“Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.” -Isaiah 55:2
Although we’ve learned to meet halfway when it comes to our finances, my husband, Will, is a spender, and I’m a saver. When we first got married, I was frustrated with how Will spent money. I wanted to save every penny, and he wanted to have a little more fun. To this day, our differences in this area can be a struggle for us, but saving and spending don’t have to be all or nothing.
Those who enjoy spending can still learn to wisely steward their finances, and those of us who don’t like to spend it can also learn how to hold our money with more of an open hand and give generously to others.
Knowing if you’re leaning towards spending or saving can be the first step in curbing overspending and learning how to give more generously (if you are a saver who is prone to hold onto all of your money!).
You might be a spender if:
- You make a budget but never stick to it.
If you don’t know how much you’re spending from day to day, you’ll be hard-pressed to stick to your monthly budget.
- You borrow money to pay for things you can’t afford.
If you can’t afford something, don’t buy it—period. If you find yourself borrowing money from parents, siblings, friends, or the bank to satiate your desire for more things, you might have a spending problem.
- You shop to satisfy an emotional need instead of out of necessity.
Shopping in and of itself isn’t evil, but if you’re shopping to fill a void, it’s no better than any drug used to mask a deeper issue. Some serial shoppers find they experience a short-term high that’s soon replaced by more emptiness—no matter how much they buy.
- You max out your credit cards and only pay the minimum each month.
If you’re already knee-deep in credit card debt but continue to acquire more and have no intention to pay it off any time soon, your spending habits are out of control.
- You make a decent income but continue to overspend on material possessions that fit the lifestyle you want.
Keeping up appearances simply isn’t worth it.
- You hide your spending habits and debt from your spouse.
If you feel the need to hide anything you’re doing, that’s a red flag.
Now, let’s take a look at some classic characteristics of a saver.
You might be a saver if:
- You stick to your budget no matter what.
There is nothing derailing you from your money plan. You’re a stickler for keeping all of your ducks in a row, every single month!
- You never borrow money.
You live by the motto that the borrower is a slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7). There is no way, no how you ever borrow money.
- You don’t shop because you hate shopping.
Even shopping for groceries sends you into a tailspin because you hate parting with your money!
- You never use credit cards because you don’t even own them.
Credit card usage is a recipe for debt and disaster. You avoid them like the plague.
- You hoard away your money and aren’t prone to generosity.
This one might step on some people’s toes since the saver is generally thought to have no vices, but as a saver myself, I can say that I have struggled with this in the past. My spender husband is the most generous person I know, and he’s taught me to give more freely to others.
The saver might be a better financial manager overall, but it doesn’t mean that the saver is always the hero. In fact, as noted above, spenders can probably teach all of us a thing or two about giving.
Once you realize your spending personality, you can begin to take steps to curb overspending (if you prone to spending) or to give more generously (if you are a stingy saver). Learning how to meet in the middle will set you up for long-term financial success—and can go a long way in bettering your marriage relationship if your spouse has the opposite spending personality.
What is your natural spending personality? Do you identify with the above spender or saver characteristics? How can you learn to meet in the middle of the two and better steward your finances?
To learn more about financial stewardship and freedom from financial anxiety, check out Erin’s new book More Than Just Making It: Help for the Heart of the Financially Frustrated.
About the Author:
Erin Odom is the author of More Than Just Making It and the founder of The Humbled Homemaker, a blog dedicated to grace-filled living and designed to equip and encourage mothers in the trenches. Her Southern charm and wealth of inspirational, practical content has drawn an audience of millions over the years. Erin and her husband, Will, live in the South, where they raise their four children. Follow Erin at www.TheHumbledHomemaker.com.