How Personalities Affect Spending
Everyone may pay the same way — either with cash, credit or debit — but the experience of spending money can be radically different from one person to the next. Understanding how your personality affects your spending habits may help you reign in those impulse purchases.
People who prefer spending money on new experiences rather than to collect material possessions usually have higher levels of happiness and excitement when they're thinking about upcoming purchases. Even the experience of waiting in line is more enjoyable when they're buying an experience rather than tangible objects for some. The cost of the experience has no relationship to the excitement and anticipation they feel.
People who are more materialistic tend to spend more but they don't usually get the same satisfaction from the experience as those who are experience-oriented. People with deep materialistic spending urges are often prompted subconsciously to buy things. When a friend purchases a new jacket or a new car, you may experience a sudden desire to buy one too. The result is impulsive spending, which can result in increased debt and social anxiety.
Everyone knows that frugal people dislike spending money, but research has recently shown just how true this is. When people with frugal personalities are shown an undesirable price for an item, it generates measurable signals from the part of the brain associated with feelings of distress, as well as emotional pain and the anticipation of physical pain.
Although spending money may be uncomfortable for the frugal personality, saving money generates contentment. These people are more likely to pay off debts than to go on a shopping spree.
Shopping is not just a means to an end for some people, but the end itself. Just as with gambling or eating addictions, people with shopping addictions use the act of spending money to temporarily reduce stress, anxiety or depression. It gives them a short-lived feeling of control, but they're left feeling empty and have additional debts that compound their problems when they get home.
Rational personalities are a rare breed. Pragmatic, skeptical and self-controlled, they make up only 5 to 10 percent of the population. Seldom concerned with the latest trends, rationalists are more inclined to buy things they need, weighing quality over purchase price. If something they want is too expensive, they have the self-control to wait for it to go on sale ... or skip it entirely.