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6 Types of Spenders: Which One Are You?
6 Types of Spenders: Which One Are You?
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6 Types of Spenders: Which One Are You?

Sheila Brenda Andoi
December 16, 2021

YOLO (You only live once) and enjoyment have become popular phrases among young people who want to live in the moment.

There's just so much pressure to spend money everywhere you turn. It really is difficult not to spend your hard-earned money on items you might not need yet captivate you while you are continuously bombarded with tempting adverts and promotions.

A 2017 Geopoll survey of youth in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda titled the Spending Habits of Youth in Sub-Saharan Africa, found that personal care was the top spend for young people across the five countries.

We all spend money. But we all spend it in different ways. Some people love to spoil themselves at every opportunity they get. While on the other hand, some people are the total opposite and only buy stuff when it's on sale or if it is something they have been saving towards for a long time. 

While everybody has the liberty to spend their money however they want, that shouldn't be done to the detriment of their financial future. Understanding the reasons for your spending behaviors might help you gain control over your finances.

Do you want to know which type of spender you are? Let's dive in.

1. The Frugalists

The phrase "frugal" refers to people who prefer to save money rather than spend it. Rather than spending their money, frugalists love keeping it safe in a savings account.

Marketing advertising and commercials are less appealing to frugalists as they are influenced by the price they perceive the products ought to be and not by what is being promoted. 

They have a conservative attitude towards money and believe that their spending must be in line with their budgets. They don't spend money on unnecessary items. They are great budgeters and planners.

Some of the common characteristics of frugal spenders include: 

  • They often shop second-hand items, and in thrifty stores.
  • They value quality over quantity.
  • They are constantly learning about money in order to improve their financial lives.
  • They live within their means.

Read more about how you can achieve a frugal lifestyle here.

2. The Spendthrifts

Spendthrifts are prone to blowing large sums of money with little regard for the repercussions or their future. Often, spendthrifts are dazzled by the excitement of the purchase, leaving them unable to anticipate buyer's remorse or realise the absurdity of a product's unusual price.

This type of spender spends their money without thinking twice. For them, buying goods does not cause any pain. They enjoy buying what attracts their attention right away. A common practice among spendthrifts is impulse buying.  

Typically, they will not require much persuasion to make a purchase. Although spendthrifts may not feel any discomfort at first when buying a product, the pain and regrets hit after they've already purchased it, however, this happens on rare occasions.

Some of the common characteristics of spendthrifts include: 

  • They anticipate purchases and do not feel compelled to save their money.
  • They have a tendency to splurge and overindulge.
  • When faced with spending situations, they are unable to maintain any sort of control.
  • They love shopping.

3. The “Treat Yourself” Spenders

Millenial Money, a study commissioned by Fidelity Investments Inc., a multinational financial services corporation, found that the many millennials often “treat” themselves. 

The justification normally is, "I work extremely hard, therefore I deserve to spoil myself." It is true that there are moments when it makes perfect sense to "treat yourself," but oftentimes this statement always leads to poor financial decisions and overspending.

Some of the common characteristics of this type of spenders include:

  • They always convince themselves that they can earn the money back.
  • They spend more on vacation than what they save.
  • They use credit cards as their backup plan.

4. The Self-Esteem Spenders

The self-esteem spenders spend money whenever and wherever they can. They have an obsessive drive to spend their money rather than acquire items. They enjoy shopping for gifts and can even blow their budgets just to buy a loved one a gift. 

Self-esteem spenders have an "it is what it is" attitude and so they find it difficult to stick to their budgets. They shop just to improve their self-esteem.

Some of their common characteristics include:

  • They often feel like they are in a purchasing competition with others.
  • They spend money when they are stressed about money.
  • They overbuy items and end up returning them.

5. The FOMO Spenders

A FOMO “Fear of Missing Out” type of spender is somebody who allows others to have significant control over where, when, and how much money they spend. 

FOMO spenders simply like to be part of the group or fit in even if they know they're unable to. They can go to any length just to feel like they belong and not be left out.

A 2019 study by Qualtircs, an experience management company, and Credit Karma, a personal finance company showed that nearly 50% of millennials have ever spent money that they didn't have and even went into debt to finance themselves and keep with their friends.

More than 44% indicated that they are worried about missing out on once-in-a-lifetime adventures, while more than 36% are scared of feeling like they don't belong.

A FOMO spender can go on a totally unplanned vacation, dress in a certain manner, eat in certain restaurants whether they can afford it or not in an attempt to keep up with what's "cool" 

Some of their characteristics are:

  • They always say yes to people, trips, and purchases.
  • They are concerned about other people's opinions.
  • They don't keep the future in mind when making purchases.

          Read more about how FOMO can harm your finances here.

6. The Smart Spenders

Smart spenders are able to distinguish between their needs and wants with ease, and they tend to buy only what they require. They may overspend once in a while, but they always shop around for the best deals.

Smart spenders consider the long-term implications of their shopping choices before they make a purchase as well. They can't buy anything if they don't know how they will pay for it. These spenders pay off their debt on time if they have any and always put aside their extra money into savings to cover for unforeseen costs and emergencies.

Some of the characteristics of smart spenders are:

  • They are future-oriented.
  • They are patient enough to do their research about a product before making a purchase.
  • They are open to trying other alternatives.
  • They have and follow their budget.
  • They don't care about keeping up with the Joneses.


It's time to explore what you can do to get the most of your money once you have determined which of the spending types best fits you and give attention to how you can better handle your money.

Make a list of everything you spend on, add up all your income and expenditures, and figure out how you are fairing as you aim at making better and informed financial decisions. With one step at a time, minor changes can potentially have a significant impact.

And since it’s the end of the year, why not do a complete financial self-audit? 

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Sheila Brenda Andoi is a communicator, journalist, editor, and writer passionate about human-interest stories. You can find her on Twitter @sheilaandoi

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