It can be tempting to lump spenders into the “bad” category. When we talk about money personalities, the spender always comes up. Those who like to spend can be vilified in some circles. Even if it is unintentional, the focus that is so often placed on saving money, cutting spending, and being frugal can really put the pressure on spenders.
But is being a spender really so bad? Since I am, in fact, a spender, I'd like to think that it's not a bad thing at all. Like so many other things, it's in how you do it.
Spending Doesn't Have To Be A Dirty Word
In my mind, having a spender personality isn't a bad thing — unless your love of spending leads you into debt. Additionally, spending doesn't have to mean that you are using the money only for yourself. My husband is a spender as well, and he loves spending on other people. He likes buying gifts for others, and we both feel it is important to give to charity, and to our church.
Even spending on yourself doesn't have to be a bad thing. However, you have to draw the line when it comes to getting into debt to pay for your spending ways. As a college student, I often took my spending too far. I took out student loans — even though I had a full-tuition scholarship and a part-time on-campus job. I also got credit cards, and promptly proceed to max them out. Even though I had a number of advantages that should have made it easy for me to live within my means, I overspent every chance I had. I ended my undergraduate career with a great deal of debt.
I learned my lesson. My spending wasn't a bad thing; spending beyond my means was the problem. Now, I make sure that I live within my means. I have spending priorities, and make sure that I spend on those things first. If I run out of money, the spending stops. As long as my enjoyment of spending doesn't put my finances at risk, I think that my habits can be a way to help others, provide my son with valuable experiences, and help me find a little extra pleasure in life.
Preparing For The Future
Just because your spending is kept within your means, though, it doesn't mean that it's ok to put your future at risk. Before you spend on the “fun” things, it's a good idea to make sure your future is provided for. You should have an emergency fund, and you should be saving for retirement. If you have long-term goals, such as homeownership or sending your child to college, you need to plan for those things as well. You can use your love of spending to direct your resources into specific goals that can provide you with a more secure future.
In the end, being a spender doesn't doom you to a life of financial ruin. As with any other money personality, being a successful spender is about harnessing your impulses and desires so that you can use them to your advantage. Figure out what you want, and create a spending plan that helps you achieve your goals.