Financial Behavior – Are You a Saver or Spender?

I’ve seen polls on other people’s blogs, so I thought I’d give it a try. When I was thinking about a topic, one thing that came to me is how people manage their money. I read something on a blog a few days ago that really impressed me. Unfortunately, I can’t remember whose blog it was, but I thought it was really interesting. This blogger was talking about the tax rebate and how she was going to put it into a savings account instead of spending it like the government wants us to. And I was like “Right on!”. I get really fed up with our whole culture of buy, buy, buy, gotta have it, more, more, more!

I guess a lot of that is my upbringing. If there was one thing my parents managed to get through my thick skull, it was the importance of saving. I think I can genuinely say that I have saved some portion of EVERY pay check I’ve ever received.

My husband, on the other hand, has saved absolutely nothing out of ANY pay check he’s ever received. He just doesn’t get it and now that I am digging into my in-law’s finances as we settle their estate, I can see exactly why. His parents never even tried to teach him that. Why?  Because they never saved a dime either.

I guess that thing about opposites attract is really true. It’s funny because whenever we get some extra money, like this tax rebate, I can just see the little wheels in his mind going to think of what he can buy and he can see exactly the opposite going in mine. Usually, we hit on some kind of a compromise – spend a little on something fun and put most of it in savings or pay off some bills with it.

Right now my oldest boy Matt is going through a minor financial crisis. He hasn’t gotten a lot of hours at work lately and even though I’ve pestered the heck out of him to put some money into savings, he hasn’t done it (wow, a teenager who didn’t listen to his Mom – gosh I’m shocked!). Now of course, his truck has broken down and he doesn’t have the money to fix it.

So, that puts me in an interesting position. If I don’t lend him the money to fix his car, he can’t go to work or school and he would likely lose both his job and his scholarship. The bus or a bike aren’t really options because they’ve cut way back on the bus routes in our neighborhood and his school is about 20 miles away. He doesn’t have any friends nearby who could give him a lift and it’s the wrong time and location for his Dad or I to give him a lift.

So I guess I’m going to have to lend it to him (out of MY savings, ironically), but I’m trying to think how I can really drive the point home so he will get the message next time. Maybe I’ll charge him some really exhorbitant interest or something. Then I’ll take the extra money he’s paid me and sneak it into his college fund. He’s actually a very smart shopper, so at least he’s picked up on that much of the lesson, but we’re still not quite there on the saving part.

Anyway, I guess the point of the poll is to see if I am alone in the universe as being a “save for a rainy day” type, or if I am more normal than I thought….

So – are you a saver or a spender?  And why?

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