Why Savers and Spenders Marry

Just married couple holding hands

The other day I was walking out of the house with my husband and noticed that his work shoes look really worn out. He wears the exact same pair everyday and has for about 3 years. No wonder he looks in the closet and cannot understand why I have 30 pairs of shoes in there. Well, honey,  I need red shoes for this outfit, white ones for that outfit and multiple black pairs, depending on what I am in the mood to wear.

So I say to my husband, “Maybe it’s time to buy a new pair, you kind of look like a homeless person.” He just responds with, “They are fine.” Keep in mind my husband is an engineer (the bread winner, if you will) and we have no children. We can afford for him to buy new shoes! So I made him go shopping with me after work and we bought the same exact pair in 2 colors. He thought it was a bit excessive where as I thought it was very necessary. We are obviously opposites when it comes to spending.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Why do we do this to ourselves?

In my experience, I find “opposites attract” to work in our favor. It is important to be able to live functionally with your partner. If I was married to another spender who was as impulsive as I am, I am pretty sure we would run our finances into the ground within a year.

The argument is often made that couples with differing opinions have more conflict. But I believe if I was with another spender there would be a lot of stress that leads to conflict because of debt. I’m the kind of person who is already picking out my next car when I just got a new one 6 months ago. My husband only stopped driving his car from college because I traded it in for my new one! His contentment with not upgrading everything and buying everything right when we want it is attractive to me.

There have been studies that show that the logic behind “opposites attract” is that people look for things in others that they do not like in themselves, consciously or unconsciously. I found it frustrating in the beginning but we found a middle ground and are moving in the right direction. We are living “functionally.” I can still have fun and be somewhat impulsive but within reason. And my husband doesn’t guilt me about my spending as long as I have put some consideration to what I am buying and again, it is within reason.

I have found that conversations about big purchases make everyone more comfortable in the long run. My husband would be bored out of his mind, and probably sleeping on a futon, if it wasn’t for me and I think he appreciates our king size bed, even if he doesn’t say it.

Here are a few tips to help those opposite couples out there:

  • The saver needs to feel somewhat comfortable with the spending because stressing them out is unfair to them. Have a discussion to find out where that comfort level is. Is it just having more coming in than going out? Or is it that they want a million dollars in the bank in 10 years? Can the spender live with this?
  • The saver also needs to get back to enjoying the impulsiveness and fun-loving person they married. Remember WHY you marred them.
  • The spender needs to prioritize. Taking a trip to Italy? Buying a 60 inch TV? Or buying an iPad? Prioritizing allows the spender something to look forward to, knowing they cannot have all of those things at one time.
  • Let the saver take care of the money. I bet the saver will save up for the iPad a lot faster than the spender because the spender will probably think Starbucks sounds good or that new xBox game looks fun!

Embrace each other’s differences and allow there to be some balance so you aren’t living happily ever after in a cardboard box.

Are you the saver or the spender in your relationship? Let us know in the comments below!