A consistent theme throughout this column (and the reason I launched ModMoney in the first place) is the fact that too many of us have trouble managing our finances. And most of our money issues stem from one core problem: our spending habits. Whether you spend money as an emotional release, (hello retail therapy), or you’re a compulsive saver who spends only on the essentials, the key to balancing your finances is determining exactly what type of spender you are. So we’ve identified four key money personalities and come up with some helpful ideas for each. Read on, and let us know in the comments—what type of spender are you? (Hint: you can fall into multiple categories!)
1. The Frugal Spender
The frugal spender is one who thinks about every dollar before she spends it. While I applaud every effort to save money, I’m all about approaching your finances with balance. Make sure your spending habits (or lack thereof) aren’t detracting from your daily happiness and interactions with others. The best budgets should still allow you to spend money on discretionary purchases and thrive in your social life. Whether you’ve been depriving yourself of a mani-pedi, wine with your girls, or a date night with your plus one, you deserve some you-time, girlfriend!
2. The Emotional Spender
If you’re an emotional spender, you may find short-lived comfort or relief in spending money during a stressful time. It’s no secret that we all react differently to stress. Some women compulsively clean. Some women crack open a pint of ice cream (hi, that’s me). And a lot of women spend money. While this isn’t the best relationship you can have with your cash, it’s a simple fix if you know your triggers. Next time you feel the impulse to buy something, make yourself wait 24 hours before actually purchasing it. If you were shopping out of boredom or stress, chances are that you will have moved on within a few hours…and saved your cash for something more meaningful.
3. The Lavish Spender
A lavish spender spends her money intuitively rather than with a budget. A “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality may drive many of her purchasing decisions. And in an age where “Instagram-worthy” is the highest of compliments, it’s so easy to fall into this trap. But here’s the thing: spending beyond your means to flaunt the latest trend, nicest home, or most glamorous vacay does not usually create happiness. Not sure if your spending habits exceed what you can afford? Personal Capital is my favorite app to help you budget your income because it gives you complete transparency into where your money goes each month.
4. The Balanced Spender
The balanced spender is a place we all strive to be. She understands the magnitude of compound interest and tucks some cash away every month so it can grow with time. But she also prioritizes her happiness today and makes sure to treat herself within her means. If this is you, bravo! Why not take your financial habits to the next level? First, make sure you’re contributing to your retirement fund every month. Next, check your emergency savings account. Do you have enough cushion in case of unexpected expenses? If so, you may want to consider investing as your next foray into the personal finance universe. I know, I know—investing is an intimidating thing. But it can truly help you reach your long-term goals faster than you ever thought possible. It doesn’t have to be that complicated, and this beginner’s guide is here to help you. You CAN do it!