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Are Penny Pinchers Prettier than Other People?

When many of us think about attracting a potential mate, we consider what we wear, what car we drive, and other somewhat shallow items. But what if that’s not what really matters to those we are trying to impress?

What if what matters more is frugality?

According to a paper released by researchers at the Ross School of Business [3] at the University of Michigan, frugal people are more romantically attractive than free spenders.

Why is Frugality So Attractive?

In order to figure out whether penny pinching makes people prettier, the researchers at the University of Michigan presented pictures of similarly attractive people to different groups. The study participants were told that the people in the pictures were either spenders or savers. Those who were identified as savers were seen as more romantically attractive than their spending counterparts.

So, why does it matter what type of money personality you have [4]?

The researches think that frugality indicates some other desirable traits — and it’s not just about the money. Sure, those identified as savers likely have better financial resources than those seen as spenders. However, that’s not the only reason that people are attracted to savers.

Those who are frugal are perceived as having a certain amount of self-control and discipline. Not only does frugality indicate a likelihood of financial security, but it might also mean that a potential partner is likely to engage in other activities considered “good.” Savers might be better looking because they eat right and exercise like they should; the idea is that discipline in money matters equals discipline in health matters.

And, of course, on a long-term basis, the thought is that your partner will “wear better” over time if he or she has good health habits. The researchers suggest that health and frugality go hand-in-hand, and that could be one of the reasons that savers make such attractive mates.

Do You Admire Penny Pinchers?

According to a survey put out by CouponCabin [5], more than 25% of American adults have pulled out a coupon on a first date. Even better: 73% of respondents said that they would keep dating someone who used a coupon on a date.

There are those that attribute the attractiveness of savers to the shifting attitudes accompanying the Great Recession and its aftermath. Prior to the Great Recession, many people were afraid of being seen as “cheap.” Now, though, saving is sexy. There is more interest in getting good deals, and showing that you have restraint when it comes to money matters. In fact, a good financial foundation is so important that bad credit can ruin your marriage prospects [6].

My husband and I are both kind of spendy. While we like to get good value for our money, we don’t consider ourselves frugal. Personally, I’m not sure how I would feel about trying to date a penny pincher. I think I might just end up exasperated — and possibly feeling guilty because I don’t have that same level of commitment to coupon clipping [7] and saving every cent available.

What do you think? Do you think saving is sexy? Or are you ok with a free spender?

(Photo: theilr [8])