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What Do Your Spending Habits Say About Your Personality?

Can spenders and savers be compatible?

Key points

  • Spenders and savers differ on a number of personality characteristics.
  • Introversion is strongly related to one's money style.
  • To determine relationship compatibility, it's important to look at money styles.

The decisions individuals make about how to spend their money can lead to debt, bankruptcy, the end of marriages, and even depression. On the other hand, money-related decisions can lead to financial security and stability and greater compatibility in relationships. But the topic is fraught. In my work, I have taken note that people are more comfortable discussing sex than money. I am sure that you have had that experience as well.

Why all the prickliness about discussing money? There are all sorts of answers, including the relationships between money and status, self-esteem, and power. Additionally, money styles reveal so much valuable information about personality characteristics and character. A recent set of studies by Furnham, (2022) looked at the differences between spenders and savers on a number of variables. The findings may help you not only learn about yourself and others but also about whether or not you are likely to be compatible with the person you may be interested in.

Savers were found to be more conscientious, stable, and introverted than spenders, who rated themselves as more sociable and open to new experiences. Savers were both less sociable and less likely to be open to new experiences. This first set of findings raises the question of whether savers and spenders can really be compatible. Consider a homebody a risk-taker: They are not two people who you would set up on a blind date, correct?

Spenders were more likely than savers to have elevated Cluster B personality disorders. These include the personality disorders associated with emotional intensity, like antisocial, borderline, histrionic, and narcissistic personality disorders. The speculation here is that these more volatile individuals may spend money in an attempt to feel better emotionally.

Savers saw themselves as healthier, more attractive, and more intelligent than spenders. On the other hand, spenders rated themselves as being more emotionally intelligent than savers. Perhaps spenders rate themselves as more emotionally intelligent because they are more social and have more opportunities to engage with others. The alternative is that because they see themselves as more emotionally intelligent, they are more likely to be sociable. The directionality is unclear.

Finally, spenders were more likely to have more liberal political beliefs and less likely to own their own homes.

Overall, savers who associate saving with security appear to be the more stable group. Despite the richness of the data in the above series of studies, there are, nonetheless, limitations inherent in these studies. The researchers did not have access to participants' actual financial information; the data was obtained solely by self-report measures. Nonetheless, if you really want to know someone, understanding their money habits is extremely valuable.


Furnham,A.,Robinson, C.,&Grover,S.(2022)Spenders and Savers:Tightwads and Spendthrifts:Individual correlates of personal ratings of being a spender or a saver.Journal of Neuroscience,Psychology,and Economics.(1-18).

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