We, your two authors – Kyle and Laura – are very different people. Kyle is a Turbulent Architect, a personality type known for their razor-sharp rationality. And Laura is a Turbulent Mediator, a personality type known for their airy-fairy ideals.*
But it turns out that we have something in common: we don’t feel so good about our spending habits. We get all giddy about a potential purchase, we swipe our credit cards, and then… Well, let’s just say there’s some buyer’s remorse.
Architect and Mediator Spending: What the Research Says
When we asked our community if they often spend more money than they should:
- 63% of Turbulent Architects (Kyle’s personality type) agreed, and
- 76% of Turbulent Mediators (Laura’s personality type) agreed.
My night-vision camera:
But, dear sistren and brethren, thou hast not lived until thou hast equipped thyself thusly, for mine gadget doth bring me joy transcendent… Until the morrow, when my heart shall yearn yet again…
Here are a few recent purchases I made on a whim:
- a set of string lights that I thought would make my apartment super cozy, but they hurt my eyes – and now it’s too late to return them
- a trampoline that takes up 33.3% of the floor space in my living room
- an $8 smoothie, because surely if it costs eight whole dollars it will make me glow with health
Alas, most of my purchases turn out like that smoothie, which tasted absolutely disgusting and didn’t make me glow one little bit. (Many dollars. Such disappointment. Wow. #Doge)
Although we have such different personalities, we both have some issues when it comes to buying stuff we don’t need – even though we know better. Let’s go a little deeper and figure out why.
An Architect and a Mediator Tell All: Two Styles of Guilty Splurging
How do you think you “should” be with money?
Kyle (Architect): I truly believe I should be extremely disciplined and frugal. I intend to steadily spend a small amount on things that make me happy but generally live modestly – and save and invest whatever I can. Possibly in magic beans, because I’m a dummy Analyst.
Laura (Mediator): I think I “should” be frugal and responsible – and relatively selfless. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, I have access to resources that many people around the world don’t. So, do I really need a pair of thigh-high leg warmers or a blender that costs as much as a wedding ring?
And how are you actually with money?
Kyle: Variable and arbitrary. I have a really hard time staying frugal when gripped by imagination (dang that Intuitive trait). I am a tightwad when outside forces require me to spend money, but I sometimes act foolishly when inspiration strikes (like wanting a night-vision device). But I have a bias against spending much on transient experiences – I’m all about the durable goods. And food. I love food.
Laura: I try to be frugal, and I buy used items whenever possible. Still, I indulge myself with all kinds of things that I don’t need. I always have a reason for it – usually that whatever I’m buying will help my health or happiness, and what’s more important than being happy or healthy?
But I buy things I don’t use, and then I feel guilty for being so wasteful – especially because of the human and environmental impact of these products. And my credit card statements can make me cringe.
How does your personality type affect your relationship with money?
Kyle: My manifestation of the Intuitive personality trait seems to overcome my Thinking/Judging reserve: I get caught up in grand ideas. Let me tell you about my juicer. *slaps forehead* My neighborhood has a seasonal glut of free apples, and I’m so thrifty and clever *fresh-pressed sarcasm dripping* that I bought a $365 juicer to make my own “free” cider.
I’ve used it twice, so that’s over $182 per gallon. Misguided intent + haphazard effort = wasteful spending. The sweet cider of imagination has turned into the bitter vinegar of reality.
Laura: I feel you, Kyle. Sometimes it feels like it’s easier to keep buying things than to actually use them. I’m hoping that cider was seriously delicious.
As for me, my Mediator optimism can backfire when it comes to spending. Sure, I should know better. But deep down, I really do hope that the right set of string lights will make my home a happier place or that a trampoline will change my life. And even though I’m usually disappointed, I somehow manage to convince myself that the next purchase is actually the secret to happiness.
How are you handling this?
Kyle: Let’s see… I feel guilty a lot, which can be a spending inhibitor. Also, I worry terribly about the future. Guilt > worry > escapism > splurge spending > guilt… So, yeah, I’ve got a pretty solid system. *smug smile*
But seriously, I try to keep my long-term goals in mind, consider how my momentary impulses will likely affect them, and make decisions that serve the former. Simple concept, but hard to do when something sounds fun. It’s a surprisingly emotional battle, considering the undeniable math underpinning the whole issue.
Laura: I judge myself really harshly. Unfortunately, that hasn’t changed my behavior for the better. That said, I’m trying to enforce a waiting period before I actually buy something frivolous. For example, I’m not going to let myself buy those thigh-high leg warmers until next week. By then, though, I’ll probably have forgotten all about them in favor of something else new and shiny.
So, What Are We Going to Do? (Plus: The Future of Kyle’s Juicer!)
Laura (Mediator): Kyle, I love what you said about making spending decisions with your long-term goals in mind. That’s exactly what I did a few years ago when I was preparing to leave a stable corporate job to become a writer. At the time, I managed to save a lot of money because I felt connected to a deeper purpose.
I think I need to come up with some new, meaningful long-term goals, such as establishing a small scholarship in my dad’s memory or doing more to support local charities. Otherwise, I’m going to fritter away my money one smoothie at a time, and I won’t be any happier for it.
Kyle (Architect): I think your idea of trying to attach spending to nobler outcomes is really powerful. (That scholarship idea sounds amazing!) I hope you find a way that truly rewards your inner self, virtuous benchmarks notwithstanding. I, too, feel guilty for wasting money, but I don’t think there’s any value in feeling guilty for having money.
Also, I really relate to what you said earlier about self-judgment. Hits me right in the Turbulent Identity. Wasteful spending is an odd cycle that, at least for me, feels eerily reminiscent of addiction. What hole am I trying to fill?
Laura: So true. But I feel like you’re being a little hard on yourself. I mean – so you bought an absurdly expensive juicer. Why not give it to a friend who would love it? That way, you can let go of that guilt.
Kyle: You’re very kind. We’re both probably being a bit hard on ourselves. Self-love shouldn’t be contingent – it should be foundational. (Sounds good if you say it fast.)
Thank you so much for the wise suggestion! Giving my juicer to a friend who will use and appreciate it is a great idea that will probably make me feel a whole lot better.
Wait a minute…
I see what’s going on here.
You just want my juicer so you can make your own healthy drinks and stop buying those nasty smoothies, don’t you? Nice try. *makes Grumpy Cat face*
But What Do You Think?
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our financial foibles. Confession is reputedly good for the soul. (But a new pair of shoes is good too, right?) What do you waste money on? How does it make you feel, and are you doing anything to change your spending habits? Let us know in the comments below!