Nothing you’ve posted is flatout waving a red dealbreaker flag, but there are several troubling signs to keep an eye on. I may be way off base here, but I’m not saying ‘omg- leave him!’, I’m only saying ‘keep an eye on this’. Some things that are worrying and sound worthy of watching and considering:
1. Using The Ex As A Cautionary Tale now it’s reasonable that you’d know the basics of his relationship history and lets’ face it, exes have gone through a break-up etc….so it’s not unusual IMO that you’d know some of the fallout of their relaitonship. BUT going on about how bad his ex was with money and then in another instance bringing up how he couldn’t be with someone who was irresponsible with money…..this pings my radar as someone using his ex as a cautionary tale to try and ‘condition’ or ‘groom’ the current partner by holding up the ex as the unfavourable yard stick against which to be measured.
2. ‘Grooming’ The Current Partner: So the current partner goes out of her way to prove she’s nothing like the ex (if not the realistic ex, then at least the way the ex is portrayed- sometimes falsely- in the cautionary tale). The operant conditioning is so insidious that the person doesn’t even realize her partner is influencing her behaviour, but thinks her ideas are her own. But here we have a checks and balances system of reward (praise for being nothing like the ex) and punishment (gee I don’t know if I could be with someone who reminds me of the ex).
3, Increasing Frequency of Critical Remarks: Passed off somewhat passively-aggressively as casual remark with an undertone of disapproval Oh, so you’re going to go ahead with that? He’s not going so far as to ‘forbid’ it, something OP would likely feel on surer ground to object to. But he’s letting his displeasure be known under the false guise of allowing OP to make the judgment call (I’m saying ‘false guise’ because he’s following this up with subtle threats that if she makes the ‘wrong’ decision- aka the one that displeases him- he’ll have to ponder if he can be with her). The increased frequency, IMO, coupled with the not-so-subtle threats about the relationship, seem to be forming an unsettling pattern of manipulation.
4. Inconsistency: So here’s this guy looking at the price of a potential hair salon appointment OP doesn’t expect or want him to pay for (side note: does this strike anyone else as odd? seems a tad micromanaging IMO) yet while he’s questioning what she spends and making not-so-subtle noises that he can’t be with someone financially irresponsible, OP also says he likes to spoil her. This sounds patriarchal and hypocritical. HE can spend as he pleases, and indulge the little woman when HE sees fit- but if she ‘indulges’ herself with her own money, he’s all tsk-tsking about it.
Now this guy isn’t necessarily an ogre- which is why I’m saying ‘keep an eye on things’ rather than ‘dealbreaker!’. Maybe he has had a legit bad experience in the past, maybe the two of you simply have different financial styles, maybe he’s cautious even anxious about having savings etc. A person does have the right to expect a reasonable amount of financial responsibilty/ honesty from their partner. Can the two of you sit down and have a serious talk about this? 6 months in seems rather early in the relationship to be sorting out finances when you’re not even blending them at the moment, but given all that’s going on, better to address this sooner than later. And keep your eyes open because to answer your question, he may simply be practical and anxious with money in general or he may indeed be a financial bully and if you’re seeing this already at only 6 months in, it’s bound to get worse if not addressed and dealt with.