A big factor in our finances is our behavior. We might be considered a spender or a saver when it comes to our money. But I believe there is a healthy balance. I used to be a major tightwad. I remember when I joined the military at 18 and I was on leave after finishing Tech School. My step-father said I should get a small loan just to establish some credit. I wanted to buy a laptop computer so he figured that would be a great opportunity. With his help, I qualified for a $1000 loan. I signed on the dotted line and had a new computer. I was excited about my new purchase. I got to my new duty station with clothes, some trinkets and a laptop. I was so motivated though to pay off that loan, that I paid off the 12 month loan in 3 months. I'm not quite sure if that allowed me to establish any credit though.
I was fortunate at the age of 19 to have a full-time job, free medical, paid for dorm room, free food, gym and no need for transportation. Sure I didn't own a lot of things, but I had money in the bank. I was a tightwad. Not too long after I had arrived, I met someone who had the opposite financial behavior. He looked at me shockingly when I told him I didn't even own a television. I said there was no need because I would go to the rec room to watch T.V. He on the other hand, had a car (along with a car payment), a big screen t.v., VHS player, expensive stereo for his dorm room and his car, video games and a desk top computer. The downside was that he was behind on car payments. I was thinking, well that's why I don't have all those things because I don't want to get in trouble with my money.
There are many extremes of people out there due to the way our parents raised us or by pure rebellion. Now it's funny, but I ended up marrying that man whose financial behavior was completely opposite of mine, but like many people say, "Opposites Attract"! I helped him straighten out his car payment situation and in return, he let me drive the car.
After setting up the budget, you need to figure out your financial behavior. Some questions to ask yourself are:
1. Do you like to spend money on things even if you don't need them?
2. Do you spend money when you are feeling depressed?
3. Do you try to justify purchases for things that aren't considered necessities?
4. Do you feel the need to spend any extra money that comes into your account?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are probably a spender.
Now here are some other questions:
1. Do you cringe at spending money or going shopping?
2. Are you always trying to find the best deal and even when it is the best deal, you are hesitant to purchase it?
3. Would you rather suffer in not having something, then buying it?
4. Do you always want to be ahead of bills by a month or 2 so you have a cushion with your money?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are probably a saver.
I was a saver, but after being with spenders, I felt like the boring controlling person and I realized I needed to lighten up a little bit. I began tithing to my church and giving to charities. That actually allowed me to become a little more lenient with my money. I still remained responsible, but I didn't suck the life out of money.
If you are struggling with overspending, or fear of it, there are support groups where you can receive help. I am a leader in a great Christ-centered program called Celebrate Recovery which offers support for all kinds of addictions and hurts. But if Celebrate Recovery is not for you, there are many programs and forums where you can receive help and on the way to a well-balanced Financial Behavior!