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Ask Dave

You're Dating A Hyper Tightwad

Pam thinks Dave is interfering in her dating life. Every time Pam wants to do something or buy something, her boyfriend tells her it's not in the budget. Dave thinks he's a little too intense.

QUESTION: Pam in Dallas is dating someone seriously, and she thinks Dave is interfering in some of their activities. Every time Pam wants to do something or buy something, she says her boyfriend tells her it’s not in the budget. He gave her one of Dave’s books on the second date. Dave thinks he’s a little too intense.

ANSWER: I don’t think I’m interfering. I think he’s a goob! You don’t give a girl a financial book on the second date! Did he give you a diet book on the third date? I mean, my gosh! He’s a real romantic, isn’t he? I wrote the book, and you shouldn’t do that. That’s funny.

Penny wise and pound foolish is when you spend money on the wrong thing and it costs you more money later. That’s not what you’re talking about. You’re just saying he’s a hyper tightwad.

Yes, he’s being too much of a tightwad. You are dating a hyper tightwad. Dave Ramsey didn’t cause that. He had that in his nature before me. The thing that he has learned that most Americans haven’t learned—that you keep saying makes him a great guy—is he’s learned to delay pleasure, to sacrifice in order to win. Your only complaint is that he has taken that to such an extreme after he has already won.

You could save for things you want to do. That would be okay.

Let me tell you what normally happens in marriages. I’ve been counseling folks who are married and single for 20 years on finances. Normally, the tightwad attracts the spender. The saver attracts the spender. The spender attracts the saver. You need each other. You have acknowledged you need some of his attributes plugged into your life, and especially if you become married, you would want to use those attributes to be able to win. He needs to acknowledge that a saver needs a spender in their life so they have a life. You need to come out of the cave on something other than triple-coupon Thursday.

I think you’re right. I think that he loosens up about two notches over, but I think your credibility to get him to do that with the way you run your life is very low because when he sees you suggesting that, he says, “Wow! If I do anything she says, I could end up like her.” That’s what’s running through his mind. He may not say that. He may not vocalize it, but he’s going, “Gosh, I don’t want to follow any advice she has about money.” When you start being more disciplined and move—not all the way over to his side, not all the way to the dark side—from irresponsibility to responsibility, from disorganization to organization, you’re still going to be a spender by nature. You’re just going to be more mature about it and more thoughtful. When you do that, I think he’ll probably start to loosen up and start to enjoy his money, which is your role in his life—getting him to enjoy it. He needs to get you more organized and saving, and you’re going to pull him across the spectrum the other way.