Understanding Our Spending Habits: Tightwads & Spendthrifts

With Dr. Rick Scott | Behavioural Scientist | Author | Associate Professor


This episode explores the psychology of money and our relationships with money, beginning with a debt prioritization study that even caught the eye of financial guru Dave Ramsey, who called Dr. Scott an ‘egghead’. The discussion broadens to include personal stories about how family influences and past experiences shape our spending habits.

We also examine the contrasting spending styles of ‘tightwads’ and ‘spendthrifts,’ revealing the emotions behind each approach and their impact on financial decision-making. Emphasis is placed on the importance of self-awareness in recognizing our own fears and anxieties about money.

Dr. Scott then explores how couples handle finances, discussing the benefits of joint bank accounts for fostering trust and minimizing financial disputes. It introduces the concept of financial translucency—maintaining a healthy awareness of each other’s financial activities without needing detailed oversight. Challenges arising from different spending habits are considered, highlighting how mutual understanding and compromise, particularly in gift-giving, can lead to greater relationship satisfaction and happiness.


  • The psychology of money is influenced by both mathematical and emotional factors.
  • Personal experiences and family stories play a significant role in shaping our views and behaviours around money.
  • Tightwads and spendthrifts have different orientations towards spending, but both can experience regret and anxiety.
  • Understanding our tendencies and emotions around money can help us make more informed financial decisions.
  • Joint bank accounts can promote trust and reduce scorekeeping in couples. Financial transparency and trust are crucial in a relationship.
  • Mismatched spending habits can be challenging, but there is potential for happiness with mindful approaches.
  • Finding balance and happiness in financial matters requires individuality and joint decision-making.
  • Privacy and secrecy can coexist in a relationship, but certain secrets can be destructive and need to be addressed.


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