Natural saver and natural spender: teaching generosity

Natural saver: generosity
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In an earlier post I wrote about a person’s natural tendencies. This was based on Gretchen Rubin’s audiobook Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. Another concept that Gretchen discusses is recognising whether a person as an over-spender or an under-spender.  These concepts are more relevant to adults because we have the money to spend, whereas young children ought to have rules about spending money.  Nevertheless, it got me thinking about whether each of my children is a natural spender (over-spender) or a natural saver (under-spender).

Natural saver vs natural spender

A natural spender doesn’t have to be convinced of the merits of spending and it doesn’t take much to convince a natural saver to save.  In my household, we have a natural spender and a natural saver.  The third child is still unknown at this stage. Whether our children are natural spenders or natural savers, we must accept this is who they are.  We don’t necessarily want to change who they are but we can tailor our messages to each type.

I teach my natural spender to spend responsibly and wisely.  I also have more conversations about saving money with my natural spender.  On the flip-side, I teach my natural saver the difference between hoarding and saving.  I also have more conversations about responsible and wise spending with my natural saver child.

Generosity and nature

I find it easier to talk about giving, charity and donation with a child who is a natural saver.  Perhaps this is because we often associate giving, donation and charity with money donation.  A natural saver sees spending money on things as wasteful.  Once I explained the different ways charities use donated money, my natural saver is convinced that donating money is not the same as spending on things.  Donating money to charity is not wasteful.

A natural spender on the other hand often derives instant gratification from a purchase.  Donating money to charity seems like a waste because it doesn’t have any immediate visible effect.  The natural spender doesn’t experience the same gratification in parting with that money.  One way I have encouraged generosity with my natural spender is to explain that generosity and charity take place in many different ways.  It comes from the heart and can take the form of giving our time and services to others.  I involve this particular child in volunteer work every year – I sign both of us up as volunteers to serve the community on Christmas Day.

Is your child a natural spender or a natural saver? How has this influenced your money lessons? Share it with us in the comments.