It is not what we earn or how old we are – it’s our underlying attitudes that have the greatest influence on our financial outcomes. Your Spenditude (attitude to money) is formed when you are very young and continues to be influenced by life events.
Your Spenditude is either as a Spender, a Slender or a Defender – all have their pros and cons. A quick assessment: Spenders use money but don’t worry about it, Defenders are the polar opposite – they are focused on money and financial security, they want to see value in every purchase. If you are not one of those two, you are a Slender. When Slenders spend too much they get guilty. They can be quite organised, but they do not maintain the commitment of a Defender. The ultimate aim is to ensure you can use the best behaviours of a Spender and a Defender to create a life changing attitude to money.
For all three types, money can be a pain.
Debt, banks, super, tax all bring with them a need to coordinate and organise. These items can be another thing on a long list in a busy world. No matter your spenditude type, getting your finances flowing smoothly does take some effort. So how do we bring some fun into the equation?
Firstly, ignore all the finance articles and websites that tell you not to buy coffee. Changing your coffee habit won’t make you wealthy and it could bring with it a headache – either from caffeine withdrawals or from your anger at giving up something that brings you a moment of pleasure each morning. Sure, changing your coffee habit could save you some cash, but it won’t change your overall attitude to money. I can’t think of anyone that credits their reduced coffee habit to their ultimate financial security. In fact, coffee could be something that helps to reduce spending! Try it. Next time you are considering a purchase, either online or in person, walk away and have a coffee (or tea/water etc). If you can ride out the dopamine hit of desire then you may be able to resist the spending urge.
Secondly, challenge yourself to make bolder money decisions. Bold means stretching yourself outside your comfort zone. Bold means that you are focusing your spending on things that matter. Bold is within your own definition – and it does not mean overspending.
Spenders appear to be having all the fun, with an optimistic attitude that life is too short to worry about money. They are unaware of their cashflow and (perhaps) envious of those that are good with money – though they haven’t changed their habits. For a Spender, making bold decisions with money could actually be to step outside the comfort zone of ignoring their debts, or hoping it all doesn’t come crashing down with some kind of life event that could not be predicted. Spenders can look at money in a different light – and it’s not about changing who you are, but adopting a couple of small baby step changes, like the coffee, or cancelling just one subscription. Bold decisions can be invigorating.
Often we are led to believe that people who are ‘good with money’ are winning the game of life. They are on their way to financial independence and are proud of their achievements. It’s the Defenders that we should blame for the suggestion that changing your coffee habit would fix everything! They just don’t understand other people that don’t see money the way they do. It’s kind of like a fit person telling someone who has always struggled with exercise/weight that joining a gym would solve their problems. It doesn’t work that way – there is more to it. Being bold for a Defender also means stepping outside their comfort zone. One of the risks of being a Defender is that you are so set on your plan that you forget to have fun and are stuck not being able to spend. Being bold could mean jumping in occasionally, saying yes instead of delaying gratification.
Slenders need to consider where they are on the scale of spenditude, as they can swing either way. Slenders will sometimes land in the camp of the Spender, having fun but then feeling guilty. The difference here is that Spenders don’t have the levels of guilt that Slenders have about their spending habits. If you are a Slender then being bold may mean challenging yourself to ignore the influence of others. If giving up coffee isn’t going to make you get ahead, then keeping up with those around you certainly will not. Take comfort in your own choices and stick with them. Turn the baby steps into habits.
Of course, being bold means you are challenging yourself. The American poet Robert Frost said that “Freedom lies in being bold”. Does your financial freedom also lie in boldness?
For more information or to share your Spenditude story visit spenditude.com & Instagram (@spenditude)