February 14th, 2012

4 Bad Boyfriends + 1 Awesome Fiancé = 5 Great Money Lessons

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bad date

No one to celebrate Valentine’s Day with? Allow me to spill some juicy details about my past, like when my boyfriend thought watching him play video games was a good way for us to spend quality time together.

In my single life, I didn’t have a long list of fellas. I know it’s surprising, what with my incredible wit and charm, but it’s true. However, I did extract a money lesson or two from the relationships I did have, good and bad. What have the men* in my life taught me about money? Read on to find out.

Mr. Money-Bags: Gifts don’t buy you love. I’ve never been a big fan of gifts. Sure, it’s nice to receive a little something every once in a while, but I’ve never been one to feel loved by receiving things. I dated one guy who loved to give gifts. He bought me a CD before we were even dating (perhaps to woo me), a pricey birthday gift and roses for Valentine’s Day. While I appreciated all of the gifts, I would’ve enjoyed our time together regardless.

The Frugal Dude: Spending time together doesn’t mean spending money together. My college boyfriend was always up for a frugal adventure, whether it was hitting up a cheap, local concert or grabbing coffee at our favorite café. This was in large part due to the fact that we were both relatively broke college students. Don’t have the cash for a fancy dinner out? Dinner and a movie at home fit the frugal bill just fine for me.

The Starving Artist: Stability is sexy. I dated one guy who had a job he didn’t really like and was a musician on the side. His big goal? To make it big as a rock star. That’s all well and good, and I greatly respect creative work, but I soon realized I was more attracted to men who had a stable income and enjoyed the work that brought them that income. I consider myself ambitious, career-wise, why wouldn’t I want the guy I’m with to have a similar outlook? I guess I’m a traditionalist that way.

Mr. Gamer: There’s a difference between a frugal date and a lame date. One guy I dated assumed that watching him play video games counted as a date. I really liked him at the time, so I put up with it. But now I know: playing video games will never count as a date to me, even if it is affordable.

The One: It’s nice to lend a financial hand. When my husband and I were engaged, I was still in graduate school, and he was starting his glamorous job here in San Francisco. I was working as a teaching assistant, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a shock that he was making a fatter paycheck than I was. We wanted to start our marriage with as little debt as possible, so he offered to pay off my outstanding credit card debt. It wasn’t much, but the gesture stuck. He was acknowledging that our finances would work together in our marriage, and I’ll never forget that gesture. We’ve been helping each other out ever since; now we’re both working together to pay down his student loan debt.

What lessons—good and bad—have you learned from your past relationships?

Keep up the Karma!,

Bethy Hardeman, Social Media Maven

*Just to save some face, all of these men have wonderful redeeming qualities. I just chose the anecdotes for illustrative purposes, of course. Plus, most are happily married now.

Disclaimer: All information posted to this site was accurate at the time of its initial publication. Efforts have been made to keep the content up to date and accurate. However, Credit Karma does not make any guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For complete details of any products mentioned, visit bank or issuer website.


  1. Heh, once dated a guy who told me that when he is in a relationship, he believed in combining bank accounts. Yeah, right. No wonder, since he was always overdrawn. And he had the nerve to ask to borrow my truck. Two of my “rule” 1. I don’t lend my vehicle and 2. never ever give out my PIN.

    Kathleen at 1:58 pm on February 14, 2012
  2. Wow! Glad to hear you were smart enough not to fall for it. Good on you!

    bethy at 3:09 pm on February 14, 2012

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