Cheapskate, tightwad, penny-pincher, and stingy are just a few of the words that may come to mind when someone says they are frugal. While trends like minimalism and simple living have made frugality more popular, there are still many negative connotations surrounding this concept. Generally, the negative commentary tends to come from individuals who prefer to spend their money freely, possibly even irresponsibly.
There are many reasons that people choose to be frugal, either out of necessity or due to personal beliefs, and personality type certainly plays a role as well. To determine which personality traits affect frugality, we asked respondents to agree or disagree with the statement “You are a frugal person.”
The data we received supported much of our previous inquiries regarding money and personality types. Our previous research has shown that two personality traits tend to play a significant role in spending habits, and they are Mind and Tactics.
Extroverted and Prospecting types are often much more likely to spend their money impulsively, and are less likely to put money into savings than Introverted and Judging types. When we asked our respondents about frugality, Introverted and Judging personalities were significantly more likely to agree than their fellow Extroverted and Prospecting types. We’ll go into further detail below.
Sentinels (63% agreeing)
It may come as no surprise that the orderly and responsible Sentinels were the most likely personality types to engage in frugal spending behaviors. These Observant and Judging types prefer practicality and planning over spontaneity in all aspects of their lives, including their spending habits. Budgets, savings accounts, and retirement plans take priority over impulse purchases for the dutiful Sentinels.
Defenders (ISFJ) (69%) were the most likely personality type to identify as frugal, followed closely by their Thinking-type counterparts, the Logisticians (ISTJ) (67%). This is particularly interesting, since Thinking types were generally more likely to agree than Feeling types (57% vs. 55%, respectively). This difference is very small, but it is worth exploring.
One possible explanation for Defenders reporting higher levels of frugality may be their roles in life. Defenders often find themselves in caretaking roles of some kind, whether personal or occupational, and this may directly influence their spending habits. This may translate into a mother on a strict budget clipping coupons. It could be a social worker who sees clients in need, day in and day out, and chooses to forgo extraneous spending and put some money aside to help (or to avoid falling on similar hard times). Put simply, their emotions may play a greater role in Defenders’ decision to live frugally.
Analysts certainly see the value in being fiscally responsible, although for slightly different reasons than Sentinels. While Analyst personality types value logic and rationality, they are less inclined to stick to a certain plan or budget just because it’s the “proper” thing to do. If an Analyst finds value in frugality, they are all in. But they are unlikely to engage in frugal spending habits just because it’s considered the responsible thing to do.
Not only are Architects (INTJ) extremely, well... analytical, but they are also incredibly goal-oriented, which clearly plays a significant role in their tendency towards frugality. Architect personalities are 11% more likely than their Prospecting counterparts, the Logicians (INTP), to agree that they are frugal (66% vs. 55%, respectively).
Logicians share the analytic traits of others in their Role group; however, their Prospecting trait makes them more much more absent-minded and easily distracted. Frugality may be something that Logicians believe in, but their propensity for spontaneity makes them more likely to engage in impulse purchases than Judging types.
Diplomats and Explorers (53% and 51%)
Variations within the Diplomat and Explorer Roles were quite pronounced, especially among the Diplomats, with Introverted and Judging personality types being significantly more likely to agree that they are frugal people.
Diplomats have a tendency to be led by their hearts, and their feelings can affect their views on financial issues as well. A certain cause or individual in need can influence them to give both their time and money, whether they have the means to do so or not. Advocates (INFJ) (64%) are the most likely Diplomats to prioritize frugality, as their Judging and Introverted traits combine to keep these personalities headed towards their goals and away from being easily swayed by the influences of others. Campaigners (ENFP) (45%), on the other hand, are often less practical and focused than Advocates, and were also much less likely to agree that they are frugal.
Explorers are the ultimate pleasure-seeking personality types. While a majority of Explorers agreed that they are frugal, there are large differences between Introverted and Extroverted Explorers. Virtuosos (ISTP), for example, are much more likely to engage in frugal spending habits than Entertainers (ESFP) (57% vs. 47%, respectively). Virtuosos are incredibly independent and are unlikely to have their spending habits influenced by those around them. They aren’t as interested in aesthetics or impressing others as Entertainers can be.
Confident Individualism and Constant Improvement (61% and 60% agreeing)
It is evident that Introversion plays a significant role in spending habits, with Introverted personality types being 9% more likely to agree that they are frugal than Extraverted types (60% versus 51%, respectively). Our research has shown that Introverts, in general, are not as spontaneous as their Extroverted counterparts, which makes it easier for them to stick to a budget. Introverts are also less likely to seek the approval of others, making them less interested in keeping up with the latest (often costly) trends.
Assertive Defenders (ISFJ-A) (71%) were the most likely personality type to identify as frugal, while Turbulent Architects (INTJ-T) and Turbulent Logisticians (ISTJ-T) (both 67% agreeing) were not far behind. The Introverted/Judging combination results in personalities that value order and responsibility, making them more likely to develop budgets and stick to them.
Assertive Adventurers (ISFP-A) (53%), on the other hand, were the least likely Introverts to claim frugality, largely due to their Prospecting trait. Prospecting personality types are often less likely to concern themselves with planning ahead, creating budgets, or anything else that takes the spontaneity out of life. While they may be interested in being frugal, they are less likely to practice it as strictly as Judging types.
People Mastery and Social Engagement (53% and 50%)
Extraverted personalities are much less likely to engage in frugal spending habits, which may have a lot to do with other Extraverts. Being the social creatures that they are, Extraverted individuals prefer spending time with others and engaging in stimulating activities – like shopping. While Introverts may view shopping as just another item on their to-do list (or an unpleasant chore), Extraverts are more likely to engage in activities like shopping as a social excursion. This also goes for eating out at restaurants or meeting friends for drinks, and these social activities can have a significant impact on one’s spending. Extraverted personality types are also more impulsive than Introverts, making them more likely to purchase something on a whim, whether it’s in the budget or not.
With only 44% agreeing, Turbulent Campaigners (ENFP-T) were the least likely personality type to identify as frugal. Not only are they incredibly sociable, but Campaigners are also spontaneous and energetic. Having fun is high on their priority list, and they are unlikely to let a budget get in the way of having a good time. Turbulent Commanders (ENTJ-T) (61%) and Assertive Executives (ESTJ-A) (60%) are both more concerned with efficiency and effectiveness than having a good time, and are less likely to make impulsive or impractical purchases.
Frugality requires consistency and impulse control, two areas where Introverted and Judging personality types tend to excel. Extroverted and Prospecting personalities, on the other hand, are more apt to engage in spontaneous splurging, which does not bode well for maintaining frugal spending habits.
Spending and frugality can both be taken too far, so as with most things in life, balance truly is key. Financial responsibility is important, but it can be equally important to spend money on once-in-a-lifetime experiences or helping others in need. What is most important is a healthy relationship with money and a spending plan that works for your specific needs.
Would you consider yourself a frugal person? Why (or why not)? Let’s discuss it in the comments section!