Dealing With Different Financial Expression: Saver vs Spender

by Reid on December 9, 2015

Couples In Kitchen With Newspaper And Coffee SmilingWhat to do, if one person wants to save and budget and the other person, someone who is a lot more free thinking about money, doesn’t want to budget or plan? That can cause a lot of conflict in a relationship, because one is a saver, and other is a spender.

Join relationship expert Reid Mihalko from and Cathy Vartuli from as they share ways how to solve conflicts around money.

Cathy: Reid offers an amazing course, called Relationship 10X Live. And some people that had attended it last weekend, two weekends ago, were raving about it. They said it really helped them walk through their issues, and feel a lot closer. But now they’ve suddenly run into the fact that one of them’s a saver, and one of them’s a spender.

Reid: Dun, dun, dun.

Cathy: Now this issue had kind of been covered up with all the other things, the lack of communication they had before. But now that they’ve cleared that up, and they’ve feeling much closer and happier, they’re like they want to resolve this. So Reid, what do you recommend?

Reid: I’m Reid Mihalko, from She totally blew the intro, by the way. Who are you?

Cathy: I’m Cathy Vartuli from

Reid: And this video’s about money.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: All right, what was the question?

Cathy: If you have a couple.

Reid: Yes.

Cathy: Who one of them’s a saver, and one of them’s a spender. What can you do? Because that can be a big conflict. One of them wants, one person wants to save and budget. And the other person, someone who is a lot more free thinking about money, and doesn’t want to budget or plan. And is just like, “Oh, that’s pretty. I want it.” That can cause a lot of conflict in a relationship.

Reid: Yeah. My quick advice is just first just recognizing that you guys have different ways of handling money. And not making it wrong. And similar ways, if you haven’t heard the videos about the five love languages. It’s almost like money languages.

That’s a good idea for a book.

But basically, you guys have different dialects. What I would do is sit down and have a conversation. One, so that you both realize you’re different. But not make each other wrong.

And then figure out how you guys can support each other in being right, so that you both win-win.

And then the way that I think I did it when I was answering that question for the couple, was set some sort of allowance. Which can seem childish, but is actually quite smart. Where you have a set amount of money that goes into savings, like the savings allowance. And then you two have your allowances for yourselves that you can spend however you want.

Now, for the saver, don’t take your allowance and save it, and then use that you saved more money than the other person against them. That’s not cool.

Cathy: Yes. And it can be really useful to look at what your intention for the relationship is. That’s another thing that Reid talks about in Relationship 10X that I just really loved. I hadn’t heard people talking about what’s our intention for the relationship? And it made me think a lot about what I want to do. And I think that clarifies when to combine money and when not to. Because some people just may not be a good fit for having joint accounts.

So deciding on that. If each person can specify what they need to feel safe and abundant in the world. You know, the saver may want to save 30% of their income. And the spender’s like, “Whoa, not even close.” So if you each identify what you need, and then that gives you some place to start from. Rather than like, “You’re wrong, you’re wrong. We’re not doing this right.” So each of you identify what you need to feel secure.

Reid: And it might be a conversation in the same way that you would create your shared intention for the relationship. What’s your shared intention around finances? And the best way to look at that, I think, is talk about the end of your lives. Where do you guys want to be at the end of your lives? What’s going to make you feel safe emotionally and physically, from a finances perspective, when you’re older. When you’re not able to work anymore.

And then work backwards from there. Because so many people aren’t happy about not being on the same page financially money-wise? If you try to create your shared intention for what’s happening right now, or for the next year? You’re usually just going to continue arguing.

Cathy: Yeah. So rather than looking at right or wrong, knowing where you want to end up, and seeing if you’re a good match for that. And that doesn’t mean that you have to end the relationship if you’re not. But it may mean that you want to separate your money more, or find different ways to, like the allowance. Different ways to find agreement in that.

Just having that conversation, even if you’re both savers or you’re both spenders. It doesn’t matter what your language around money is. It’s really useful to have that discussion, because it can ease so much going forward.

Reid: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And if you can’t figure out what to do with your money just send it to us. We’ll gladly spend it. I mean I’ll spend it. She’ll save it.

Cathy: (laughter)

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