Five Reasons a Man Should Shop with His Wife

Editor Note: This is a repost of an article posted last week. David did a live, nationally televised show regarding on ABC Money Matters titled Shop With Your Man: Why husbands should shop with their wives.

Although the men I know seem uniformly capable of going to a store, buying a product, and feeling confident in their purchases, most of the women I know are quite the opposite. As a result, the women I know seem to return almost as much merchandise as they purchase. Indeed, I am always amazed by the number of women I overhear in stores — especially clothing stores — who exclaim, “I’ll buy [this] but I’ll probably return it next week.”

What the …

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19 Responses to Five Reasons a Man Should Shop with His Wife

  1. Annie Jones says:

    Many of your points are just as valid when you consider having a wife shop with her husband.

    My husband is fairly frugal-minded, but he will over-buy every time if I’m not with him. He’ll buy a larger quantity than we need, more features than we’ll ever use, more power than is necessary, etc. Or he’ll find a dozen more things to buy once we’ve found what we went to the store for in the first place. It doesn’t matter whether it’s PetCo, Wal-Mart, the tool department at Sears or the local hardware store. It’s just the way he shops if I don’t gently rein him in.

    He never remembers to return anything, so if a return is to be made, I do it for him.

    It’s also nice for him to come shopping with me sometimes, because he’ll encourage me to splurge on some small something for myself that I would talk myself out of otherwise.

    I never let him grocery shop with me, though. Our budget would suffer, for sure.

  2. Princessperky says:

    I think I am a wife who doesn’t buy much stuff. And I never buy planning on return. (ok so once I bought a shade that was too small and I kinda thought it might be, I figured if husband had to return one he would get the right size, if I didn’t buy on the other hand the shade purchase would be put off for another year)

    I would prefer never to set foot in a store when I need something, I hate the wall of mats like you described! (when I was a kid we just set the bowl on the floor?)

    Though I will say shopping with my husband takes some of the pain out of it.

  3. Eleanor says:

    David, I consider your remarks to be rather sexist. In our home, I (the wife) am the black belt in frugality, and I cringe when my husband wants to go grocery shopping with me. There goes my 50% savings. Also, much as I dislike a certain local discount store, I will go with him just to rein in impulse purchases.
    Your article does make some good points regarding the spenders vs savers in the family; it should be presented from a gender neutral position.

  4. Alex says:

    I am a husband and agree with you in general about women being rather more slower to reach a decision, blah blah blah, but I think what you don’t realize is that this is actually because women are more selective than men. Studies actually show that women spend less money overall then men (though not by much) and if you look at it, women’s clothing is cheaper than men’s, which I think is almost certainly a function of women being less decisive and more selective.

    All of this indecision drives me bonkers though, so I prefer to allow my wife to do her shopping by herself, which usually results in us getting better stuff for less money, without the hassle of me being driven bonkers by her indecision.

  5. Monkey Mama says:

    I laughed out loud about the broad generalizations made about women and men (teehee).

    I actually, as a wife, don’t particularly enjoy shopping. My husband does more shopping because he has more time. Since we have a joint credit card I have him make most of my returns anyway (primarily, clothes that don’t fit. I hate spending all day in the dressing room – rather try on at home. At least clothes that usually fit – like shirts. I wouldn’t buy pants or a dress without trying them on).

    If I had a return I Was going to do personally I’d do it like the next day. IT’s just a function of my personality – I don’t procrastinate.

    I guess we both have little issue with the way the other shops. I think we could both care less and would rather do other things with our time together than go shopping!

  6. Ann says:

    David, one of the reasons I refused to have a joint checking account with my ex-husband was that HE was the one who constantly overspent! LOL

    I have mixed feelings about shopping. Most of the time I’d just rather avoid up, and actually enjoyed finding Peapod when I lived in the UK where I could grocery shop on-line and they’d deliver it to the door. :-) That meant I could spend my shopping time on interesting things like “the great Baltic amber hunt” and street markets. Here my favorite things are farmers’ markets and antique/junk shops… and I’ll admit that they’re more fun when you have a friend to share or laugh at things with.

  7. crazyliblady says:

    I hate shopping with my husband. He wants to buy everything in sight whether we need it or not. If I go grocery shopping with him, I will come home with 10 things we probably really didn’t need and needing at least 5 we did not get. I find it disorienting and upsetting. He took me into a women’s clothing store recently and said I should try a certain sweater on. He wouldn’t tell me what he honestly thought of it, so I should have left it in the store. I did buy it, but wound up hating it and will take it back on Saturday. So, I am resolved to make my shopping list, take my coupons and calculator, and go shopping without him. I occasionally do forget something, but it is rare.

  8. Debbie M says:

    I am stereotypically male in this way. In the situation you described, I would have said we do not need a mat.

    Stereotypes usually have (or had) some basis in reality, but if you switch from clothing to tools or electronics, you might find the shopping stereotypes reversed.

    But to your original question, I like having my guy with me when I’m shopping for clothes because I can ask him whether he hates something and eliminate that. Anything that he’s more of an expert in like clothing styles and cameras, of course I will take him with me.

    However, I also dislike having him with me for many general purchases because he will usually find loads of stuff to buy that will not easily fit into the house. And then say he doesn’t know why his credit card bill is so big again. (At least he pays off that bill in full each month.) And he will ask me to look at icky things like unflattering clothes and gigantic purses and make me feel bad for being so negative toward him.

    If I did have trouble choosing, I think that having someone with me who doesn’t care which option is chosen would not help me make the choice except that sometimes being faced with a specific future (such as the mat you chose) can help you see what your real feelings are.

  9. Tightwad says:

    Sexist. Go into any man’s workshop or garage and see the all the crap that they have spent tons of money on and never use.
    Males are just as bad as female and some are even worse!

    Now go play with your “The Pocket Fisherman” folding fishing rod!

  10. Lou Russo says:

    I also kind of enjoy shopping with my wife for much the same reason you do, I enjoy being with her. Grocery shopping does drive me a bit nuts, though. My wife is an inveterate coupon and sale item searcher. We routinely save 30-50% off our grocery bill. That said, she is still capable of spending an agonizing 5 minutes deciding which of the items she has a coupon for to actually buy. On those occasions when I go myself, she gives me the list and the coupons and I go like Mario Andretti through the aisles getting what I need. I always attribute this to the concept that in the early history of human beings, men hunted and women gathered. To me, shopping is like gathering. My wife carefully selects those items that appeal to her. Me, I just want it to be over.

  11. Dena says:

    I think if you are in a relationship, one person tends to be frugal and the other more relaxed in their spending. Opposites attract. I haven’t stepped foot in a mall in years. My husband loves shopping. I tend to research my purchases and know exactly what I want and the best deal. My husband loves to window
    shop and rarely puts any thought into what he buys. Christmas shopping is a complete nightmare to me (the crowds, the marketing) and my husband says it puts him in the
    Christmas mood. Hmmmm… I guess we don’t fit the roles you described.

  12. Justin says:

    My wife and I love spending time together and we rarely shop without one another. We are both frugal minded people and this definitely makes shopping easier when we you and your spouse are on the same page.

  13. Gail says:

    Tut tut tut David. You made huge generalizations in this post! I have never bought anything with the intention that I can bring it back if needed. What a time waster! In my experience it is the guys that buy parts they aren’t sure they need and then they have to find the receipts and unused parts to return them to the store after a project is finished unless they decide it is easier to keep the stuff ‘just in case’.

    However the redeeming part of your post is the fact you want to do things with your wife and that even includes shopping. During the rare times that we have money to shop at the store for clothes for me (instead of my sewing them) my hubby loves helping me find clothes and talks of how he loves dressing up ‘his’ Barbie. We just like being together.

    Not all women are ditherers and can’t make decsions. I’m perfectly capable of grabbing what I need at a correct price and getting out of the store. I don’t have the energy to stand around debating the merits of whatever. My son usually helps me get groceries due to my poor health and he is now excellently trained to to anybody’s shopping and bring home exactly what was needed and only what was needed.

  14. Natalie says:

    This article overgeneralizes to the EXTREME. Who edits the articles on this website? Anybody?

  15. Moneylady says:

    I agree with Natalie…..I saw the post on the website, David I hope this is your hobby and you have a real job somewhere, or are you really and idiot!

  16. probuyer says:

    I was a buyer for a major international corporation for almost 2 decades.

    I’m also usually the one in our household making purchasing decisions.

    I guess I should go see if I have a pe-is that I’m not aware of.

  17. OldFriend says:

    David, I am a ghost from your past. It was fun seeing this issue addressed on the news (and fun seeing you). I do enjoy shopping with my wife. In our case I am the impulse buyer. The other comments about a man over buying (tools esp) apply to me and I am not ashamed of it. Nothing is better than having a completely over-engineered jackhammer to punch in a few staples. Then watch it hang on the garage wall for years gathering dust. Most women (and some men) out there will never understand this power trip. Also, I never return things. After my wife points out how rediculus the purchase is I promise to return but do not. Why in the world do we need two shop vacs? I don’t really know but I trust my gut instincts on these matters. I also
    do not price compare when I shop.
    Probably because I am in a mathematical profession and doing math in the grocery feels too much like work. How many times I have I come home with medium sized eggs and told it was the large eggs on sale that week. How does she even know this? Don’t get me started on itune purchases.

    My wife does most of her non-food purchases at the Goodwill store. She has created a fantastic home environment at a fraction of the cost of my tools. Unbelievable.

    Now my wife has walked in and found me wasting time on the internet again. She wants to add something ..

    Hello,all of the above is very true. Also, I am a craigslist junkie and have begun to get my husband addicted too. (He is not as bad as me). But this hails to your “shopping on line” tip–fast and fun (and a great way to recycle) Well I think we have turned our comment into our own blog… please keep in touch with your old friend and keep him in line.

    OlFriend is back. I want to give my number one reason for shopping with wife: Women’s clothes shopping. It does not have to cost anything – I will leave the benefits to your audiences imagination.

  18. spicoli says:

    I don’t mind shopping but I hate shopping with other people. If I am in a store, it has to be all about me!

  19. Persephone says:

    I love to shop with my husband but I know my way around a store as well as he does.

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