NEW YORK — Being frugal is no longer taboo, even in the dating world. That’s the main finding of a newly-released survey, which shows that the vast majority of Americans value thriftiness in a potential partner — even on the first few dates.
Researchers at Slickdeals, a popular online couponing site, recently surveyed 2,000 American adults, hoping to better understand the interplay between money, frugality, and dating in modern society. Somewhat surprisingly, 92 percent of respondents said they considered frugality “attractive” in a partner, while another 79 percent didn’t mind their partner using a coupon on a date.
“The increased propensity toward frugality brings to light the importance of value for today’s shoppers,” says Slickdeals CEO Josh Meyers in a statement. “Making smart purchase decisions and looking for deals or coupons is becoming mainstream – it’s what savvy consumers do because they are financially wise.”
Overspending, in fact, was a surefire way to lose a suitor: two-thirds of those surveyed said they’d feel turned off by a partner spending in a frivolous manner. Debt was less of a turn-off, but still a turn-off nonetheless, with over half of respondents indicating that substantial amounts would make them think twice.
Many seem to have had their views on spending shaped by prior relationships— 60 percent said that they’d previously dated a poor money manager, making them reevaluate their priorities in a significant other.
Still, for all that it can help, bear in mind that money can’t buy a good date. Poor hygiene, bad manners, and phone dependency were all viewed to be major date killers, the survey found. Oddly enough, bragging about one’s financial savvy could also be a bad play, with a quarter of respondents perceiving such behavior repulsive.
Finally, the survey offers some advice if you’re looking to be frugal, but not cheap. (As it happens, “cheapness” carries its own separate, mostly negative connotation.)
Low tips, respondents said, are more “frugal” than cheap, as is monitoring utility usage and shopping at secondhand stores. Meanwhile, bailing on a round of drinks, refusing to upgrade an old phone, and splitting a bill down to the last cent are all considered “cheap” behaviors.
In line with conventional wisdom, the researchers found that financial responsibility develops with age. Americans are most reckless with their money at age 27, and only begin to take develop a more nuanced view at age 30. Age 38, according to the survey, is when the average American hits “peak frugal.”
Slickdeals hired British marketing agency 72Point to conduct its survey earlier this year.