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Jour 112: Love: The Frugality Audit

How Frugal Is Love?

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward save money by only using one bicycle.

I'm serious, you guys. I think that love might be the least frugal thing you can do.

I got to thinking about this while my little cat was off getting her kittycat surgery yesterday. [Note: she's home and totes fine! Thx to everybody who donated!] Because, when the vet called in the first place for her check-up, I booked her in without a second thought. It's important to know it Hepburn is well or not, even though the check-up is costly. And when they said she needed to get cat surgery, I didn't consider not doing it. I mean, this is my little furry pal and I'd just anything for her.

While emotional and understandable, these feelings weren't frugal.

But, like Audrey Hepburn and her cat, I am fully devoted to my cat.

The frugal thing to do would have been to either a) not take her to the vet, b) put her out on the street to fend for herself [Note: she's actually quite street smart, so that wouldn't have been like a death sentence - she'd be going all Oliver & Company out there], or c) to go back in time and never to have adopted her in the first place.

But no, she's my cat and I love her and so I will spend whatever I need to for her well-being.

I suspect people with children think of their children the same way, despite their kids doing annoying things like being born unable to walk or bury their own poo in litter boxes. But I've already discussed how cats are better than babies, or dogs.

But seriously, is love frugal? Let's investigate!

As Kim and Kris learned, weddings are expensive (particularly theirs), but divorces can be even more so (particularly theirs).
I got some input via Twitter from some very smart ladies including @serendipity85@deenadollars@wellheeledblog@blondeonabudget, and @stephtheblogger. Here are some of their pros and cons:

Being in a relationship can be more expensive. Going out on dates (buying movie tickets, restaurant meals) adds up. If you're on your own, chances are you'll stay in more and do these sorts of things less. (Frugal Love Con)

But if you're on your own, you can still go to movies and meals, in group type situations, where it's less likely that someone who loves you will pay for you. (Frugal Love Pro)

It's more expensive to be dating, but once you settle down, it becomes more cost-effective. So, if you spend more time in a relationship than you do playing the field, it will be more frugal. But if you spend more time playing the field and are only in a short relationship (proportionally) then you're losing money. (Frugal Love Pro/Con)

Basically, looking for love is not very frugal - between the memberships on dating websites, paying to go to cooking classes and wherever people meet other people, buying drinks at bars, going on a variety of first dates with people, the maintenance to always look attractive so as to make people love you - it all adds up. (Frugal Love Con)

Seriously, Bridget Jones spent a lot of money in her singleton days.

But if you do find love, you can live together in a 1-bedroom apartment, which is way cheaper than living on your own in a 1-bedroom, and also cheaper than having a roommate (as it's best to have more than 1 bedroom when living with a roommate). Say you and your lovah each pay $800/month in rent, then you move in together. That's $400 savings! Also, if you share your finances with your lovah, then you have dual income and can diversify your income which means less risk. (Frugal Love Pro x 2)

But living together does not necessarily equal love. Lots of people move in together to save money without thinking of the long-term consequences. What happens if (and when) the relationship ends? Do you stay living together [awkward!]? Do you move our right away, which could mean that you can't carefully select your  new living arrangement and so you might wind up somewhere more expensive than if you'd had more time to search for an apartment? (Frugal Love Con)

There are also tax benefits to being married, along with the cheaper housing stuff. If you don't have kids and cohabitate with someone you love? Then that's the most frugal arrangement. (Frugal Love Pro)


Frugal Love Pros: 5
Frugal Love Cons: 4

Frugal Icon Rachel McAdams on a frugal date with her ex, Ryan Gosling.

Love is frugal!!

... or is it? Because, seriously. Love isn't something you can just choose to do to save money like cancelling cable or making your own dish detergent. Looking for love is an investment of time and energy that, frankly, may never work out for you. Is it more frugal to look for love, knowing you may never find it, or to just accept ones spinsterhood and live in the woods using tree bark as a hairbrush?*

That's for you to decide.

[* Because the most frugal lifestyle, as I've discussed before, is one where you live in the woods, don't interact with any other humans, eating dirt and wearing a moss bikini, in the manner of the women in Prehistoric Women]


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