Taking care of the pennies so the pounds take care of themselves, as the old saying goes, might be provident advice - but research out last year from the Queensland University of Technology suggests that people who don't splash cash around for others tend to be more stressed than their generous counterparts.
So although those with the Scrooge factor in their personalities might just feel that he or she is feathering their proverbial nest - in fact the biochemical effects of stress - cortisol and increased heart rate - point to negative feelings when we treat someone unfairly.
And, unsurprisingly, the respondents in a research project, which featured a financial bargaining game - in which they were offered an unfair low financial offers by their partners - also experienced stress as a result of being cheated.
What's half of $33.35?
Most of us have had the joy-eroding experience of someone in a group dinner wanting to add up every morsel eaten and translate its financial attribution to each diner.
Or what about the bean counting travel companion who rounds up the cost of the holiday hire car, head bent low over calculations and currency exchange rates, whilst the rest of you just want to celebrate with a last margarita at the airport.
According to German researchers, being mean could be in the genes. Scientists have pinpointed to identifiable DNA that makes people stingy with their cash. In a research based gambling game in which winners donated to a little girl in poverty in Peru, those with a 'G' classification of gene were twice as generous as those with the 'A' version.
However, previous research into this vexed subject suggests it is not all genes at play - it also is linked to upbringing, education and religion. But not gender. Seems too that those who are stingy are often dealing with an unmet need - possibly from their childhood. Feeling insecure about one area of your life can cause you to feel insecure about money.
Does this then mean that the established fact that those who have more money give less,
suggest that the richer you are, the more emotional unmet needs you are grappling with?
According to a 2002 Independent Sector survey, households earning more than $100,000 a year contributed 2.7 per cent of their income to charity, compared to 4.2 per cent from those earning less than $25,000.
Altruism or a feel good factor?
It turns out that those of us who are more inclined to be generous are not doing it out of pure altruism. In fact there is a debate in the science literature as to whether true altruism even exists. Rather than a selfless concern for the other, according to a paper in the Journal of Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, helping others is intrinsically rewarding on a psychological level and thus generous people can be seen to be exercising their personal interest to benefit from the feel good factor.
But regardless or whether it is altruism - or just a drive to seek the happy hormone oxytocin - generosity seems to be the sweet spot between frugality and profligacy. It strengthens social connections and amplifies gratitude. And takes away the 'have-not' mentality, which is such a damp squib.
Spendthrift or tightwad?
Of course one of the issues, which often finds its way to my practice is that of couples arguing about each other's spending habits. Money is one of the principal polarising issues in relationships. You know how it goes - the more he spends, the more you worry and put a hold on spending-which makes him avoid the issue and spend more in reaction - which makes you hold on more and worry more. And the dialogue becomes "he is so indulgent and reckless" and "she is so controlling and tight".
Finding a way through this is very important. It will impact all those big issues like buying a house, or living off one income. Understanding one another's position and finding a way to reach a mediated middle ground about money might just be one of the best investments you will ever make.