring up an item on your order? Is this a black and white answer or more complex decision that deals in shades of grey?

Black and White Decision

One potential answer to this question is that you should correct the cashier and bring up the the missed item on your order. It doesn’t matter if you made it all the way home and didn’t realize the issue for a few hours.

As a past cashier myself, I know that busy lines and a long day can easily result in a slip up and the cashier missing an item when you check out. I greatly appreciated the customers that corrected me because the boss kept pretty close tabs of unaccounted for items! Bosses noticed even faster when they were high dollar value items.

Of course, the other option is to simply not say anything and keep the item. This is where things get trickier and the shades of grey start to creep in. There are many excuses people might make or ways that people justify not going back to pay for the item.

Timing of Noticing

The next factor to consider deals with how long it took until you actually realized that you weren’t charged for an item. Would it make a difference to you if you realize the cashier forgot an item before the transaction ended? How about if you made it just out the door, down the street or all the way home? Would you turn around and go back to pay for it? At what point would it be too late and would you keep the item?

Amount the Unringed Item Cost

So say this forgotten item on your transaction was just a couple bucks, would you just let it go? What if it cost more than $10? Is there a certain pricing level that would make the average person feel guilty enough to return and pay for it or would it just make most of us feel like we kinda won the lottery?

Type of Store

Walmart Grocery Checkout Line in Gladstone, MissouriLast but not least, would the type of store make a difference in your decision? Would you feel less inclined to return to pay for an item at a big box store that easily absorbs the cost of lost merchandise? How about a mom and pop store that depend on every single sale for their lively hood?

Let me know if you have ever been in this situation and what you did/would have done! Lets get some discussion going! 

How to Teach Your Kids About Virtual Money

Old Fashioned Cash RegisterIf you are part of the millennial generation, have you ever wondered what life would be like without your debit card? Believe it or not, debit cards did not exist up until the mid 1980’s, and didn’t gain popularity until the late 1990’s. Our generation experienced the paradigm shift into the technology ruled world, which is pretty darn cool if you ask me.

However, with our almost cashless society, how do we teach our kids about money and how to properly manage it if they rarely even see it?  Elementary school aged children are developmentally incapable of thinking abstractly.

Funny Money

During preschool years, learning is dependent on play. Introduce funny money, or real money if you can spare some for your child to start exploring. You can then begin to interact with your child during play time, on what money is and why we have it. Try setting up a “grocery store” at home and get down on their level and just play! Children at this age thrive on imitating adults and their actions. There are also a multitude of resources these days, which of course include apps and plenty of books.

Bank of Mom and Dad

As  your child grows older hopefully they’ll have a decent understanding of physical money, and they will probably want an allowance. Allowance can be a controversial topic among parents. I myself have mixed feelings about it, but I really appreciate the way my parents introduced allowance and managing our money. They decided to give us a conservative allowance but didn’t actually hand over the cold hard cash.

What they did do, was give us each a check register with our name on it. My parents acted as the bank and when we would earn allowance we would write our “deposit” in the check register. When we wanted to buy something with our money, they would buy it, but then “withdraw” it in our registers.

I don’t have kids yet, but I plan to use this method to teach them how to manage money that they can’t physically see. I felt this was a great idea that my parents came up with, and truly believe that it prepared me as a young adult in handling my money. And yes, you can still get check registers from your bank!

How did you learn about money as a kid? How have you taught your children about money, or, how do you plan to teach your future kids?

photo by: JMCostanza