Survey: Do You Influence Your Partner’s Spending Habits?

couple looking over bills gleefully

There’s a reason people call their partners their “better half.” Most of us want partners and relationships that influence us to be our best selves. In most cases, we think of living our best lives in terms of attitude, health and personal growth, but there’s no doubt that money also plays a part in the equation. Whether we like it or not, studies have shown money has a big influence on relationships.

In a study we conducted on finances and relationships, we found that money is one of the top causes for friction between couples. In fact, one in five couples get into an argument at least half of the time they talk about money. If there’s no resolution, this kind of frequent bickering can put strain on a relationship and lead to resentment or even a break up.  

But what about the other way around? We know money affects relationships, but do people’s partnerships influence their money habits? We surveyed over 200 people in relationships to find out.

Even though financial disagreements can affect relationships long before you move in together, it becomes a bigger issue once you’re sharing household expenses. For this reason, we surveyed only people who were married or lived with their partner full-time.

partner influences spending question results

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • One third said their partner influenced them to spend less.
  • 18 percent stated that their partner influenced them to spend more.
  • 32 percent report not being influenced by their partner or influencing their partner in any way.

One in three say their partner influenced them to spend less

One in three say their partner influenced them to spend less.

It turns out that in 29 percent of the cases, or just about one third of the time, a partner’s influence can be beneficial to your bank account based on our survey findings. Having a partner that is responsible with money may even strengthen the relationship based on some other findings from a study from the Journal of Family and Economic Issues.

Their study also reported that in these cases, people who perceive their partner to be more responsible with money also have a higher sense of well-being.

Only 18 percent say their partner influenced them to spend more

In only 18 percent of the cases, couples stated that their partner was a bad influence on them and actually led them to spend more money. The same study from the Journal of Family and Economic Issues found that couples who felt their partners were financially irresponsible were less committed to the relationship.

More people say their partner influenced their spending than the other way around. In fact, only 6 percent were actually willing to admit they influenced their partner to spend more.

32 percent reported no influence from their partners

There are instances where couples don’t report influencing each other in any way. Our study found this to be the case about 32 percent of the time. Looking closer at the age breakdown, we found that those aged 45+ reported the least amount of influence.

Regardless of how you and your partner spend your money, there are still ways to keep your finances in order and avoid the potential of overspending, which can lead to debt and credit repair.

We’ve outlined some tips in the infographic below to help you and your partner to keep the your relationship going strong, even if you have different views on spending your cash.

Partner Spending Habits infogrpahic

Financial responsibility is an attractive quality in a potential partner, and having a partner who practices a pay-as-they-go philosophy to avoid debt is one of the most attractive money management traits.  

42 percent of adults say knowing someone’s credit score would affect their willingness to date that person, according to a recent survey. If you’re already married or living together, understanding your finances and your credit score is one of the first steps you can take to getting on the same page about your spending habits.

Methodology

The statistics in this post came from one survey question facilitated by Survey Monkey. The sample consisted of over 250 Americans and ran during January 2019. Post-stratification weighting was employed in order to attain a sample that is representative of the population.