The Spender VS The Saver: How to Keep the Peace During the Holidays

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chase Freedom for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

If there is one area of almost constant contention in my marriage, it is over money.

Not a big shocker, is it? Most married couples fight over money. Money Magazine‘s survey found that 70% of married couples argue about money.

In our marriage I am the anti-spender. I pretty much hate spending money in any form or activity, and think everything is too expensive. I love free stuff, cheap stuff, and deals. Coupons are friends, as are cash back rewards.

My husband is the spender. He doesn’t see the monetary cost, he only sees what will be gained from having X, Y, or Z in our home or in our memories.

I like to think I rein him in, and that he reminds me that spending money isn’t inherently evil, and that there are gains to certain spending.

When one is the spender and the other is a saver it makes marriage rough, especially during the holiday Christmas shopping season! Great tips for making it work and keeping the peace.Embracing Gifts Without Eyeing the Costs

But, it’s still hard when you consider the fact that one of his more dominant Love Languages is gifts, and gifts is pretty much a love language I do not speak.

My husband gives me fantastic gifts for special occasions and even randomly throughout the year (I’m talking breakfast in bed, flowers from the store, and even candy bars or donuts just for me).

I have learned to smile and say thank you, and not nag about the cost of said gift, which is hard.

And when it comes to me gifting my husband? Well, I often fail. And totally fail him in the process.

Part of the problem is that my husband spends money on himself throughout the year, not really waiting for special occasions, so when a special occasion does come, we sometimes don’t have money for a great gift (or for the “bigger” usually electronic gifts he likes), so I’m left getting him something, well, not so awesome, or even, gulp, nothing at all.

So, he ends up sad and mad and feeling unloved, and I end up feeling terrible but also slightly smug in my self-righteousness, because it’s his fault we didn’t have money to spend on him because he already spent it.

It’s a terrible cycle here people and really not all that healthy!

I choose to accept the gifts. I choose to accept my husband’s expression of love. I choose to learn how to give great gifts so I can express love to him in a way that speaks to him (even if it takes a while!). I choose to ignore my practical self that screams it’s stupid to spend so much on these things.

How to Rein in Christmas Spending

When the Holiday season rolls around, it makes the pressure of gifting and budgeting extra stressful.

Surprisingly, Christmastime is the time of year that my frugal self just wants to buy it all. There are just so many amazing deals! So many more ways to save on things I denied myself throughout the year because of cost. My Christmastime greed rears its head as I score killer savings on gifts for my family and even a bit for myself.

Because like 85% of shoppers, my husband and I like to treat ourselves to awesome gifts too. I mean, our kids aren’t old enough to buy these things for us, and we know it won’t be gifted to us any other way.

I mean, how could you pass up a large 28″ SwissGear Upright Spinner suitcase on sale for 50% off at Target when you happen to have $55 in cash back rewards that you can use to pay for the suitcase right there in the store via the Chase Freedom Mobile App? It’s especially hard when your previous suitcase bit the dust years ago and you happen to be traveling for the holidays and have other upcoming trips in the works. My husband and I could not! We were sold!

To balance out my husband’s (and sometimes my own) over-the-top spending during the holidays (though mines looks like $80 and my husband’s more like $250), I encourage him to use rewards I have saved up over the course of the year using phone apps and rewards credit cards when making his purchases.  He can gift away without me hating the ridiculous amount of money he spends.

When one is the spender and the other is a saver it makes marriage rough, especially during the holiday Christmas shopping season! Great tips for making it work and keeping the peace.

A survey conducted by Chase Freedom revealed that 77% of shoppers who have rewards credit cards are likely to treat themselves to something special with the rewards they earning buying presents for others. As we often find ourselves charging a thing or two onto credit cards during the holiday season, it just makes sense to earn rewards for doing it.

Chase Freedom is offering cardholders 10% cash back on up to $1,500 in new purchases from,, and through December 31, 2015, which is awesome! I love more ways to save! You can learn more about it here.

If you’re going to be cashing out some of your Chase Freedom card rewards, make it easy on yourself by getting their new mobile app. You can conveniently redeem rewards on the spot when paying in-store.

How to Keep the Peace During the Holidays & Save Money

Other things my husband and I have done to manage the disagreements of our spender/saver personalities, especially during the holiday season are:

1) Assign a His/Her spending budget every month. No guilt.

2) Sit down and budget our money together. Plan for (big) purchases at the beginning of the month.

3) Talk about major purchases before you buy them.

4) Plan out exactly what you will be buying the kids for Christmas, and how much you’ll spend on each other.

5) Don’t look at ads! Don’t shop Black Friday or Cyber Monday unless the specific items you are planning to buy are on killer sales those days.

6) Earn and cash in on those cash back rewards and shop through cash back websites.

We are far from perfect in our spender vs saver personalities, and still argue over these differences. But, we have come to a much better understanding of each other and a real game plan for the holidays, even if my husband gets carried away gifting me something awesome.

Who’s the spender in your relationship? How do you manage the saver vs spender dynamics during the holidays? And what are you treating yourself to during all the awesome holiday sales?

Visit Sponsors SiteWhen one is the spender and the other is a saver it makes marriage rough, especially during the holiday Christmas shopping season! Great tips for making it work and keeping the peace.


  1. says

    I’m like you and my husband is like your husband heh. I’m so always looking at our bank account and he’s looking at the long term benefits of having something.

  2. Becca says

    We’re pretty much on the same page when it comes to spending. But one thing that I still struggle with after 16 years of marriage is that my mother in law’s love language is gift-giving. It’s how she tells people she loves them. That means she goes waaay overboard for the grandchildren (as I’m writing this, two weeks from Christmas, there are 8 presents under the tree from her to each grandchild, and I’m sure there will be more before the big day comes). What complicates matters is that she’s not allowed to buy Christmas presents for one set of grandchildren, because they’re Muslim and their father won’t allow them to have Christmas presents; and with another set of grandchildren, she’s only allowed to buy one present per child. This actually hurts her, because gift giving is how she expresses love; and I know it hurts her (I’ve been spending a lot of time with her recently because of her health problems, so we’ve had a lot of time to talk about it) and so I don’t feel that it’s right for me to say, Enough. And I really am grateful – all of the presents are things my kids will love, even if they don’t need them. But I also feel awkward, because so many people in her life use her, they always have their hands out asking for more, and I don’t want to be that person. I want her to know that I’m spending time with her and taking her to her appointments and so on because I genuinely love he, and not because I expect another present under the Christmas tree. So it’s a fine line between letting her speak her love language, and me feeling bad that she might misconstrue my motives.

    • says

      Wow! Yes. I do think it’s a fine line. You sound like you are doing your best with the situation and your intentions are pure. I wouldn’t let it worry you so much if you are being honest with the situation. And I’m slightly jealous you have such a doting mother-in-law.

  3. Anne says

    First, I’m now the saver, hubby is the spender still. Christmas past always went like this….I bought the gifts for friends and extended family, we went shopping for kids, I bought for husband and self (I know, but this way I get things I’ll actually use). Which translates to way too much, as we started out with only so much and ended up going over budget because he felt Christmas needs to be a certain way (cool stuff, no lasting value, but a Christmas to remember!) and I’m a pushover. It also means stuff he wanted to give, not what the person getting it wanted. And topping up gifts to make it even for everyone.

    Fast forward to present. I set a budget and save all year to get there. I tell him the budget, and we ask for ideas from the gang, we then go shopping with a set spending goal. Last year we went overbudget by $3.52.

    He still struggles with guilt because we don’t buy every thing without a thought. The kids guilt us with “Is that all?” Christmas gifting is about wants, not needs at our house. Sometimes there’s a teachable moment (even though it’s hard for a couple of the kids to agree with) that Christmas (birthday, etc) is not about the gift or number of gifts.

    I struggle with the “You don’t know me, look at what you bought!

    Let’s just call it a work in progress. The ultimate goal is perfect gift, grateful recipient, no Christmas hangover debt.


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