How to Thrive When a Spender Marries a Saver

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You’ve found the love of your life and decided to get married. However, as you plan for your shared future, you realize that one of you is a spender while the other is a saver.

Fortunately, there are strategies to manage joint finances that can satisfy both partners. Here are some tips for maintaining a balanced relationship between a spender and a saver that have been beneficial for me and my spouse.


Money often elicits strong emotions: it can cause anxiety or excitement, and managing it can either calm or stress you out. Before getting married, take time to explore each other’s feelings about money and the reasons behind them. Did you grow up in a household where money was scarce or abundant? Your upbringing significantly influences your money attitudes, and your future spouse might see things differently.

When my husband and I were engaged, we had a deep conversation about our financial upbringings. He grew up in a frugal household where every dollar was accounted for, while I was raised in a family that enjoyed spending on experiences and luxuries. Understanding these backgrounds helped us empathize with each other’s financial perspectives.


One partner might value designer items, while the other enjoys an expensive hobby. Perhaps you both love to travel, aspire to own a home, or want to retire early. By discussing your desires, you can find common ground. Planning and saving for shared goals can ensure that both partners are satisfied with the purchases you make together.

We both love to travel, but I tend to splurge on spontaneous trips while my husband prefer saving for bigger vacations. By discussing our priorities, we agreed to save a portion of our income specifically for travel, allowing us to enjoy both planned and impromptu trips. If both partners agree, you can establish a clear plan for discretionary spending and saving for long-term goals.


The pain of spending can be mitigated by using credit cards or small denominations of cash. One-click purchases and buy-it-now payments are also less painful. These payment methods can make spending less distressing for savers. Conversely, using cash, especially in large denominations, can make spending more painful for savers, though spenders are generally less influenced by the payment method.

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I noticed that my husband found it easier to stick to our budget when using cash. We decided to allocate a monthly cash allowance for discretionary spending, which helped us control our expenses better.


Many people, particularly spenders, often overlook opportunity costs at the time of purchase. When reminded of these costs, spenders tend to make more frugal choices.

For example, in a study where spenders had to choose between a S$950 and a S$1,360 stereo, they were more likely to choose the S$950 stereo when reminded that the cheaper option left them with S$410 in cash. This extra cash can be used for a weekend getaway. Highlighting opportunity costs can help spenders make more mindful decisions.


Savers are more willing to spend on virtuous items, such as healthy food, compared to vices. If a saver is hesitant about a vacation, emphasize the virtuous aspects of the trip, such as quality time with family or the health benefits of relaxation.


If you struggle to agree on a budget, consider consulting a financial planner. They can help create a budget that works for both of you.

Financial planners offer impartial advice and can determine whether certain expenses are affordable or should be postponed.


Spenders and savers often have different life goals, which can lead to tension. Avoid comparing yourself to your partner as a way to justify your spending habits. This approach only deepens the divide and rarely resolves issues.

If you’re a saver, it’s easy to feel superior because you save more, but such feelings can harm your relationship. Remember, spending habits do not define a person’s worth or value in a relationship.

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By following these tips, you can foster a financially harmonious relationship. Embrace your differences, communicate openly, and work together towards common goals to ensure a happy and prosperous future.

Sources: 1 & 2


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