A Penny Saved Is a Partner Earned: The Romantic Appeal of Savers
67 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2013 Last revised: 2 Sep 2017
Date Written: September 1, 2017
Extravagant spending is often recommended as a way to signal wealth to potential mates. However, in a series of experiments utilizing face-to-face and online dating encounters, we find that both men and women whose inclinations favor saving (“savers”) are viewed as more attractive romantic partners than men and women whose inclinations favor spending (“spenders”). Observers perceive savers as possessing greater general (across-domain) self-control than spenders, and these perceptions enhance savers’ romantic appeal. Savers are also viewed as possessing greater financial resources, but their perceived self-control is primarily responsible for their attractiveness. Savers are not viewed as particularly likely to possess positive traits that are unrelated to self-control (e.g., sociability), suggesting that savers’ greater appeal is not the result of a positive halo effect. Because self-control favors prudence over fun, dispositional and situational factors that increase the need for excitement reduce the relative desirability of savers. Our work elucidates how a fundamental consumption behavior (one’s tendency to spend or save) is perceived and is influential in romantic relationship formation.
Keywords: Decision Making, Interpersonal Relationships, Shopping, Consumer Behavior, Consumer Financial Decision Making, Attraction
JEL Classification: M31, C91
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation