A healthy, well-established part of any relationship is the exchange of tangible gifts. It says that you enjoy being with your partner and that you appreciate them. And while no woman should expect a man to empty his savings and spend excessively all the time, it can be a real pain when a man, though he has the means, fails to fulfil his financial obligations to his partner, even going to great lengths to scrimp, scrounge and conceal funds from his significant other.
Is your man a plain miser? Readers share their tales of being with or going out with unbelievably stingy men.
Shanna, 37, insurance broker:
It's not like he is broke or anything; he has the money, however, if he gets me anything, chances are it's a sale item. He also follows me to the wholesale to make sure I am not buying anything that in his eyes is unnecessary, and to make sure I compare prices and products and brands to get the best deal. It's a lot of work and embarrassment. What I hate even more is when the kids tell him that their shoes have gotten too small, and he will take out the insoles and tell them they still have some more time in them.
Ava, 28, chef:
I remember how it was with my ex — the man would measure the food we were cooking and would get vex if people came over and I offered them food that was a little pricey. He would grumble about the money for days. I remember his cousin came by and he was asking why he couldn't accept the salted peanuts instead of cashews. He would also go half and half on everything — from household shopping to date nights — and I am telling you, down to the last dollar. He wasn't afraid to dig into his pockets for coins to make the bills a perfect half.
Ashley, 35, writer:
My ex was the worst. Usually, he would just put down the money for grocery shopping, but sometimes he would invite himself to the supermarket. He had the calculator open on his phone to check as we bought and would come back to the cart to return things because he didn't think they were worth it even though I wanted them. I remember once getting to the cashier and him taking out my Always sanitary pads so he could get a much cheaper brand because “they do the same thing”.
Patrice, 34, teacher:
When he comes off the road and is putting his clothes in the laundry basket he shakes them out and does the same the day before I do laundry — with all his clothing with pockets. I have never found a dollar in his pockets. Also, he used to tell me he liked my braids, until he found out the cost to get it done, then he started telling me that I should wear my own hair because he likes a natural woman. Thank God I don't need to depend on him! Oh, and he always comes up with excuses when we should go out because I “like to choose expensive places”, so you know I just have to grab a friend and just go.
Janice, 28, beautician:
I had a man who would say Valentine's Day was for gay men, then he would malice me around the time of my birthday. And he used to take the cheap toilet paper and even branded towels from work so he wouldn't need to buy any.
I was with a guy who would buy things downtown that were close to their expiration date so that he would save on the grocery bill. He made sure to tell me that if the items went a little over the date they were still edible, and I shouldn't throw them out. He also did things like use the toothbrush to run along the toothpaste tube several times to make sure he was getting all of it out, then he would cut the tube and shove his toothbrush in there. Only then could I throw it out. Also once, and I think this was the straw that broke the camel's back, my son who lives with his dad in the States came to visit. There was a football match at the stadium and he invited my son because he was taking his son as well. My son had his pocket money... more than enough. Anyway, afterwards my son was telling me how cool he was, and that he had paid for the tickets and everything and had not taken a dollar from him. When we were going to bed, I had planned a wild night to say thanks because my son had so much fun and I was nervous about making him have a good time during his stay. Only for this man to hand me the receipts for everything he had bought for my child. I just got up, did the calculation, and refunded every dollar. After all that he had the nerve to try to touch me. I was so turned off.
Keely, 25, journalist:
My boyfriend is so mean. We started dating shortly before his birthday and I got him a really expensive pair of football shoes because he kept hinting at it. Then when my birthday was coming around, he started saying things like, “I don't celebrate birthdays” and things like that. I thought he was going to surprise me and be sweet but the day ended and still he gave me nothing. Nothing Valentine's Day either and nothing at Christmas. Nothing ever. If we take a taxi together, he will pay his own fare or ask me, “babes, you have change?” when he knows damn well he won't ever repay it. I believe in equality and I don't need a man to take care of me, but jeezam peas, man nuffi mean so!
Sherice, 29, registered nurse:
I was dating a man just this summer and he offered to take me to the beach. I asked if it was OK for two of my girlfriends to come along and he said yes. Now it wasn't a planned thing, and we aren't rich, so I told my girls to just bring their entry money for the beach, and snacks. We were going to Ocho Rios from Portmore. We didn't even make it to the highway before he started talking about his tank being empty and him thinking he left his wallet. Then he wanted toll money. Then when we got to the beach he wanted jerk chicken, boat ride, and liquor. I had to fork out about $10,000 that day. That's the first and last time I went out with him.
Peta-gaye, 27, customer service agent:
I used to go around claiming I was an independent woman until I realised that independent women only attract mean men who want to leech off them. All my exes were mean, to be honest, once they realised that I was quick to pay my own way. The last one was the worst. He caused me to change my mindset when it comes to dating. He would not only request separate bills whenever we went out for food or drinks, but he would also ask for a contribution towards grocery if I was coming by for a weekend. The last straw for me was when he picked me up from work three days in a row without me asking, and on the last day he asked if I was planning to put anything towards the gas. From that day I stopped being a feminist. If he is not spending, I'm not going. I don't even look up on dates now when a waiter comes with a bill.
Sue-Ann, 34, pharmacist:
My husband was such a cheapskate that our wedding day was one of the worst days of my life. I just wanted a small wedding to begin with, but no, he wanted to invite his entire greedy family. But of course the budget didn't increase — everything just had to be watered down. We had to change the venue from the hotel I had wanted, and had to hire his 'caterer' friend, whose food made everyone sick. When we exhausted the budget and still had things to pay for, I had to cancel my make-up artist, and just let my friend do my face. His miserly ways only got more unbearable after the marriage, and was one of the main reasons we are now separated.
Shantel, 30, accountant:
My ex was so cheap and I didn't realise until we moved in together. He would water down the ketchup, the dishwashing liquid, and even the shampoo. He must be JPS' least favourite customer because he doesn't even sleep with the outside light on. Total darkness. He even has a thing in his house to squeeze the toothpaste tube to get every single drop out. He never buys anything spontaneously — he is always complaining about the prices of things, and making me feel guilty if I buy a snack, even with my own money. I found his thriftiness a bit admirable at first, but I was a bit annoyed when he started pocketing my loose change that I left around the house and laughing, “finders keepers.” Of course it was mine, Sean! You wouldn't leave even a red cent lying around.