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

About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern is the founder of Adventuring Dollars and Money Manifesto. He has a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license from the Commonwealth of Virginia. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. I think when it comes to dates, “economy” (low-cost but creative) is more romantic and attractive than “extravagance” (expensive but boring).

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