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Ask a Bad Boy: How Much Should I Spend on My Significant Other?

Steve Santagati, of and author of the best-selling book The Manual, answers your burning questions when it comes to dating, love, and how men think. He's a veteran at giving street-smart, straight-to-the-point advice, so ladies, tell me, what do you want to ask Steve about men? This is your chance to get answers so don't hold back! Submit your questions here.

Since Christmas is here, Steve has some advice when it comes to holiday shopping for your significant other. Check out what he has to say below:

It's here, Christmas. After Christmas it will be his/her birthday or any number of "events" that require us to contemplate; "How much do I spend?" You don't want to seem cheap, but you don't want to make someone feel uncomfortable with your extravagance — like they will be expected to be equally generous. You want to show them you care — at least a little, but you want to be smart with your money, especially now. So here's your simple rule of thumb, broken down by economic status.

To see Steve's tips,

  1. If you're broke, spend $10 for every month you've been monogamously dating, or cook them something wonderful.
  2. If you're sort of middle of the road (they killed the middle class but you get my point) you can jack that to $15-$20 for each month you've been dating.
  3. If you're rich, then you can spend what ever you want. However, don't go crazy with the cash because it can make someone feel really uncomfortable (you know, like you think the relationship is further along than it really is). However, if you buy him/her a car and they don't flinch, you might have a gold digger on your hands.
  4. If you're married or have been in a long relationship, have a solid discussion on a dollar figure you can both live with.

The most important thing a person can do is to buy their lover something that shows you've been listening and shows you understand what they like. It doesn't have to be expensive. In the end, we all want to think someone adores us and is paying attention. Guys really need to get a grip on this because most are clueless as to what to get their woman. It would help if they started paying attention the day they met you because that information will prove invaluable later on.

Now, here's my personal philosophy. I don't feel pressured to buy anyone anything just because Hallmark is slapping me in the face while I'm drinking a Budweiser and trying to get through A Charlie Brown Christmas special. What I do is simple; all year long I'm open to buying something for friends or paramours, regardless of the date. If I'm in a music store and I see an album I know she'll like, I get it. If I'm getting my oil changed and I see a gift certificate, I get it for her. I try to think of things that will make someone's life easier or bring a smile to her face.

Steve will be back next Monday to offer up some New Year's Eve advice so be sure not to miss it!

Check out his Bad Girls Finish First tee shirts and, for individual attention, visit Steve at or email him at

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