Insights & Advice From Bank Of Tennessee


Is Your Significant Other a Tightwad?

Is Your Significant Other a Tightwad?

Tightwad. Miser. Stingy. Cheapskate. Any word you use for it, people who are reluctant to spend can be hard to live with. If your significant other is someone who is less than enthusiastic about spending money — to the point of pain for you — it is wise to consider having a genuine conversation to discover how deep those roots are, and whether it may someday do real damage to your relationship.

Still not sure if your significant other is among this group? Consider these things.

Signs That Your Significant Other is a Tightwad

Whether you have deep-seated doubts or are just beginning to ask the question, it is essential to understand that there are meaningful differences between frugality and cheapness.

These are a few signs that your significant other is a tightwad:

  • Your SO never offers to pay for dinner, Uber, concert or movie tickets, etc.
  • Your SO never has cash on hand to pay for essential things.
  • Your SO often forgets to bring a wallet along on dates.
  • Your SO makes up complaints in search of discounts.
  • Your SO only takes you on dates that are free (beach dates, kite flying, free museum days, etc.).
  • Your SO is a poor tipper.
  • Your SO expects you to pay for your half.
  • Your SO is not big on buying little gifts to make you feel special.
  • Your SO does not want to purchase new things for the home or make needed repairs or upgrades.

When you see these signs, it is a good idea to evaluate the situation and determine how vital these things are to you. In some instances, it may indicate that your significant other is goal-oriented and saving for bigger things in life, like a home, once-in-a-lifetime trip, or for retirement. At the same time, it could indicate a considerable mismatch in spending priorities that will generate years of fighting and unhappiness.

Having an Open Conversation with Your Spouse About Money

If you are married, the need for an open conversation, while painful, carries new importance. If your spending habits and preferences are wildly different, you will need to find areas of compromise so that your needs and desires are also being met.

The conversation itself can help identify the origin of your partner's excessively frugal, cheapskate ways and hopefully offer some sort of resolution for both of you. At the very least, it can help you both understand each others' perspectives to aid in future money troubles. Sometimes it is fear that causes excessive frugality. Often such behavior is the result of lessons from the past and a desire to avoid repeating them.

The critical point is that conversations lead to understanding, which can create resolutions that help keep both parties happier in the relationship.

How to Compromise

Learning to compromise when it comes to money matters is extremely important. In fact, financial arguments are among the most ordinary that couples have. Realize that as pained as you are with your partner's unwillingness to spend, your partner may be equally uncomfortable if you spend too freely.

You must learn to compromise so that you are both more comfortable with money matters in your relationship.

These are areas where compromise and taking steps can be helpful:

  • Step one: Create a budget that manages necessities and saving first.
  • Step two: Establish monthly “allowances” for luxuries, entertainment, dinners out, etc.
  • Step three: Designate specific savings accounts and deposits for specific goals, general emergency funds, retirement, etc.


The key takeaways when you have concerns over the tightwad ways of your significant other includes:

  • There are many causes of tightwad behaviors.
  • Your partner may be compensating for perceived excess spending by you.
  • Open and honest conversations can bring a greater understanding for both parties.
  • Learning to compromise can bring greater happiness all around.

Understanding each other and finding practical compromises can ultimately save or even enhance your relationship. Or, you might both come to the conclusion that there is no middle ground to meet at. And that might be helpful too.