Adjust Text Size

Are You a Spender or a Saver at Heart?

Written by Richard Barrington - 11 Comments

Whether you tend to save money or overspend is largely determined by your financial habits. Have you ever noticed that good financial habits come much more naturally to some people than to others?

It’s not all in your mind, but that’s the starting point when it comes to saving. Psychologically, some people are just more geared toward saving than others.

Spender or saver? Five questions to ask yourself

Here are five questions to help you determine whether you’re a natural saver or spender:

  • Is the present more important to you than the future? People are often encouraged to live in “the now” rather than worry about the past or the future. However, those who live too exclusively in the present have a hard time seeing the value of saving. After all, the act of saving money is literally trading off benefits today for benefits tomorrow.
  • What’s more satisfying to you: instant or deferred gratification? This is related to the first question, but it comes down to what gives you more pleasure – the ability to do what you want, when you want, or the satisfaction of setting and meeting goals. The more you take pleasure from long-term achievements, the more inclined you are to save money.
  • Are you susceptible to peer pressure? Keeping up with the Joneses has a great deal to do with the spending habits of Americans. The more important you think it is to keep up appearances, the more likely you are to spend more from your savings account than you can afford.
  • Do you think of debt as a natural financial condition? Most people have to take on debt at some time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, while some live with it as a permanent condition, others start thinking about how to pay off debt as soon as they incur it. The less comfortable you are with debt, the more inclined you are to save.
  • Do you communicate with your family about finances? If you don’t communicate financial goals to your partner or spouse and kids, you are more likely to get into conflicts over spending priorities. The net result of compromising your financial goals every time is that your family as a whole will spend more than it should. It’s important to carve out regular time to thoughtfully evaluate your family’s finances. This not only includes tracking spending habits but also where you will keep the money you’ve saved. Shop around online to identify the banks that are offering the best savings account rates, CD rates, and money market account rates for your hard-earned funds.

Even if you’re a natural spender, you can still acquire good saving habits. You may have to work a little harder at figuring out ways to counteract some of your natural inclinations, but you can make changes for the better if you’re willing to try.

See also: Money Management Practices of Couples

Published on February 10th, 2010
Modified on March 24th, 2013 - 11 Comments
Filed under: Frugality, Saving & Investing

About the author: Richard Barrington is a personal finance expert for MoneyRates.com. He has earned the CFA designation and is a 20-year veteran of the financial industry.

Related articles...

» Savers vs. Spenders – Does There Always Need to be a Fight?
» ING Direct Introduces User-Friendly Login Names
» Withdrawing Your Roth IRA Contributions (Followup)
» The Biggest Saver
» Hospital Rankings Available Online
» Sunday Roundup – Patio Furniture Edition
» Amazon Prime Free Trial
» What do you do with your windfalls?

Was this article useful? Please sign up to receive our content via e-mail:

You will receive only the daily updates, and can unsubscribe at anytime.

11 Responses to “Are You a Spender or a Saver at Heart?”

  1. 1
    Michael Crowther Says:

    Interestingly, I’m inclined toward being a spender; however my understanding of financial principles has convinced me enough that I am willing to save. Plus my wife and I make a good team.

    I think it’s that same understanding that convinces me to at least get up early in the morning to run, even if I don’t stop myself from eating treats during the day. :-)

  2. 2
    ParisGirl111 Says:

    I am definitely a spender at heart. I love living in the moment and doing this spontaneously. Fun is much more important to me now than waiting for later. I mean, I could be dead tomorrow? right? However, I have come to realize that living in the now too much is not worth stealing from my future by creating debt. This lesson was learned the hard way unfortunately.

  3. 3
    Bodark Says:

    Not sure, what this makes me…but I will go months without spending money on anything that is not required (e.g. grocery,household stuff).

    Then, I’ll decide to spend. But my “for fun purchases” are typically north of $500.

    So saver, with a flare for random purchases??

  4. 4
    Big Spender Says:

    Most Americans under the age of 65 are trained, professional spenders. It’s been the foundation of our economy for so long, we don’t know of any other way.

    But I might just be making excuses for myself.

  5. 5
    Kev Says:

    I would say that I’m a saver at heart. Having the option to buy said item is every bit as gratifying to me as actually buying said item. I still don’t have a wicked flat screen television and I probably won’t have one until my television officially calls it quits. I rarely spend money on unneeded things, unless it is for gifts or what not.

    With that being said, I do allow myself certain indulgences. I go on vacation every year. I try to keep it in a respectable price range, but I still spend what I consider to be a lot of money (anywhere from 1500 to 2,000 for a week at the beach). Certain things just can’t be held off on. I will never in my life regret not having an awesome television, but I will regret the times I should have taken my wife on vacation and didn’t.

    I try to maintain a healthy balance of enjoying life now, but planning for tomorrow at the same time. Luckily for me, I don’t have to buy a lot of “stuff” in order to enjoy life now.

  6. 6
    Matt Jabs Says:

    Like Big Spender said, I think all of us raised in America are raised in a culture of vast spending… but deep down, after I peel all the layers away – I am a saver at heart. I enjoy saving more than spending.

  7. 7
    John Says:

    I am a spender by nature but I can control it. I am a spending planner. I can do research for 6 months or a year on a new computer build. generations of hardware become obsolete and I modify my plans to match the newest tech. The best part is still the assembly of all the parts. I have learned and have managed to teach my gf that saving money with the help of retail stores is rarely going to get you anywhere financially. Watching websites and newspapers ads and coupons for special deals and sales will not make you rich.

  8. 8
    LeanLifeCoach Says:

    As a recovering spender… it is possible to overcome your addiction and become a lifetime saver. I have never enjoyed a purchase as much as I enjoy seeing money accumulate!

  9. 9
    Rosa Says:

    Is it possible to be neither? I really like having things, but I prefer to make or find them. I hate shopping but, as long as my emergency fund is full, I’m indifferent to saving too.

  10. 10
    Financial Samurai Says:

    I’m a saver for sure! Have always saved 50%+ of my income since I started working.

    the thrill of delayed gratification, or zero gratification is amazing!

  11. 11
    Kristen Says:

    I am definitely a saver! I started saving for my retirement when I was 16. I love saving money anywhere I can. I clip coupons, shop Sales only, and buy in bulk when necessary! I recently just found out that I can also save on my investments. A new company was just launched called InvestForLess. This company offers a platform to invest in mutual funds free of commissions and asset-based fees, which equals SAVINGS! I love it and it is such a great idea. No one has ever done this before. It allows investors to save year after year on their investments. InvestForLess also allows their Members the ability to purchase Pay-As-You-Go advice so that you pay for the advice you need, when you need it. Check it out at http://www.investforless.com

Leave a Reply

Disclaimer...
Because rates and offers from advertisers shown on this website change frequently, please visit referenced sites for current information. This website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise.

FiveCentNickel User Survey