Money Memories, Attitudes, Characteristics, and Personality

(Best of Celebrating Your Journey – April 2008)

To all my readers: With 2019, the 14th year of my Celebrating Your Journey blog articles, “From the Heart” byline, I will be offering the “Best of the Best” articles you found helpful through the years. Many thanks to everyone who have given input and followed along w/ each month’s lifeskill—Relationships/Core Values, Time Mgt, Career/Money Mgt, Recordkeeping, Possessions, Housekeeping, Wellness, Meals, Childcare, Recreation/ Entertainment, Reflection, and Celebration. For my new readers, may these lifeskill articles offer you encouragement, insight, and commitment to seek, reach, and achieve your life dreams and goals in synergy.

(April 2008) “…most peoples’ biggest problems in life—even those that appear on the surface not to be money related—are directly connected with their early, formative experiences with money.” According to Suze Orman, she also believes the road to financial freedom begins not in a bank or even a financial planner’s office, but in your head—and what you experienced early in your life with money.

For so many of us we say, “I’m just too busy to deal with my money. Yet, Orman admonishes us with this question, “How is it possible that we’re all too busy working so hard to earn our money to be able to deal with the money we’re working so hard to earn?” Much of the answer is not in what you do with your time but more often with your fear of money.

For so many of us we say, “I’m just too busy to deal with my money. Yet, Orman admonishes us with this question, “How is it possible that we’re all too busy working so hard to earn our money to be able to deal with the money we’re working so hard to earn?” Much of the answer is not in what you do with your time but more often with your fear of money.

Memories and Attitudes of years gone by so often get us stuck.

Maybe the reason we may impulse buy has something to do with an event happening many years ago that created a fear about money and its role in our lives. Stop a moment here and consider your childhood experiences with money. Were they positive or negative? Did you learn early how to earn and manage your own money as a child and teen? Did you experience positive rewards for your effort?

If not, I encourage you to share your thoughts with your spouse or close friend on what has got you stuck and how to get unstuck. Different families also have different attitudes about the purpose of money. Some may see it as a source of power or prestige. Others may save, enjoy, and share; others may bribe or influence others with their money. Here is where you need to dig a little deeper again. Have you recognized any of your personal weak spots or spending leaks from the previous articles? According to Josephine Turner, University of Florida IFAS Extension Program, here are a few other leaks you may recognize:

  • Vacuum cleaner attachments that are never taken out of the box.
  • A variety of fishing gear when only the old favorites are used.
  • Large expenditures for faddish clothes that will go out with next year’s new styles.
  • Buying the wrong form, size, or quantity. Planning your spending will help you decide the form, size, or quantity of merchandise you need.
  • Buying things that take too much upkeep. Non-washable, light-colored fabrics mean extra dry cleaning costs.

What other spending leaks do you think your family has? Right now, choose two your family is committed to plugging. Be sure to check in with the family at the end of the next couple months to see how you are doing.

Then begin to recognize how certain Family Characteristics influence your spending habits.

Young families need a great deal to get into their first homes, to start a family, and even a business. With teens in the family, expenses mount and the earlier years seem small by comparison. The needs and wants of boys and girls also differ. Retired couples often have limited needs for material goods. Many single people have homes and are head of a household. All these scenarios have different spending needs.

Housing prices, products and services, and even climate can influence such expenditures as housing, utilities, and the amount and kind of clothing required. Cost of living can be much higher in some areas than in others.

Depending on your family’s nationality background, your lifestyle, attitudes, and beliefs are formed from these factors.

Even if you are not consciously aware of why you buy something, every purchase is based on your core values. Whatever you think is most important to you fuels your reasons for that purchase. For example, what kind of auto do you prefer—one with all the deluxe features or those that basically provide reliable transportation? Is sending your children off to college one of your goals, to save for a comfortable retirement, or both? Are you trying to decide right now between buying some new clothes for your family or some new furniture?

Turner offers these basic tips on knowing how to buy:

  • Shop with a list.
  • Learn to shop for food as well as for other items.
  • Teach your family to shop too.
  • Ask yourself, “When will I use it?” “Where will I store it?” “Am I committed to taking care of it?”
  • Always sleep on a decision to make a major purchase. The offer should be just as good tomorrow.
  • Beware of your mood when you shop. If you are tired, you can be easily influenced.
  • Try not to shop if you are in a hurry.
  • Make a long-term spending plan and try to stick with it.
  • Always allow in your budget an amount of money to spend for entertainment.

You may be surprised a little, but Personality also has a lot to do with how a person spends.

Basically, if you are a very outgoing, people person, your buying habits will be centered around relationships and sharing the time with them while shopping. Emotions usually run high in this type of personality so leaks in spending tend to happen more easily. If you are a more quiet personality that tends to be content alone and just putter with things, you may only tend to purchase something when you definitely need it for a project or job you are working on.

Yet, if you are a very detail person who has to have all questions answered before making a purchase, you are the one who will do the needed research before buying and only if you feel your budget can handle it. Can you imagine the lively dialogue with a couple—one with this type of personality and the more outgoing who may tie all their purchases to encouraging relationships, even if the budget can’t handle it!

So, as you ponder your money memories, attitude, family characteristics, and personality, know that you are taking the first big step toward changing the way you spend and how your recordkeeping will show it.