I’ve noticed that no matter how often I write “don’t spend more than you earn” people still get themselves into trouble by living beyond their means. This propelled me to look into the psychology of money and how it affects our financial decisions, behaviors and actions. What I found is that behavioral psychology actually plays a major role when it comes to money, and it’s in our best interest to learn how it works and use it to our advantage.
How to Curb Your Spender Personality
This post has been written by Amanda Abella, a business coach for millennials, speaker, and best selling author. Enjoy the rest of the read!
One area in which psychology plays a major role is when people discuss having a spender personality versus a saver personality. The idea is that some people are more naturally inclined toward one or the other. Interestingly enough, we also tend to attract our financial opposite when choosing partners.
Identifying which side of the spectrum you’re on can be very helpful in determining what actions to take with your finances. For example, I’m pretty sure I was born a spender. As a teenager and all through college I was quick to spend whatever money came my way. As I look back on college and the jobs I held while in school, I realized I could have had a lot of money in the bank when I graduated had I not spent all of it.
By the time graduation came around and I was flung into adulthood, I knew I had to change my habits. In my case, changing my habits just so happened to look like learning to cope with my financial personality. Here are the ways I learned to curb my spender personality …and didn’t feel like a drag. Through my experiences, I can help you curb your spender personality too.
Open a savings account at a different bank from your checking
When I first started changing my financial habits, I knew I would pretty much have to hide money from myself so I wouldn’t spend it. There weren’t as many options to do this available back then as there are now, but online banks were coming onto the scene and I decided to open up a high yield savings account with one of them.
I got in the habit of transferring some money to my online savings account from my checking account. The beauty was since my savings was being held at a separate bank I didn’t actually see the money when I logged into my checking account to pay bills. As an added bonus, if I wanted to transfer money from my savings to my checking it would take three days before I would see the money. By that time my desire to spend it would have passed.
Hiding money from yourself may seem strange, but it’s often the first step you’ll need to take to curb your spender personality.
Determining my values was the game changer for me (and it might be for you to curb your spender personality as well). In identifying what was important to me I was able to take proper actions with my finances. It also became easier to curb my impulse purchases because I had my eye on the prize.
For me, my main value is freedom. An emergency fund makes me feel free because I know I have money in the bank for an unexpected expense. Traveling makes me feel free so I have a savings account for it. Having money, in general, makes me feel free because it gives me the option to buy organic food if I choose.
There are many ways to determine what your core values are. One very helpful approach is The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. She even has a section specifically dedicated to finance.
Change the conversation around saving
A key tactic for curbing my spender personality has been changing the conversation around saving. I have literally changed the language I use when discussing finances. For example, my savings account for taxes has been renamed to “Helping My Country” and my emergency fund has been renamed to “Pretty Cushion.”
Whenever I feel like I can’t afford something I say “I’m choosing not to buy this.” This is a much more empowering approach than feeling broke and acting out of it. Curb your spender personality by switching these gears in your mind. Again, it isn’t easy, but it might just help you build up a savings account for once!
It is possible to change your financial habits even if you’re a natural born spender. By using psychological approaches you can essentially trick yourself into changing your behaviors. By starting with this approach a few years ago I’ve been able to build a hefty emergency fund, save for things like travel and start a business – none of which would be possible if I was still spending everything I earned.
What about you? Are you ready to curb your spender personality?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.