Nature vs Nurture: Which One Truly Influences Your Spending Habits?

What do you believe… You are born a saver or a spender?

Do you even believe one can be born either?

Has this timeless debate of spending nature vs nurture ever given you the ultimate truth?

Personally, I think both play a part in our spending habits. But nature comes first.

When I was young, I was never taught how to spend money. Not really. I would only want something and would hear a fierce ”No, we can’t afford that!”. That’s all the talk of money I ever heard of.

My mom was a staunch saver while my dad…Well, the entire opposite. Talk of impulse buying, random allowances, you name it. That was dad’s thing.

And I was born the same. A stubborn spender.

I’d always have needs beyond what I can afford. And I’d always strive to satisfy them.

Not strive as in get a job and spend my sweat or anything, no. I would ask my easy-going dad or take it without permission.

Yeah, it’s really embarrassing but also the blatant truth.

Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t have much. Picture the lower middle-class. But that didn’t deter me from spending. I didn’t see the sacrifices they were putting in, I was subconsciously entitled.

I wouldn’t bang the dinner table if my parents said they can’t afford something, no. I would only try figuring something out. Obviously, it would involve some mischief.

I think my parents quite participated in me being a spoilt brat. A poor spoilt brat. I needed some finance lectures…Umm, lessons. I shouldn’t have been allowed to get my way. Telling me, ‘’ Do not use money wastefully or you’ll be in trouble lady!’’ and leaving it at that doesn’t really work. Or rather it didn’t work for me.

A parent should transparently explain the benefits of proper managing of finances and what will possibly happen if you do the vice versa. The ‘why’ behind any lesson is eye-opening information. It provokes responsibility in a kid. The kind that is self-driven. And that is good financial nurturing.

Spending has cost me my whole life. I grew up getting most of what I want despite our financial status so I grew up with a dangerous mindset.

That I can get anything I want provided I want it so bad.

And I would buy everything I wanted so bad. Money was always getting spent, never with me for long.

When I have no money, I’ll claim that I’ll figure something out. And I will. But eventually, I’d have to pile debts. To cater to my undying needs.

Long story short, I was a spender not only by nature but also by nurture. Nurture plays the bigger part.

Spending habits by Nature

It’s true. Nature has something to do with our spending habits. I have siblings who are savers. In fact, I have a sister who is an uptight saver like mum. She budgets her money like crazy and always seeks more affordable ways of getting anything. I mean anything.

There are savers who actually dislike or let’s use a strong word, hate spending. The kind of people who would spend some money on a trip that they can totally afford but literally yearn to be back so as to continue saving.

I don’t imagine I can reach that point even when I embrace all the saving strategies. That is next level financial discipline that’s just absent in my genes.

So, there are such staunch savers and then there’s me.

I have made remarkable progress but even though I have embraced a saving culture, I do not have a fully developed saver’s spine. I can slip back into splurging really quick if I do not maintain my saving safeguards.

Nurtured Spending Habits

Even when we are born savers or spenders, our nurturing can change the way we handle money. Most kids who were taught the merits of saving have made more responsible financial decisions and vice versa.

I don’t dwell on it much but I wish my parents put me on a leash quite a bit where money is concerned. It might have reduced ”dumb purchases” that I made. Maybe my spender self wouldn’t have diminished but I would have been more conscious about my spending habits.

Who knows anyway.  What matters is that I have learned how it feels to be a kid with a spending nature and no financial knowledge. At least I have taken some steps and customized my own saving culture. It has made me grow my savings and influenced my overall personal growth by a great deal. This way, I can instill a saving culture in my kids as well.

So, what if you are born a spender… or a saver

Whether you are born or nurtured to be a spender, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are willing to change your habits. You need to fish out the things that make you spend subconsciously. What exactly stirs in you such that you make that impulse purchase or buy that Mac pro that you can’t afford. Then dig into how to be a saver and pick stuff that works for you. Create your saving system and make it part of your life.

Mistakes are bound to happen in parenting but the decisions we make as individuals matter a great deal. We all have certain parenting influences that are good or bad but what we learn from them is what matters.

I’ll conclude that nature influences 30% and nurture 70% of our spending habits. This is because consistent nurturing can defeat even the most defiant natural spending habits.

Savers, on the other hand, are really lucky but there is a thing called over-saving as well. People who over-save have a habit of not enjoying life because they can’t buy anything without beating themselves up. It is great to be a saver but overdoing it isn’t healthy either. Let go your reservations sometimes and buy something that’ll give you a genuinely great experience.

Make more, spend less but don’t forget to enjoy living. After all, what’s the point?

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