Happy day, dear reader!
When I meet new clients, we do a personality assessment, a lifestyle analysis, and a values exercise. And we talk about their budget. Even after learning so much about them, a new facet emerges when we get into the closet… Where I learn about his or her spending personality. What’s a spending personality? (Hint: Spending Personality is closely tied to our Values and upbringing.) I often meet the…
Bargain Hunters (BH) usually have lots of clothes, and don’t love most of them. What they love is the price they paid for them. The catch phrase for the bargain hunter is “It was a steal.” or “I couldn’t pass it up for that price.” or “Look! 75% off!” B. Hunter often heads directly to the sale racks and completely ignores other displays in the store. When evaluating purchases, B will buy the one on sale, regardless of whether it suits. Or will leave behind an ideal addition because it’s not on sale. “I’ll come back and get it on sale.” (And rarely does.) This leaves BH with a full closet, and little to wear. When price is the driver, a cohesive wardrobe (that fits and flatters and expresses the wearer’s personality) is at the whim of the retailer. This shopper has given away control of what s/he adds to the wardrobe. This spending personality needs intensive Cost Per Wear therapy to understand the value of buying what you love and will wear, rather than buying what’s on sale for your closet to wear!
The Investor is in it for the long haul. S/he doesn’t want to buy anything that won’t last. He or she is not particularly concerned with price, but is not a spendthrift either. When the Investor needs to replace an item, if it lasted and brought pleasure, s/he will often return to the same item and brand purchased before, and can be frustrated when the blue blazer of today is not exactly the same as the blue blazer of 10 years ago. Sometimes Investor can be so conscious of CPW (and practicality), that all the light and fun can go out of their choices. An Investor with a highly classic style personality can find a wardrobe becoming dated and “fuddy duddy” since every piece has to pass the will-it-last test. This spending personality often needs a nudge to buy a few fun pieces to prevent the frump factor!
It may sound the same, but a Price Purchaser is not the same thing as a bargain hunter. Instead of buying only what is on sale, the Price Purchaser sets a price limit on (categories of) items. Price Purchaser will say “I won’t spend more than $20 on a shirt.” or “No one should pay more than $50 for a pair of shoes!” “That’s too expensive!” is the catchphrase I hear regularly from the Price Purchaser. I have a budget, and respect the desire to stay within a budget and save money for other expenses, but I have watched PP’s buy three (or more!) pair of cheap shoes, when they’d be better off buying two good quality pairs. Price Purchaser often gets caught in a similar trap to the Investor by ignoring inflation. Jeans cost $25 when I was in college, so $25 is my limit for jeans… Never mind that college was 25 years ago! This purchasing personality needs both a CPW booster shot and current price therapy in the form of window shopping/on-line browsing to reset unreasonable limits.
Special Event Splurger
This is not its own spending personality per se, but often walks hand in hand with Bargain Hunter and Price Purchaser. Sometimes these two feel remorse about (what they perceive as) their thriftiness, and find themselves throwing all budget caution to the wind when buying for a special event, like a wedding, graduation, special vacation, or class reunion. (This last one needs its own post!) Often the best option for special events is renting, rather than buying; you can rent a showstopper for $75 that would cost more than $500 to buy, and spend the difference on a weekend getaway. Now that’s a good deal!
The Combination Buyer
This person has beautiful investment pieces hanging next to the bargain bin goodies from the big box store. He or she will buy “cheap” for one lifestyle segment, and invest for another. There is nothing wrong with high-low style! This can be a great budgeting strategy. It’s wise to spend your money where you earn it, so investing in work wear would be the better choice, but many shoppers skimp on work wear (especially those who don’t like their work…) and spend on their “play clothes”.
Other Combo-Buyers are Investors for a category, say handbags or blazers, but buy “cheap” everywhere else. While it’s true that a great bag or jacket can make a look, a cheap shoe can bring it right back down again! How does this play out in my wardrobe? I love a great bag, but also know I love variety and change, so dropping a couple of grand (or more) on an investment bag isn’t worth it to me. Same for jewelry. I don’t spend on fine metals and gems because I know I am fickle, and would be devastated if I lost a precious piece. My turnover rate (or “churn”) on these items is pretty quick. A great jacket, or amazing pair of shoes is worth the investment for me. These I may wear for many years before moving on, so for me they are worth the investment. Where to spend and where to splurge is completely personal! (That’s why I love my work! No two clients are the same… Every one is a unique puzzle!)
How about you? Do you see yourself (or others) in any of the above types? If so, is it a natural extension of your values, or a holdover from your upbringing. (This is a dig deep question.) What are your memories of shopping as a child? Do you see a connection between that and your adult spending personality? I’d love to hear from you!
Let’s start a conversation in the comments below!