I wrote this spender v saver list in 2018, in the turbulent time when my habits around spending and saving were changing rapidly. I couldn’t believe how differently I felt about how I was spending and saving.
It’s a good reminder to me now about how I used to think about my money. It helps me empathize with others who still feel this way about theirs. We’re our own worst enemy with money. We will continue to be our own worst enemy if we’re not convinced that saving is a legitimate way to wealth.
<If this spender v saver list sounds sarcastic, please excuse on the basis that I was kind of disgusted with myself at the time.>
- “I don’t have the cash right now, but I’ll make a plan.”
- “I don’t need it now and haven’t needed it in the past but what if one day I do?”
- “Love bargains. I buy multiples of everything, just in case I run out.”
- “I don’t need it but I’m never going to find it at 50% off again.”
- “I’m taking up this hobby starting today and I need to be *properly* kitted out before I begin.”
- “The most expensive and newest version of this thing is the most reliable.”
- “Only poor people save.”
- “I don’t like thinking about my finances, it makes me anxious.”
- “Tax rebate! Free money! I HAVE to enjoy it.”
- “I find buying stuff soothing.”
- “I don’t have the cash right now.”
- “I don’t need it, have never needed it, and if I need it in future, I’ll buy it then.”
- “I’ll buy a bargain on stuff I use all the time.”
- “I’m no economist, but if I don’t go for the 50% sale of a thing I don’t really need or want, I think that’s a 100% saving right there?”
- “Let me get good first using what I have on hand, or buy the most basic starter supplies.”
- *Cursory google search for all versions of the thing*: “I can get that exact thing second-hand, in great condition and at half-price.”
- “Only poor people spend.”
- “I love budgets. They’re like bedtime stories that make me rich.”
- “Tax rebate! Roll that shit into a TFSA and have ice cream and wine with my friends to celebrate.”
- “I find having money in my accounts soothing.”
Mindsets and behaviour
There are a couple of things I notice about how differently the spender v saver mindsets behave.
The spender is kind of disorganized and impulsive. The impulse is toward wanting to feel secure and better about their money-situation. Not a bad instinct, but they don’t have the tools. There’s no plan.
Lack of control of their money is what’s really making them anxious. They’re playing around the edges of realizing this, buying things as a way to feel secure. Their ignorance is fueled by the anxiety that, when they at last acknowledge their mess and begin to learn about managing money, it’ll be too late to do anything about it.
The saver is a bit sanctimonious and superior (mostly toward their former selves) and they’re highly aware of their impulses. It’s not that they don’t feel the need to buy, but they’ve dealt with their need to buy. They know where it comes from and they have the security to say no. They know the difference between ‘I need’ and ‘I want’ and ‘I need/want because I’m upset/angry/lonely/emotional.’
I know I felt pretty superior to my former self when I realized what an idiot I’d been. But it’s not fair to call what I was an idiot. I was just doing the best I could with the information I had. I wandered around in a lost haze about money for most of my life. Almost all the information I’d ever received about money – directly from professionals or through family and friend osmosis – was insufficient or even detrimental. I suspected that nobody really knew what they were talking about or had reason to hide some was right to be skeptical of it.
People may be born savers or spenders, but nobody is born knowing all the ins and outs of managing money. Changing your some fundamental beliefs and self-talk around money make it astonishingly easy to save it.
Article reposted with permission from Drawing Money.