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Spending Styles: How To Identify And Make The Most Of Them

Written by:
Accredited Financial Counsellor (AFCC)

When it comes to spending money, it is important to understand how your brain works – and the brain of those close to you, like your family members, and spouse or partner. We tend to assume that everyone else thinks about money as we do. The truth is, you probably think very differently about money than those around you – including your partner.

Learning about your money personality isn’t so that you can learn what is wrong with you but to understand yourself better. The better you understand yourself, the better you can understand those around you. It can help you to understand why you make the decisions you do and why certain decisions by others can make you feel so frustrated or angry. It helps you to explain those emotions around money to others so that you can grow closer instead of letting money tear you apart.

Your money personality is unlikely to change. Learn to embrace it by working with your strengths and finding resources to help you with your challenges.

Money decisions

Almost every decision we make has a financial component. What should we do today? What temperature should we set the thermostat? Should I drive to work or walk? Should we eat steak or pasta for dinner? It’s no wonder that money can be such a source of conflict. It envelops our lives, our dreams and our fears.

The 5 Money Personalities

There are 5 money personalities and everyone has two of them, a primary and a secondary. No one is better than another. They all have strengths and they all have challenges. You were born this way. It’s ‘part of your DNA’.

You can find out your money personalities (Developed by The Money Couple) by taking the quiz at 5moneypersonalities.
To get started here’s an overview of the 5 Money Personalities:


The spender likes to spend money. They get a rush out of spending! Spenders live in the moment and often don’t worry much about the future. They love to buy things for themselves as well as for other people. They can be very generous.

Challenges: The spender is often the budget breaker. They can be filled with regret about their purchases after the rush from spending money dissipates.

As a partner: They can make a great partner because they won’t let finances get in the way of living life to the fullest.

Tips: Spenders can get the same rush from buying small purchases as they can from buying large purchases. Even buying necessities like groceries can give them a bit of a rush. So spenders can try to get their rush from spending money on things that they already require and have planned for.


The saver gets a genuine rush out of saving! They don’t like credit cards or debt and don’t spend impulsively. They tend to be pretty organized, responsible, and trustworthy.

Challenges: The saver can often be a joy stealer by putting finances ahead of fun.

As a partner: They can make a great partner because they spend wisely.

Tips: Savers should plan some money in the budget for fun.

Risk Taker

Risk Takers are always looking for the next adventure. They are big-picture thinkers and get excited about possibilities. They aren’t afraid to make decisions. When they see an opportunity they go for it.

Challenges: Risk Takers can be blinded by possibility. They make decisions quickly and sometimes without much thought. This can leave lots of opportunities for buyer’s remorse to set in. They can be impatient and insensitive when others don’t want to make decisions at the same speed.

As a Partner: Risk Takers make great spouses because they are always thinking about the future.

Tips: Risk Takers shouldn’t forget to involve others in their decision making. It helps when they take a deep breath and think through big decisions before finalizing them.

Security Seeker

The Security Seeker likes to do their research before making a purchase. They are trustworthy and are always prepared with a plan.

Challenges: Security Seekers can be negative towards new ideas because they feel safe with their old ideas. They can get stuck in a research rut which makes it hard for them to make decisions.

As a partner: Security Seekers make great spouses because they plan carefully and will be prepared for any disaster.

Tips: Security Seekers should give themselves a cutoff date or time for making decisions. This gives them the chance to research but, are required to make a decision in a timely manner.


The flyer is someone who often gets dismissed as lacking financial skills and knowledge. The truth is, they don’t really want those skills. They have no emotional response to money and they don’t stress about it. They are generally content with life. Relationships are more important to them than money. They are happy to let someone else take care of their finances.

Challenges: Flyers can be impulsive and reactionary. This means they have a hard time remembering to consider the financial aspect of their decisions. They can be disorganized and less responsible.

As a partner: Flyers make great spouses because they are easygoing and will never be controlling on money issues.

Tips: Flyers should leave lots of room for discretionary spending in their budget so that they can spend freely when they want. If all of your money is accounted for with their bill payments and debt repayments they will feel unhappy and controlled.

Opposite dynamic

Everyone tends to have two money personalities. Often, people have an opposite dynamic – a combination of a ‘spendy’ and ‘savey’ personality for example. This opposite dynamic can cause internal conflict and often causes buyer’s remorse. If you let your ‘spendy’ personality take over too strongly, for example.

If you don’t have an opposite dynamic internally, you’ll probably find it not too far away in your close relationships. For example, with a spouse or partner. This can cause conflict in the relationship but, it can also bring balance. If you like to spend money, it’s probably best if your partner likes to save money so that you save up for that emergency fund. Or if you like to save money, you may need a partner that forces you to have some fun every once in a while!


Conflict can result when these opposite dynamics exist but are not understood. Taking time to understand your own, and others, money personalities can help you move from conflict to cooperation.

Take time to recognize the benefits that each person brings to the relationship. Even better, tell each other what you appreciate about their money personality. Learn to lean on each other’s strengths.

If you need help with the challenges that come with your money personalities, find a financial coach or counsellor to help you!

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