I don’t get it when people vaguely say, “you know, I spent a lot of money last week so I’m going to spend less this week.” And then they actually do it.
Without checking their credit card statements every day. Without setting daily spending caps until their next payday. Hell, they don’t even use calculators to figure it out. They just have a sense that they’ve spent too much recently, so they spend less to compensate.
How the f%^$ do these people do that?
I need to track spending. I need to keep receipts. I need to check my balances at least every other day. I have to stay ON TOP of my finances. I know – to the penny – what my monthly credit card bill will be. I know – to the penny – what my next paycheck will be. And I’m constantly making sure – with a calculator! – that the two will balance. Why am I not the person who just has a sense of her spending? Why can’t financial things just fall into balance for me without my constant monitoring? Why is it so much damn work for me?
In writing this I think I’ve actually figured out the answer to that question: I’m a natural spender. As opposed, of course, to being a natural saver.
My instinct is to spend my money, not save it. I’m naturally attracted to the idea of financing (you know, so I don’t have to save). I don’t have any basic sense of where my money is at any given point in time, and that’s why I have to constantly monitor. I intellectually understand that I need to budget and save, but in order to do that I have to constantly battle my spend-y tendencies.
Since I teach A.P. psychology, I just have to ask the question: is this nature or nurture? Do you think that people are born as savers or spenders or are we taught to follow these behaviors? What are you, a saver or a spender? How do you think you ended up as one or the other?