“My Boyfriend is Too Stingy”

My boyfriend of nine months is a bit tight with his money. He paid for some of my dinners in the beginning of the relationship, but nowadays we pay separately. This is fine, I guess, but he rarely buys me any gifts — not even a single flower. What really upset me was that the other day his cousin invited us to dinner and, even though my boyfriend and I paid separately, I saw his cousin reimburse my boyfriend for both of our meals.

I asked him why his cousin was giving him that much money, and he said that his cousin owed him money. I know for a fact that he didn’t because my boyfriend didn’t mention this before and he always mentions when he is being owed money. So what upset me the most is that I have strong suspicions that he lied to me and that his cousin indeed paid for us but my boyfriend didn’t reimburse me for my meal and took all the money for himself.

I asked him why his cousin didn’t pay and he said because another person joined us — which is true — and he didn’t want to pay for that person too.

I’m confused. He is not a bad man, but his stinginess is not a good quality. — I’m With Stingy

You say that, in the beginning of your relationship, your boyfriend treated you to a few dinners but that he has stopped doing that and he never buys you gifts. Have you ever bought him any gifts or dinners? If not, it sounds like you’re as guilty as he is of being stingy. And if the best thing you can say about the guy is: “he is not a bad man,” then perhaps his not buying you a single flower isn’t the only issue in the relationship.

Bottom line: if you’re a woman who wants a man to pay for most, or all, dates and you want gifts and you’re with a guy who isn’t interested or able to be that guy for you AND you can’t find a more compelling argument for staying together than “he is not a bad man,” then you are probably not well-matched and should find someone who’s a better fit for you. After all, you probably aren’t a “bad woman” either, but that doesn’t mean you’re the best fit for your boyfriend.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. Sunshine Brite says:

    He’s clearly not a gift giver or is going hard after some financial goal where wining and dining isn’t possible or he’s just broke. Either way, if you are a gift giver you need to think of some tangible non-monetary gifts to suggest to him. Or stop going out to eat. Or MOA. These are all viable options. Making him spend money on you is only going to lead to resentment.

  2. You asked your boyfriend why his cousin didn’t pay for your dinner? Just because someone suggests that you go to dinner together does not mean that this person is required to pay for your meals.

    Either way, it seems that your personal attitudes about money do not match those of your boyfriend. It’s not a judgment on each of your personalities, but it seems that in this regard you are likely not well matched.

    1. I think she meant that after seeing her cousin reimburse BF for dinner, she asked her boyfriend why the cousin didn’t just directly pay for the meal.

      1. Ah I definitely didn’t read it that way but that makes so much more sense.

      2. Sounds like the whole family is screwy about money.

  3. I don’t know if I necessary classify this as “stingy” LW. He could be trying to pay down debt. He could be trying to save some money. He could be saving up to buy a new car. Going out to dinner is a luxury — not everyone can afford it all the time.
    In all honesty I usually bring up money and money management with a boyfriend pretty early on in the relationship because it is very important to me. Having been with a guy in the past who was a HUGE spender (think $15k in credit card debt), I refuse to go through that again. If you’re not ready to break up with him right now, sit down and talk to him about money. You’ve been together for 9 months, I think it’s ok to start that kind of discussion. Different views on money in relationships more often than not will end the relationship.

    1. You should still be able to date while saving money. Saving for a big ticket item doesn’t mean you get to date someone for free. If that’s the case, he needs to be single until he gets his finances together.

  4. WWS!

    My initial reaction was even more along the “tough love” lines than Wendy’s, but her reply convinced me otherwise.

  5. He took his cousin’s money that was meant to reimburse you for your meal & kept it? Uh, no.

    1. That’s how I read it. This is less about being stingy and more about theft.

    2. RedroverRedrover says:

      Yes, this is messed up. I agree with Wendy’s advice so far as it goes, but the guy was definitely in the wrong here, and crossed the line from stingy to asshole.

  6. So he’s either a liar, or you think he is a liar. Either way, this doesn’t sound like it is going to work out.

  7. Monkeys mommy says:

    That was what struck me as weird too.

  8. Lily in NYC says:

    I say this as someone who prefers split everything equally with my boyfriend and I don’t really care about getting gifts. There’s frugal, and then there’s cheap. This guy sounds like a cheapskate and if it bothers you now, it’s only going to bug you more as time goes on. My BIL is super-frugal, but only with himself. He will wear the same pair of pants until they fall apart, but he realizes it’s his own issue and is not remotely cheap with my sister and their daughter.
    On the other hand, It doesn’t sound like you are looking for extravagant gifts – more like a token of his feelings for you. And you aren’t even getting that from him. Does he show his affection in other ways? He doesn’t seem like a great fit for you.

  9. lonemirage14 says:

    I agree with Lily in NYC – there’s a difference between a cheapskate and being frugal. Any relationship, whether its romantic or not, is balanced by the give and take on both sides. I have a friend who I help out on the side for free and in return he refuses to let me pay for anything when we go out, and while I always offer to pay (and am prepared to pay) he doesn’t let me and that’s kind of our deal. On the flip side, a good friend of mine has taken advantage of my kindness one too many times and I will no longer put in as much into the relationship because I don’t get enough back to make it worthwhile, whether its financial or not.

    I was raised in a family that believes the man should pay, and while I am totally fine with splitting or picking up the tab on an equal basis, I do find that I tend to be turned off by guys who don’t at least offer to pay. It may be considered old school, but I don’t see as controlling, like some do, or insulting as some others do, to me its just the proper thing to do.

  10. Hello,

    I am the lady who posted this comment. I forgot to mention Wendy that indeed I buy him constantly gifts and he was the one who told me that his cousin has invited us for dinner and he will pay for it.

    I am questioning whether he lied to me or not? And whether he did this out of stinginess.
    I am not expecting him to pay for everything but I would appreciated being treated sometimes.
    He is not a bad man and of course I am not a bad woman ! I am just expressing my concerns and I wanted to see another view.

    1. It sure sounds like he took the money meant for you and lied about it. Someone wanting to not spend their own money is stingy…which he is if he doesn’t treat you on occasion given you treat him. Someone not wanting to return someone else’s money to them is thieving. And I don’t know about you – but that’s bad.

      1. It also sounds like you two express your feelings in very different ways. You buy him gifts “constantly” and it seems that this is the way you want to feel his affection for you. Someone else also said this, but perhaps he’s showing you that he cares but in different ways. Although pocketing money meant for you is a jerk-face move.

    2. If you buy him things and he does not reciprocate for any reason other than financial distress, I would treat that dinner case as a decisive insight into his true character. MOA.

      1. Sunshine Brite says:

        I agree that the dinner was insightful and she should probably MOA since they don’t match financially, but I disagree that the only reason to not reciprocate is financial distress. I’m not a big gift giver, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about the people who give me gifts. Frankly, I would be stressed out if someone constantly gave me gifts for no reason and I certainly wouldn’t be racking my brain on how to constantly reciprocate.

      2. I agree with your “constantly” but the LW said “rarely.”

  11. jilliebean says:

    Aside from the possible stinginess of your boyfriend, I think you need to push the issue to find out if the cousin paid for your dinner. If he did for your dinner, and you didn’t thank him (because you were told he did not), that sure makes you look rude. Is it possible for you to ask the cousin if he treated for the meal?

  12. Wendy (not Wendy) says:

    Way more concerned that the LW doesn’t feel like she can take his word re: who paid for dinner than anything else. If you can’t trust him on this relatively minor matter–whether that’s because he isn’t trustworthy or you’re unreasonably suspicious–how can you trust him about anything?

  13. This seem like a problem I have been faced with my on and off boyfriend. We met in our early 20s and at the time he was very broke n a student so I thought he wasn’t in any position to support me but, I was der for him through thick and thin, without any conditions. Sometimes I would support him from the little I got from my parents and one time bought a parcel for his mum on mother’s day on his behalf. To cut a long story short, he made it through school n started earning good money but guess wat? He didn’t do anything to show how he appreciates me. I visited him couple of times n he will give money for his family n just give me something dat could only cater for my transport and those were the times I needed his support most cos I was tite with money too.

    We eventually broke up upon hearing he had other plans which I confronted him over n to my surprise he confirmed what I heard was true. Speed up to 8 months ago after 5 years we hooked up again n he talks how big he has made it n how he regrets letting me go buy guess what? He always gives me excuses anytime I ask for a support , I lost my job few months before we met again which he knows very much. The final straw is wen he jokingly told me to steal money because I had asked him to pay for after morning pill.

    I think am leaving him again n dis time for good.

  14. Im facing the same problem , dating a bf for 8 months who will goes on dutch for most meals after we confirm as couple. He is a frugal person who also dont spent on himself only if necessary. He will only buys little stuff like drinks or snacks. I have chatted recently with him on wanting him to pamper me occasionally and not buying me for every meals. He didnt give a firm a yes or no answer on my expectations.

    Im just as confused and really dont know to write him off or not..

  15. Anonymous says:

    Women have to pay bills buy clothes. Buy house supplies. Get something for herself only if she can get the whole household something .
    I want a man who does as much for me and the family just as much as I would. . But gurl he’s just saving his money. Hell if i didnt have bills,kids to clothe and feed and finacial responsibilty. I would save all my money 2. But no Im busy buying everything need alonr????

  16. Leave this kinda man… Woman deserve to be treated like a queen. Got lots flowers even when not Valentine’s day if he really love you he will give all he have for you.. although flowers.. he might give you diamond rings.. holiday trip…. Etc. U just need to be brave to leave him. He is worse. Trust me.

  17. Ok, I’ll be the odd one out. The short: He idolizes money plain and simple. Leave him. People idolize all kinds of things but a person who worships money like a god will be the one that does that abnormal, beyond senseless thing over money that you see on the news.

    The long: You’re both incompatible. He needs a masculine woman who likes to be the head of household, be in control and pay for everything, or maybe a woman who has it all and is tired of men trying to buy her love. Yes some women get tired of money!

    You need a man who values people first and one who values YOU enough to spend money on you.

    Now, if you expect to be treated like royalty, you’re in the wrong but I don’t think that’s what I read here. You just want reciprocation. And darn it, you’re right. Don’t let any one here tell you that that’s wrong. Some will throw equality in your face, etc… But these are the men who want to be cheapskates and the women who want to look attractive to men (as well as some of them not embracing their femininity and wanting to be masculine).

    Sounds like you just want to be appreciated. You deserve to be. Don’t fight it!

    Let me tell you a secret, men who treat you in this way do NOT VALUE YOU. This means they can care less if they lose you. There will always be some story of a woman who has her dream husband who is the same and can prove me wrong but he is the EXCEPTION and not the rule. Don’t be mislead. Think about it. A man that truly does not want to lose a woman will be on his best behavior for as long as he wants her in his life (the same is true for women). Why? Because he knows you’re a catch and that there is competition out there. He knows that if he can’t bring to the table what you are looking for, you might move on. Women do the same thing and are known for even changing themselves to stay in his good graces. It’s not rocket science.

    Another note, guys value what they spend their hard earned money on. That new 90inch flat screen, that upgraded iPhone, that new sports car that he over-waxes every month— they mean something to him. MUCH more than a crappy beater car, a junk prepaid phone, or an old school tv. Heck, even that ex that took him for everything he had but you wonder why he can’t tell her no means alot to him. Why? Because he’s invested a lot into these things (and her) and he can’t turn away from them so easily. It’s called VALUE.

    Of course it sounds an awful lot like objectification… and it is, no surprise there. No matter how many feminists get upset about it, still not going to change it.

    But the same is true about women and our vaginas. Virginity explicitly but even non-virgins don’t give it away to every guy they meet (unless they are devalued themselves enough to not see their worth). Otherwise women would be sleeping with every guy that takes them out to dinner. Why do you think men are always wanting to score on a dinner date? Because he knows that it’s probably a NO-GO because even men know how much we value our vajayjays.

    Yes women choose who they want to go to bed with but they also choose who they do NOT want to and that is because they perceive value in their vaginas. Women value our bodies more than men and men value money more than their bodies. YES there are EXCEPTIONS to the rule (as I’m sure every man on here will claim to be).

    Women part with money easily. We will give away our entire paycheck to someone in need without thinking twice but will not sleep with a guy unless we want to. That’s because we value it more than money.

    Now that you know the secret, it doesn’t make him a bad guy, it’s just how they are wired. Both men and women want to protect their assets.

    Why do you think some women go bonkers when a guy disappears after sex with her? Because she invested herself into him and gave him something of value. Then some men go MGTOW after a woman they gave the world leaves him, but didn’t blink twice about the one who took nothing from him. YES, some go against the grain but again, exception to the rule.

    A cheap man is hard to deal with but there is hope. A stingy man is a pain in the rear. A cheap man will be cheap to himself as well as you but will try to do what he can to provide in the limits of his comfort zone. A stingy man will only be stingy with you while not only living it up himself but also taking what you have to give as well! He will see you starve while he chomps down on a burger in your face because he only had enough for one. Stinginess is selfishness. You do not want to get caught with a guy like this in an emergency situation. Chivalry is definitely dead with him and he WILL choose himself over you in a life or death situation, even if he had higher odds of survival.

    I caution you to tread carefully with a stingy man. True story. Very many years ago, my child’s father and I were together for 7 years. He was so stingy, he stopped trying to hide it. He was publicly stingy. We shared a joint account but he would not let me spend my own money. When we would go shopping together, he would not let me buy myself anything (like toiletries, small cosmetics) because he claimed my income as his money. He could buy whatever he wanted to but he would belittle me if I tried to use my money on myself.
    It got so bad that when we had to shop together, I would tell him before we left the car, that he didn’t have to worry because I had cash on me and I wasn’t going to use our joint account, (which became a regular disclaimer). He would always disappear when we went to the checkout or he would go and get in another line to buy his items just in case, I was short and needed some extra change.

    There were worse cases but let me tell you when I finally left him, not only did he not pay child support for 7+ months, but he used to argue with me about needing to help support his child! All while he came over and used my washer/dryer, ate my food, etc… NEVER offering a dime to help with her.

    He would say well, she doesn’t eat that much and I didn’t tell you to leave. He was punishing our child because I had to leave him for his abuse.

    This man was so stingy that he would be OKAY with our daughter not being provided for even while he sat in luxury. I waited a long time but finally I had to get the courts involved. I didn’t want to but it was clear that he was never going to do the right thing.

    Of course my relationship was abusive but stinginess LEADS TO ABUSE! A stingy man will have you thinking that you are not worth a penny. He will destroy your self-esteem and think nothing of it.

    Back to the topic, you are buying him gifts (as is normal in a healthy relationship), he is OKAY with you going dutch ALL THE TIME. He NEVER just surprises you. (This is a friend zone IMO– no, coworker zone). But now, he is stealing money from you! Your spidey senses are up. Good for you.

    Let’s get real, it’s not that he is downright scamming you on the reimbursement that’s bothering you. It’s not that he lied to your face and made a clown out of you because he thinks you fell for it. It’s not even that you want a gift every now and then. It’s that he has chosen to YET AGAIN value MONEY more than he values YOU & what you bring to the table. Deep down you feel like all of that goodness that you shower him with, all that love that you chose to share with HIM and not some other guy, all that bonding that meant something to you might mean NOTHING to him. You think that somehow him being stingy with you means that he’s not really into you. And you are right. Before you convince yourself that he’s a ‘not-bad’ guy or he does this and that that makes up for it, it’s still not good enough for you because if it was, you would have brushed it off by now. It means something to you because you value a guy who values you. You like to be appreciated and vulnerable and don’t like to worry what someone’s intentions are with you and if you should pull back because he might not be into you. You don’t need the head games. 9 months is plenty of time for the both of you to have gained trust.

    Let’s not candy coat him, your guy might not be a bad man but he’s not a good man either. Thief & scammer under the belt = not good guy.

    Sadly, you can bet Mr.StingyScammer will not be stingy forever. He will loosen his tightfist when he meets the one he WANTS to invest in.

    The guy who is compatible for you WILL spend money on you. He will do it because he VALUES you and all that you bring to the table and he does not want to lose it. He will not only spend money on you but he will also take other things that bother you into consideration. It will not matter if he is a cheap or previously stingy guy. He will do it for YOU.

    I am 65 now and have been married to the love of my life for the past 20 who doesn’t blink twice about spending money on me. I don’t abuse his generosity and he doesn’t take mine for granted. We are retired now but even then, his money was $$/hour and he didn’t mind spending all those hours of labor on ME. You will meet someone who thinks you are worth his money (and time), once you decide to get rid of the cheapskate who couldn’t even do the honorable thing and give you your dinner money back.

    No doubt, I will get harassed and insulted for this truth but they all have an agenda (see above). Everybody wants to be attractive to other people, even the married ones. They want people to like them and admitting that you’re worth spending money and time on is likened with ‘pay for play’ but you & I know better. It’s all very true and don’t you ever forget it.

    When you age and date more people you will see for yourself how men who invest in you (in some capacity) treat you entirely different than those who do not.

    Blessings to you

    1. God bless you ma, you couldn’t have said it any better. This exactly my thought concerning my current boyfriend of 3years I just haven’t been able to put it in words accurately like you have. More wisdom in Jesus name.
      I feel so good reading this.

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