The psychology of saving

Here’s a look at common personalities plus tips to help you avoid danger zones

08 July 2019|5 minute read

Young woman shopping

We all have our own tried-and-trusted methods of saving (and spending) – some a little more successful than others – but have you considered the psychology behind these behaviours.

Many psychologists agree that our approach to saving is primarily a learned behaviour, that our attitude to money is a mirror of how our parents dealt with and talked about money while we were kids. Did they rely on credit cards or were they frugal? Were they tenacious in chasing their goals or more laid back? These are the kind of traits that influence us in adulthood and lay the foundations for our financial future. Here’s a look at a few of the common personality types.

Keep in mind that if you see yourself fall into a category you’re not happy with, financial habits can be relearned!

The hoarder

To the hoarder, money means security, and the threat of rainy days always seems to hang inthe air, even on sunny days. They will stash their money, sometimes in cash, avoiding any sortof risk. Hoarders are likely to seek out best bargains, often spending a lot of time doing this, andwill limit their lifestyle to avoid parting with their money.


Of course it’s great to protect yourself financially, but it’s ok to let yourself have fun and enjoythe benefits of the money you’ve worked hard for. Create a budget that specifically sets asidemoney you can enjoy guilt-free, and consider speaking to a financial advisor for low-risk ways togrow your money.

The social spendster

For the social spendster, money delivers social status – think the big (branded) buy forthemselves or friends or even splashing out on a shout at a restaurant or bar. For thespendster, spending money equals self worth. This means the spendster tends to splurge, savelittle, and overwork the credit cards, accumulating debt.


Before spending your money, take a moment to ask yourself why you’re really buyingsomething. If you realise you’re buying something for a confidence boost, look for healthierways to reward yourself. Spend some time assessing your transaction records, paying attentionto the interest that is being added on to the original prices. Consider talking to a trustworthyfriend or a financial advisor.

The avoider

Avoiders operate on the see no evil hear no evil principle. They rarely look at bank statementsand fail to make long-term financial plans. Avoiders actually may have a high level of anxietyaround finances and frequently exist in the dark about their own financial situation. Manyavoiders will hold a negative view of money, and feel they don’t deserve to be wealthy.


Take a breath and push yourself to look at your financial statements. Take a first step by settingyourself a small, achievable goal, such as setting aside time to make sure you’re getting theright advice. It helps to try to shift your thinking so you’re viewing money as a buffer orsomething that brings you security.

The money worshipper

The name says it all – money worshippers get a bit obsessive when it comes to money. Theymay track their investments every few minutes and feverishly strive to build wealth. For theworshipper, no sum of money is ever large enough. The cause could stem from fear of securityand control over life, or the feeling that money will set them free. The relentless chase formoney, however, can sometimes come at the cost of family and friends.


Find ways to feel calmer and more in control of life, perhaps through focusing on family orfriends. Set goals that include not only finance, but overall wellbeing, setting a time budget forleisure activities.

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