I’m a spender. Here’s my story and advice if you and your partner are frequently in conflict over spending and saving. Are you the spender too?
It pains me to admit this but I might, just might, be a spender. I love the thrill of finding a good deal on a pair of shoes, picking up groceries and enjoying a nice treat for dinner.
My first shopping memory is centered around shoes, those wooden geisha shoes that you can find all over Japan. I was around 4 years old and my family was living in Japan. I remember wanting those shoes so badly even though my mom said no. But I had to have them, so I waited for the right moment and put them on the conveyor belt. A shoe addiction was born!
Over the years my spending habits cloaked some of the money lessons I had learned when I was younger. I learned to work hard and I learned to be thrifty but I didn’t learn how to manage my money, save or think about long-term financial gains and losses. Those lessons were learned the hard way.
Dating Changes the Game
Then I started dating and I quickly learned it’s not always good to be the spender in the relationship. If your partner is a saver, he will have certain expectations about how you manage your money.
Currently, I’m single, but as I look forward to dating again I am really aware of how potential mates will perceive my money habits and my money situation. Even if no one points it out while you’re dating, they will still notice your financial habits. As a natural recovering spender, I’m very aware of how my money habits and actions could be perceived by other people.
My (No) Shopping Experiment
One day I decided to go cold turkey. I quit shopping for a year. I didn’t buy anything that adorned the body — no shoes, coats, jeans or anything that would give me the amazing thrill I would normally get when shopping. The experience was really eye-opening.
Besides saving thousands of dollars over the course of the year, I was able to really connect with why I, ahem, enjoyed spending so much. To be honest, I realized shopping had given me a bit of an endorphin rush.
Manage Your Partner’s Expectations
Your current or even future partner probably doesn’t want to hear about your need for an endorphin rush — they just don’t want to see their hard-earned dollars flying out the window.
Based on my own experiences, I’d encourage you to have a conversation with your loved one about money and habits. Both people should have an open mind and acknowledge what motivates the other person to do what they do with their money.
I also recommend creating a plan for moving forward. I’ll be honest, if I was with someone who wanted to keep me from buying an adorable pair of shoes, we might not last too long. But if we have a clear long-term financial plan that addresses both our needs, I would be happy to stay focused on our long-term plan. I don’t want to feel like my partner is controlling my money or that I’m being too controlling when it comes to their money decisions.
My Money, My Reality, My Relationship
Even though I’ve done a pretty great job killing my spending habits they will always be a part of my emotional and financial makeup. Owning that reality and working hard to have a healthy relationship with my money will hopefully make my next relationship financially healthy!