Spenders and Savers: How to Budget as a Couple
It’s time to destroy a common money myth: Being a natural saver is the only way to be successful with money. Why is this myth hurtful? For one, it can make natural spenders feel like they don’t have a chance to get ahead with money. The truth is, both spenders and savers have their own strengths and challenges. Neither one is better.
Still, when you come together as a couple to start hitting goals and building budgets together, those challenges might feel impossible to get past. They aren’t! No matter if you’re two spenders, two savers, or one of each, you can budget together (and do it well)! Let’s talk about how to make that happen.
What Is a Spender?
If you’re a spender, you enjoy, well, spending money! Buying things is fun and freeing. Hey, don’t hold your head down in shame. But don’t go blow every paycheck the minute it comes in either! Life is a balance.
Here’s the good news: Spenders are often incredibly generous, maybe because you aren’t that concerned with holding on to your money. Here’s your challenge: First, own that you like the thrill of the purchase. Second, don’t be impulsive about buying. You don’t want to end up with nothing to show for all your hard work. Put some fun in the budget and stick to it. That way, you give yourself permission to spend on purpose—and don't risk an online shopping habit eating into your grocery money.
What Is a Saver?
If you’re a saver, you’d rather have money tucked away for a rainy day. Putting money into savings for emergencies or the future isn’t hard for you. In fact, it feels great. It gives you a sense of security and a bigger rush than splurging on something.
You’re naturally responsible and patient. Go you! But here’s the challenge: Don’t become stingy—with generosity or with having fun. Make room in the budget for both giving and living.
Are You a Spender or Saver?
It’s important to find out if you’re a spender or saver—and don’t pretend to be anything different. How do you figure it out? You can probably notice trends in the past that will point out which you are, but we've got an easier way. Take this free quiz from our friend and money expert Rachel Cruze.
How Spenders and Savers Can Budget Together
Opposites attract, right? It happens in other areas of our personalities, and it often happens with spenders and savers too. Generally, a couple is made up of one of each. So, here are some quick tips on how to budget together when one of you is a spender and one is a saver.
- Be respectful. You both have something to give at the budgeting table. Don’t put down the natural tendencies of your spouse. See those qualities as a blessing!
- Set money goals you both agree on, big and small. Think about having security in the future and enjoying the present.
- Play to your strengths and work through your weaknesses—as a team! This isn’t about battling it out. It’s about bringing your strengths together to build an even stronger budget that can give both of you a sense of safety and freedom. Spenders, help the savers look at the value of living life and enjoying the moment more often. Savers, help the spenders keep their eyes on the prize of those big money goals.
How to Budget as Two Spenders
Okay, but what if you’re both spenders? Are you doomed to a life of mindless spending? Nope. Don’t forget your strengths: You’re a giving, fun-loving duo. Neither of those is a bad thing. Just make sure you don’t get lost in the present and forget your bigger goals.
- Set goals as a team. And talk about them at your monthly budget meetings. Whenever you’re tempted to spend, spend, spend, remember the bigger things you’re working for—together!
- Keep each other accountable. Hey, you know each other’s tendency to impulse buy. So, come together when you’re tempted. And make sure you praise the times your spouse stands against that impulse and stays in budget.
- Budget for fun and stick to that budget. Both of you. Make sure you’ve got an entertainment line as well as individual fun money lines. And don’t steal from another budget line to make the fun lines bigger just because you find an awesome sale.
How to Budget as Two Savers
When two savers say, “I do,” it’s probably in a very modest wedding setting. You two won’t have to worry about whether you’ll have a fully funded emergency fund or well-stocked retirement accounts. That. Is. Fantastic. But if you aren’t careful, you’ll become two Scrooges, heartlessly counting your piles of gold coins. If you become too focused on saving money, you could miss out on making memories.
- When you set goals, include the short term. Savers love looking into the far future, but don’t forget to place some treats in the near future—like experiences you enjoy doing together.
- Put giving and fun in the budget. We suggest putting 10% of your money (at least) toward giving. And make sure you have money at the ready each month for entertainment as a couple and fun as individuals. That fun money can be used to treat yourself to a fancy coffee here and there, to go on a girls’ or guys’ night out, or to add more records to your 90s rock vinyl collection. You decide!
Remember: There is no “right” personality when it comes to how you deal with money. But not knowing the why behind it all can hold you back, as an individual and as a couple! If you want to dive even deeper into all this, check out Rachel Cruze’s new book, Know Yourself, Know Your Money. You’ll learn more about being a spender or saver, plus six other money tendencies.
Hey, when you understand why you handle money the way you do, you can build on your strengths, work on your bad habits, budget as a team, improve your relationships, and start making real progress on your money goals. That’s how you really win with money—together.