What Is Your Spending Personality?
Below, you'll find four major spending personality types that can get you into trouble. Which best describes you? And how can you use your spending attitude to your advantage?
Spending Personality Test
Shop Till You Drop: You've turned shopping into an art form, a sport and a recreational hobby. You head to the mall whether you particularly need anything or not. You never return home empty-handed. The thrill of the hunt sustains you, as does examining all your spoils and basking in your savvy shopping when you get home.
Impulse Buyer: You never mean to spend all that money; it just happens. You fall in love with things the instant you see them. You are highly susceptible to "limited time only" ploys. You obsess over your latest "gotta have it" item until you have it, and then you wonder what the fuss was about. You've found yourself regretting a purchase the instant you've made it or wondering where all your money went to at the end of the month.
Extreme Cheapskate: You cannot resist the lure of a good bargain. You love scanning your receipt to see your savings. Sale signs make your heart race. When someone compliments your new shoes, the first thing you say isn't "Thanks, aren't they cute?" but "I got them on sale." Sometimes, the price you paid more than the item itself.
Convenience Buyer: All those pricey travel-sized items in the checkout line were invented for you. You think it's worth paying more for something just to make life easier. You eat out constantly because you don't feel like making something for yourself. You buy a daily latte because it's easier than making your own coffee at home. You're always running to the corner store when you run out of things. Scanning a store circular or clipping coupons seems like a waste of time. You don't get what all the fuss is about.
Make Your Type Work for You
Each attitude has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Shop Till You Drop: Using shopping as therapy can lead to rampant spending that depletes your budget or lands you in a pile of credit card debt. Use hobbies to take up your time and channel your emotions. Working out could be a great way to relieve some stress; joining a sports league could harness that competitive thrill you love to get from snagging a great deal. The good news? Since shopping is a fine art for you, when you do have a goal to your shopping -- like snagging the perfect gift for your niece's birthday -- you know how to rock it. Just make sure you don't spend aimlessly.
Impulse Buyer: You're enthusiastic. When you see something you like, you instantly fall in love with it -- but your passion can run away with you. So, learn to take a step back and evaluate an item objectively. Ask yourself if you really need it now. Ask yourself if you can't find it somewhere else for cheaper. Consider putting it on layaway or your own 30-day list. If, after 30 days, you still really want it, then you can consider buying it. You'll be surprised how many things you forget about.
Extreme Cheapskate: Contrary to your best intentions, being a bargain-hunter can lead you to spend more than you need. If you've ever stockpiled cream of chicken soup because it was cheap, only to acknowledge later that you don't like cream of chicken soup, you know what I mean. Learn to harness your discount drive by examining store circulars and making detailed lists before you head out. Don't grab something just because it's on sale; make sure it's something you'll use and that the sale isn't misleading. Half off a brand-name item could be more expensive than the store brand.
Convenience Buyer: The only way to get around being lazy about your money is to learn to put forth a little more effort. It's time to start thinking about the consequences of your throwaway spending. Making a regular budget and tracking your spending can help you realize just how much you're losing by being careless with your cash. Sure, it's a lot easier to grab a cup of coffee on the go each morning, but if you woke up an extra 15 minutes early and made it at home, think of how much less money you'd spend per month. Then think of all the other things you could spend that money on. Doesn't that make it seem a little more worth it?
Paula Pant ditched her 9-to-5 job in 2008. She's traveled to 30 countries, owns six rental units and runs a business from her laptop. Her blog, Afford Anything, is a gathering spot for rebels who refuse to say, "I can't afford it." Visit Afford Anything to learn how to shatter limits and live life on your own terms.