Men: Why Frugal Is Sexy


Frugality has an image problem. If it were a celebrity, a PR firm would tell it to get a haircut, start working out, and stage a few photo ops with a super-model. Why should credit card debt have all the fun? After all, in a world that’s conflated money with power and power with attractiveness, shouldn’t the good money-managers and savers be veritable centerfolds?

It doesn’t take much knowledge or skill to accumulate the trappings of success with easy credit and unconscious spending. But it does take some discipline and a little financial McGyverism to navigate the choppy waters of manhood and money successfully.

I don’t drive a nuclear-powered SUV, my cell phone doesn’t do much more than make phone calls, my jeans are decidedly un-couture and yet, I feel pretty sexy. My fellow fellows, I assert that it’s our frugality that makes us sexy. So man-up, stand tall, and let’s explore five reasons to put a little muscle behind that coupon-clipping. (See also: Classy Dating on a Budget)

1. You are a new pioneer

The world’s gone a bit mad with advertising. It’s everywhere and it’s supported by harried, confused, exhausted shoppers armed with plastic and fueled by Starbucks. Any effort at restraint, regardless of how modest, is a revolutionary act. Saving money, reducing expenses, and becoming self-reliant takes nothing less than a pioneering spirit. Embrace this inner pioneer and own your financial identity.

2. You are the influencer — not the influenced

Advertisers and marketers depend on trends — it’s what makes us feel bad about not having a TV that’s as thin as a slice of bread or slightly self-conscious about that old phone that doesn’t dial by the sheer power of thought. Fighting this subtle manipulation reclaims a little bit of our control — and control is sexy. When we are finally free of these influencing forces, we become the influencers.

3. You are free

Toys are great, but freedom’s better. Living well with less, paying cash, enjoying life unencumbered by present debt and relatively immune to future temptation — these are foundations of freedom. What man doesn’t want to be free? What man would willingly trade freedom for a lifetime of avoidable debt-servitude?

4. You have capital

You can seize opportunities where other men cannot by recognizing a good deal and having the resources to take advantage of it. What’s sexier than bold action driven by deep knowledge? Living debt-free (or as close to it as we can get) funds other parts of our lives and allows us to capably explore and expand our future.

5. You are a teacher

The most powerful thing any of us will ever do is teach what we know to the next generation. Managing money, avoiding the pitfalls of consumer culture, saving for the future are lessons as critical as any we’ll receive in life. The fruits of our successes and mistakes all help to inform our children — whether they choose to take our advice and live by our example is their own exercise in freedom.

Of course none of these points are the sole province of men. In many cases, our just-as-sexy better-halves taught us most of what we know. Man or woman, when it comes to frugality, simple living, and making conscious choices about where our resources go — we’re hot.

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Guest's picture

I didn't see the one thing that came to my mind when I read the title: frugal men are smart with money and they can help make a woman feel secure. Spendthrifts are scary as hell and they can ruin a woman's life as well as their own. Frugality says you've grown up; spendthrifts are little boys and a lot of women don't want to take a partner to raise. You can't built a future with a spendthrift - he'll spend the future to enjoy the present moment. You can't have a partnership with someone who hasn't grown up yet. Frual is sexy doesn't even start to describe it: frugal is majorly hot.

Guest's picture
Chase Saunders

Don't get me wrong, I like this post and I think these points are worth pointing out. But this PR tactic may be counter to some very strong evolutionary drives. See

Guest's picture

I couldn't agree more, Kentin - and wish others did as well. Being smart with your money IS attractive - as long as you don't appear unnecessarily cheap.

Guest's picture

I agree with Shelley. Frugal men are hot -- my boyfriend won me over with our "adventure" dates, where we'd pack a lunch and explore new parts of our home city. We'd stop for a snack if something looked good, but the focus was on the exploration rather than spending money.

A man who's smart with money shows that he's mature - and that's pretty f-ing sexy.

Guest's picture

Love it! I wrote a similar article on my blog about why frugality makes a woman sexy. My post was written in response to a NYT article about the fact that frugality is a turn-off to many people. Frugality definitely needs an image update! There were some good comments on my post about what makes frugal men sexy... I agree with other commenters here that security, responsibility, and maturity are definitely sexy (and hard to find!). Here's a link to my post if you're interested: