Econ 101: Saving Money

After living with my fiance for a few months now, I’ve come to realize that men and women have a vastly different definition of saving money. For instance, my fiance will return from the mall every Sunday afternoon with several armloads of shopping bags, a car trunk full of more merchandise and a delivery truck idling in the driveway. I, being the designated curmudgeon of the household, raise a suspicious eyebrow when she enters the door. Before I say a word, she will instantly begin a defense of her extravagant spending and boast of all the money she saved

Now, unless those shopping bags are full of deposit receipts from our local bank, I fail to see how any saving has occurred. In my miserly book, spending money can ever be considered saving money. I learned quickly that when she’s eager to share the news of her “savings,” she’s not referring to her 401k. To my dismay, she instead held up an endless parade of jeans, sweaters, jewelry, makeup and dozens of other “necessities” that up to this point we had somehow miraculously managed to live without. Some people save for retirement by investing in bonds and stocks, we on the other hand, have our “savings” diversified in GAP clothing, Latte’s and extended warranties.

Tragically, this logic is lost on my fiance. She comes home expecting praise for all the “good buys” and “great sale prices” she found; instead she gets a microeconomics lesson from Professor Scrooge P. Pennypincher (a.k.a. Me). Somehow, in a form of girl-math I’ll never understand, a woman can empty her bank account in a shopping spree, yet still feel she is somehow coming out ahead. In fact, I wonder if women come home from shopping trips and worry about having to claim this new “income” on their tax return.

Sensing my initial frustration, my fiance is convinced that if she shows me all of her purchases and itemizes her spending aloud I’ll suddenly realize what a great deal we got on stuff we didn’t need. During this fashion show, sometimes she will treat me like a contestant on “The Price Is Right” and ask me to guess the “actual retail price” of her items. Since “Plinko” chips or a possible “Showcase Showdown” are not on the line, my enthusiasm is somewhat lacking. Of course, the grand finale comes when she announces the rock-bottom price she paid, and awaits my series of back flips while she reminds the audience to have their pets spayed or neutered…

Of course, this reaction doesn’t come. The saddest part of this struggle is the contrast in lifestyles we lead. My fiance makes Paris Hilton look frugal, while I’m basically living like an Amish street-urchin. I’m not ashamed to admit I still wear Homecoming ’94 T-shirts from high school and have hole-filled underwear on right now. It’s very frustrating, unlike my fiance, I can only dream of indulging in luxurious items like “bottled water” and having clothes “dry cleaned.”

Naturally, the stores and retail chains are complicit in this operation. This is especially maddening, as the stores know a woman will buy something she already has, or worse, doesn’t even need because it is On Sale! In fact, I think women’s clothing boutiques don’t even bother printing the total amount of their purchase, since women aren’t really concerned with that figure anyway. Instead, they boldly display a grand total of their “savings,” and bury the actual money spent somewhere in the fine print or on illegible carbon paper… Using a formula of inflated regular prices, tons of advertising, and fictitious “sales,” the stores have managed to transform shopping into an investment opportunity. Women leave the stores well dressed and penniless, yet somehow feeling shrewd over the dealings. Of course, when I point this out, I’m not being a savvy consumer, but rather, the cheapskatiest man on earth.

So, anyway, sorry if this got a little verbose, I just have a lot of time to think about these issues during my graveyard shifts at the second job I’ve taken to pay off our staggering bills. But fear not, I’ve decided to go on the offensive… This Sunday I plan to set my alarm for 4 am so I can race to the driveway and divulge the paper of its plentiful ads. And, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go rip all the cable jacks out of my house, as JC Penney launched a new commercial using the teaser: “The more you spend, the more you save!!!” God help us…

8 thoughts on “Econ 101: Saving Money”

  1. The bigger frustration when dealing with women’s money management is their complete lack of priorities. They will happily “save money on every purchase” even if that purchase is the tenth plain white t-shirt they have needed in two months. They have the gall to turn around and tell you how huge of a waste of money the case of beer in the fridge is. Truley women can not expect a modern man to live without the necessary support that we need. A wise investment like a x-box jumps right up to the top of their list of money wasteing. Untill the day that a women can come home to a man and verbally itemize the savings she got at the liquor store and local strip club, never will men and women see savings the same.

  2. Yes, I think that just about every man can relate to this. This is true with every woman that I’ve ever met. Even if you miraculously find one that seems to be as cheap, or should I say smart, as you, she will find a way to totally destroy any confidence you had in her in about 2 hours in any public place. I must admit that my girlfriend is pretty damn good at saving money. She amazes me because she can go for weeks eating nothing but top ramen and the cheapest tv dinners money can buy, but then somehow find the money to buy $80 pants at nordstroms or $20 a bottle vitamins. It is ludicrous I tell you, total lack of priorities! Women can seriously deprive themselves of basic needs (food, water, what have you) in order to lavish themselves with unnecessary things. It is a dilemna that will plague man for eternity. Krusty, she will never know how much joy that case of beer in the fridge brings you, no matter how much you try to explain it to her. Of course, you know this. Good stuff MR.

  3. Have you heard? A guy will spend twice as much for something he needs. A girl will spend half as much for something she doesn’t need.

  4. Men simply have different priorities. While men think it’s outrageous that we spend our money on clothes, why would anyone buy an X-box game or Subscribe to X-box live? In the eyes of most women, that is one surefire way to throw your money away. I think the other point that you may have missed in the complaining about how many truck loads of clothes come into the house is that she is making her money stretch farther. She can buy more things for less money, and since it’s her money, isn’t she entitled to do that?

  5. The parade isn’t only about showing you how much I saved us, it’s also about enlightening you on all the things that are out there for our consumption. If I didn’t frequent the malls as often as I do how would you know which shade of denim is currently in style?

  6. i do agree that women spend more money than men, but you guys should understand, you’re generally, not stylin’. MR, you should be kissing your wife’s feet for helping you with your fashion. has anyone ever heard of, “you get what you pay for.” i know none of you would play a nintendo 64, even though they’re mad cheap. same goes for clothes. that sears button-up and tie needs to go. thank you J.

  7. i’m noticing the date of the last post was over two years ago, but wanted to let you know how much i’ve enjoyed reading these comments.

    i have been going through the same ordeal with my girlfriend ever since she moved in with me. looking through her closet, i would dare to say that at least 10% of the clothes still have tags on them. so much for saving money!

    please tell me it gets better once you’re married? ;)

  8. What I don’t understand are the women that get student loans, credit cards, and borrow money and hope for that the rich bachelor that will come along and pay all of their bills for them because they love them. People in this age are just as screwed up and clueless as those in other ages. When people don’t have to work for money, they don’t realise what it takes to pay back that money, or hell even save a little. My fiance gives me greif because the meager living that I make is enough to pay my bills, her bills and is not enough to blow on every little thing she wants. She drives a new car, I drive a beater. It’s a case of haves who want more and have nots trying to make it out alive. I have to appologize to her because I get frustrated with the repetitive attempts to get blood from a rock and Mr logical nice guy gets defensive and becomes like daddy. Any ideas?

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