Love Makes You Crazy, Yes, But It Also Makes You Reckless With Money

When you’re head over heels in love with someone, it feels like your whole world changes. You’re euphorically happy when you so much as think of him, you get all kinds of anxious as hell about where things are going, and you probably go at least slightly insane for the first few months, until things settle down and you realize you’re in a real, proper relationship that’s not going anywhere. The idea that love makes you crazy is a tale as old as time, and it’s a cliche that exists for a reason. But one of love’s craziest side effects has only just been discovered in a new study out of the University of Colorado Boulder: love makes you wasteful as hell with your money.

Basically, it goes like this: most of us are bargain shoppers when it comes to stuff like food, clothes, and the like. We like deep discounts and to feel like we’re getting a real steal on an item — that is, except for when it comes to emotional items. You don’t have to dig too deep to figure this one out: men and women both aren’t into skimping when it comes to important gifts like engagement rings, anniversary/romantic gifts, the perfect wedding, etc.

The study, published in the most recent issue of the journal Judgment and Decision Making, asked people to choose between two equally desirable items. Even when the participants wanted both, they always chose the more expensive of the two. The paper also concluded that we’re reluctant to look for discounts or to haggle for symbolically romantic purchases. Aw, ain’t that sweet?

“People’s buying behavior changes when they’re making purchases out of love because it feels wrong to engage in cost-saving measures,” explained Peter McGraw, associate professor of marketing and psychology at CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business and lead author of the study. “People abandon cost-saving measures when it comes to sentimental buys because they want to avoid having to decide what is the right amount of money to spend on a loving relationship.”

That’s nice and all, but there has to be a limit, right? There’s no use spending $30,000 on a dream wedding that you can’t afford when the next 20 years of your marriage are going to be stressful as hell because you’re in debt from that one day. It’s all about perspective and living within your means. After all, even in love, it’s the thought that counts, right?

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill