Your personality determines a lot about your relationship to money, including how you spend and budget. Knowing if you're an abstainer, moderator, or indulger is a game-changer.

Have you ever put it out there to your friends and family that you were going to do something big and exciting – only to not exactly come through with that goal later on?

If this sounds familiar, you’re SO not alone. Making big, bold changes in our life takes a lot of work and discipline.

Repeat – a lot of work and discipline.

However, what I now know is that there is more to your behavior than just having discipline. Some people actually have predispositions toward certain behaviors that can actually make it much harder to do what they set out to accomplish.

And this all relates to money – trust me!

First let’s unpack three categories: abstainers, moderators, and indulgers.

Abstainers vs. moderators vs. indulgers

Author Gretchen Rubin explains that we live in a very moderation-centric world. All the advice you hear is “everything in moderation.”

But for most of us, we are somewhere on the spectrum – with abstainers and indulgers being on opposite ends, and moderators being smack in the middle.


But what if “just one” isn’t enough? Abstainers have trouble just having one of something, and also have a difficult time stopping something once they’ve started. Less tempted by things that they’ve declared off-limits, they simply abstain.


In the middle of the spectrum are the moderators that enjoy occasional indulgences, but also get anxious at the thought of never having “that one thing” as an option. They can freely enjoy things here and there, enjoying things in moderation.


On the other end of the spectrum are the indulgers that dig in mostly without limits and with fewer boundaries. They can enjoy being more spontaneous with decisions though, but this can be risky.

Knowing your personality type can help you understand your relationship to money

In most areas of your life, you are not necessarily one of these things (an abstainer, moderator, or indulger).

For example, you may be an abstainer with food, but an indulger with your finances.

You get the picture. Once again nothing – especially our personalities – is black and white.

How to master your finances

So if you are (like the rest of us) trying to figure out the right formula or sets of formulas to master your finances, first determine if you are an abstainer, moderator, or indulger in terms of your relationship to money and spending.

Knowing this can help you, practically speaking, get your act together to set you up for success financially, and help you understand why it is that you spend incessantly or perhaps cannot make decisions at all about money and investing.

It can help explain a lot about the what, where, when, how, and why you spend money.

It’s a real eye-opener.

Using your understanding of your financial personality to take action

So cheers to some newfound perspective on how you related to money and how you can use that understanding to be more strategic and smart going forward.

Here’s a good old-fashioned checklist to consider the ways the ways that you may be most vulnerable financially.

  • Consider how you pay for anything and everything and then use only cash, debit, or credit cards depending on what is going to work best for you.
  • Avoid locations, especially if you are an indulger and feeling more on the manic side of money, that may be a spending trigger like online shopping and malls etc.
  • Be realistic about your budget. Moderation doesn’t come easy, so relentlessly pursue and budget for the things you love and nix the things that don’t and won’t serve you at the end of the day.
  • Be clear on your financial goals and make a financial plan. Choose something good and strategic to go all-in for, and commit to your long-term goals.
  • Create targeted savings accounts and that all-important emergency fund for the things you enjoy. You’ll sleep better at night knowing you have the cash saved up for specific things.
  • Create balance in your financial life by not only paying off your debt, but also investing in yourself – even if you don’t have a ton of money.


Knowing whether you are an abstainer, moderator, or indulger with finances can be a game-changer.

So get to it – and share what you’ve discovered with those around you.

It’s a great conversation to have with the people who know you best. Can be a hard conversation too, but you’ll come out stronger ultimately. And that’s the winning move here.

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