Every Cent Counts

For the same reason that they make efficient use of their time (see earlier post titled “Human Doing”), people with OCPD also make efficient use of their money.

People with OCPD are preoccupied with the efficient use of money because their all-or-nothing thinking hyperbolizes the consequences of money that is spent in any other way.

In attempt to maximize their efficiency in the use of their money, people with OCPD generally try to spend as little as they can, especially on things that are not aligned with their passion. When shopping for an item stocked in all stores A to Z, people with OCPD most likely check out the prices in all twenty-six stores, revisit the cheapest vendor, and then further negotiate the price down until they have gotten the best possible deal.

Although their efficient use of money may accumulate to a sizable amount of savings in the long run, it can also be a source of frustration to many others who expect generosity. In the OCPD mind, generosity is an inefficient use of money because it is spending more than what is required. In their attempt to maintain their protective spending practice, people with OCPD often refrain from spending generously on others. Though people with OCPD are only trying to meet all their financial obligations while simultaneously coping with a fear that governs most of their lives, the rest of the insensitive world often belittles them and calls them “stingy.”


  • You have a strong ability for money management
  • You are skilled at discerning the value of different purchasable goods and services
  • Your mind can keep track of large sums of numbers and calculations
  • You are good at bargaining


If the efficient use of money is that important to you, always ask for a separate bill apart from your friends so that you only complicate your own spending, not everyone else’s. Do not expect others to spend their money in the way that you do. Remember that, unless you have been assigned to a position of leadership in the management of others’ money, you really do not have any right to control how money is spent by everyone else. If others appear displeased or offended by the way you use your money, assure them that it is not out of your inconsideration for them. When others extend their generosity towards you, accept it gratefully and let their gesture enrich your relationship. If you only pretend to be grateful on the outside while treating their generosity as a debt that you are now obligated to pay back sometime in the future, you have just taken their genuine act of kindness and turned it into a cold, heartless transaction. How dare you do that! Accept their generosity for what it is and do not keep track of “debts” with your friends.

Understand that your OCPD friend is the way he or she is because of fear, not because he or she does not care about you. Do not take his or her lack of generosity personally. When your OCPD friend feels devastated by his or her inefficient use of money, provide emotional support by showing empathy. Try to help him or her see that the consequences of his or her misuse of money are not as bad as he or she thinks. If your friend attempts to control your use of money, stand your ground and say that you want to spend your money in your way, not because it is better or more efficient, but because you feel more at ease with life. If you two are married and you share a bank account with your OCPD spouse, remind your OCPD spouse that he or she is not solely in charge of the shared money. If your OCPD friend is lacking generosity in an area that means a lot to you, put down your pride for the sake of the relationship and openly communicate to him or her that you would really appreciate his or her generosity in that area. If you do not want to come across as being very unfair to your OCPD friend, you should be able to explain how you have been generous towards him or her in that area in the past. If your OCPD friend makes the effort to put his or her efficient use of money aside for you, show him or her a lot of appreciation for it. This will help your OCPD friend see that such “inefficient” use of money does make a difference.

Understand that your preoccupation with the efficient use of money is a cognitive distortion. When you feel distressed from the inefficient use of money, reject that negative feeling. Train yourself to feel at ease in these times. As you allow yourself to make good spending decisions rather than the best spending decisions, your mind will send messages of discomfort less frequently and less intensely in times that you do not make the most efficient use of your money. Encourage yourself with the idea that your relationships will be enriched by your generosity.

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2 thoughts on “Every Cent Counts

  1. Try to be aware that to many people, time = money. (Plus, figure in the cost of gas.) Your partner may be correct that it is not worth it to drive an extra 15 minutes in each direction in order to save $.25 on one container of laundry detergent. Or even $2.50. That 30 minutes spent driving, plus another 15 minutes in line, (not even counting gas costs) is time that you don’t get to spend doing something more enjoyable with your partner; watching a favorite TV show, or the sunset, or listening to music, or sitting the garden breathing in the scent of roses or jasmine.

  2. ocpd1234 says:

    This is the one trait I do not have. Maybe because lack of generosity is heavily frowned upon by most members of my family, even my extended family.

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