Savings

What's Your Spending Personality?

We examine the six most common spending personalities and offer tips to help you take control of your finances, regardless of your spending habits.

What's Your Spending Personality?

Do you spend big on luxury items... or have a savings account you never touch? We take a look at six spending personalities from financial behaviorist Syble Solomon, creator of the popular Money Habitudes® card game, and offer tips from experts on how to lead a more balanced financial lifestyle.

Selfless Spender

You often pick up the tab at lunch and spare no expense when buying gifts for loved ones.

What to know: If you often spend generously on others, you may not have much to spare in the event of a financial setback.

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I'd advise making a budget before you buy a single present for your friends or family. Apps that link to all your accounts and help keep track of your spending by type, month, and location can help enormously in terms of ensuring that you stick to a budget.

Courtney Jespersen, NerdWallet's shopping and retail expert

STATUS SPENDER

You're first in line when a new gadget is released, and your wardrobe is packed with the latest designer labels.

What to know: Investing in pricey, of-the-moment purchases could mean you're overlooking saving for the future.

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If you want a luxury item, remember that it will inevitably go on sale at some point, and you'll get even more satisfaction if you get it at a good price.

bag Jacquette M. Timmons, financial behaviorist and author of Financial
Intimacy
Financial Intimacy

Spontaneous spender

Your shopping basket typically contains what you need, plus a few spur-of-the-moment purchases.

What to know: These small impulse buys might not raise red flags on a day-to-day basis, but they add up over time and can put a strain on your budget.

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Steer clear of stores or websites on major shopping days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday to avoid making unnecessary purchases. And always ask about the return policy before you buy to ensure that you can take it back should you have a change of heart.

Courtney Jespersen

FREE SPIRIT

You haven't checked your bank account balance in six months and may have no clue how much is in your 401(k) - or whether you even have one.

What to know: A take-it-as-it-comes approach to your financial future could mean you aren't aware of how your income and expenses match up.

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Free Spirits often need someone else to help them take the reins with their finances, so they should consider apps that automatically save a portion of every paycheck.

Jacquette M.Timmons

Planned Spender

When you receive money, you know exactly how it will be used. You follow your carefully organized budget to the letter.

What to know: You're so focused on saving that you may forget to enjoy the money that you've worked hard for. This might mean that you're putting off doing things you enjoy now in favor of fulfilling a longer-term goal.

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The planned spender should consider having a bucket or a line item that's just for fun. This way, they don't feel self-conscious or guilty about spontaneously spending that money, because that's what it's there for.

Jacquette M. Timmons

Secure saver

Every payday, you sock away money. You're confident you've built up a healthy savings account but may be hesitant to tap into it.

What to know: Feeling nervous about using your savings for purchases could be a sign that it's time to consider your short- and long-term financial goals.

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Instead of saving to be prepared for specific situations, you might be saving because you're afraid not to save. I recommend checking out apps like SmartyPig*, which allows you to set up financial goals and work toward them by creating an automatic savings plan and receiving activity notifications when you're close to your target.

Jacquette M. Timmons

By identifying your saving or spending patterns, you can start to understand and manage them – and make progress towards your financial goals. For more tips on clever ways to save, see 4 Ways to Help You Take Control of Your Spending

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