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How can I find a frugally-minded spouse?

Every other Monday, I answer a few of the questions that my readers send me. If you have a question you’d like me to answer in a future Q&A post, just leave a comment here or email me (thefrugalgirl [at] gmail [dot] com) and put Q&A in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!

Every so often, this question or a variation thereof hits my inbox, but I don’t think we’ve covered this topic in a Q&A post before.

Here’s a recent iteration:

Hi Kristen. I have a rather simple question (although I expect that the answer may not be so simple). I am a 31-year-old male who is religiously frugal. My primary purpose in life is to save the majority of my work income, in order to be able to capitalize on investment opportunities in the years to come, which will allow me to retire early and enjoy absolute financial independence. As such, frugality plays a big part in my life.

My question is: How do I go about finding a woman who shares these same ideals?

The woman I’m currently dating – although she may not be an outright spendthrift – does not share the same passion for frugality that I have. Her willingness to spend money on nonessential items – as opposed to saving and investing said money for our retirement – infuriates me. Actually, most of the people in my life – family, friends, significant other, etc. – behave this way.

So, I guess my revamped question is:

How do I deal with all of the people in my life (loved ones and colleagues) who cause me great distress, due to the fact that they don’t share the same values as I do when it comes to saving money? Do I stop associating with them altogether and focus on my financial goals? Or is there another, less drastic, solution I can implement?


James P.

Hi James!

I definitely admire your commitment to saving and reaching your goal of financial independence.   I suspect you already read there, but if not, I’m sure you’d enjoy hanging out on Mr. Money Mustache’s blog. There are lots of high-earning, frugal-minded people over there who are anxious to retire early.

(And maybe you’ll bump into some singles over there!)

I have kind of a long and rambly answer because of the multiple issues raised in your question, but I’ll do my best to organize it into something readable.


Finding a Frugal Person

I got married when I was 19, so I have very little experience in the dating world.   My inexperienced thought, though, is that you could try hanging out where frugal people hang out (a library book club/a swap party/ an investing class vs. a swanky bar).

I’d definitely also give online dating a try, because there you can specify that you’re looking for someone with similar financial goals.


You didn’t ask about this, but I’m a little concerned about the fact that you said your primary purpose in life is to save money.

I know that’s surprising coming from someone as frugal as me, but I think you should consider revamping your priorities a little bit in order to make room for some other fulfilling things.

The thing is, if your primary purpose in life is to save money, I’m not sure you’ll be able to have a successful romantic relationship or be a good parent or friend.   If saving is your primary focus, you’re basically married to saving and relationships will only be good until they happen to get in the way of your money.

(Even if you do find someone super frugal, odds are good that at some point, that person will get in the way of your money!)

Financial Compatibility

Once you’ve rearranged your priorities a bit to make room for a romantic relationship, I do think you should look for someone who has somewhat similar financial priorities.

finding a compatible partner

Notice I said somewhat, though.

You should look for someone who eschews debt, values saving, and wants to live simply, but I think you should be open to a little variance from a carbon copy of you.

I’m not saying you should date a woman with a weekly Jimmy Choo habit, but you might want to relax your standards just a bit.

See, although it can be very painful for us frugal people, it’s often beneficial to be married to someone a little different than yourself.

Mr. FG and I are basically on the same page financially.   We both want to live without debt, save for our future, and spend responsibly, but still, Mr. FG holds money more loosely and I hang onto it more tightly.

While this can be frustrating at times for both of us, it’s also been healthy for us.   I’ve taught Mr. FG how to be better at saving, and he’s helped me grow in generosity.

Also, remember that a person is more than the sum of their spending habits.

Financial compatibility does not a relationship make.   It’s important, but it’s not the only thing you should look for.

Worry About Yourself

As far as non-dating relationships go, don’t let other people’s spending habits bother you unless they’re expecting you to spend like them or are expecting to borrow money from you.  

While it would be great if everyone was financially responsible, you can’t stress out over everyone else’s spending.   Save your mental energy for your own finances.

And again, people are more than the sum of their spending.   If you only allow yourself to be friends with the small portion of the population that’s as frugal as you, you might deprive yourself of some pretty great relationships.


Readers, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this (and I’m sure James would too.)

The floor, it is yours.

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Thursday 20th of November 2014

once a person has a child, they usually change their priorities , now it's time to be responsible parent first and frugal second

david t. in fayetteville, ga

Friday 8th of August 2014

Kristin, I think you gave a very even answer. I especially like what you advised in a very kind way concerning priorities. Of course, there is more to life than saving money and even in that the emphasis is money or accumulating it. Not very fulfilling if you ask me. And I would also add... the Bible, Matthew 6.19-21.

david t. in fayetteville, ga

Sunday 10th of August 2014

Kristen, sorry for the misspelling.


Friday 8th of August 2014

Ok, I'm going to stand up for James. I didn't find the use of his word "infuriating" nearly as offensive as others did. He probably just meant it frustrates him to see people waste money. He's set his goals - it's a free country, why discourage him from living his life the way HE wants to. That having been said, I say just go live your life. When you find the love of your life you will know and frugal or not, if she really is the love of your life, she will respect your goals (and you hers) and you'll work out a compromise so that you do save for your goals and also smell the roses along the way. The comments may have contained some good advice, but man did you guys come down hard on him (and no, I am not the OP).


Friday 8th of August 2014

I definitely agree that he's free to live the way he wants to live. But my concern was just that if his main purpose in life is saving, he'll have a rough time being successful in a relationship. My purpose wasn't to bash him, but to gently point out that maybe some priority-shifting would be helpful.


Thursday 7th of August 2014

Hey - off topic here (in fact, almost against the spirit of the question asked!) but I love the bracelet in the second photograph! Is that you Kristin? Can you let me know where it is from? Is it one from the Novica site you have mentioned?



Thursday 7th of August 2014

It's actually my cousin...I was the one behind the camera. I'll check with her to see where she got it!

Laura Vanderkam

Wednesday 6th of August 2014

I'm really curious what this guy wants to retire early to do. Once he's achieved financial independence, what's he going to do with his time? There must be something. I hope. You wake up one morning and you're financially independent. So what will you be doing at 10 a.m.? Maybe there's some way to incorporate that into his life now so he's not so obsessive as he sounds in this post, and which I have a hard time thinking many women will be in to.

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