OK girls, this one is for us. What is it that gives us the urge to spend money and buy that handbag or candle when we are feeling a bit down? I also suggest you share this blog with the boys in your life so they get a much better understanding of why we feel the need to shop and spend money.
When John Gray wrote “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus”, we became a lot more aware of the differences between how men and women think. These differences not only apply to our relationships but also to how we think about and spend our money.
My daughter has recently changed jobs from working in a small family owned business to a semi corporate environment. I got the SOS call from her after she was offered the position.
“Mum, my clothes are all wrong; I need your help to get some new ones”. I was more than happy to oblige.
So we met at one of our local shopping malls; started with coffee and a bit of a planning session about what we were looking for and what the budget was, and then we started our mission in earnest.
We went to just about every clothing store in the mall, trying things on, rejecting some and putting others on hold to come back later and make a final decision.
We took a break for lunch and caught up on all the news and what was happening, then it was back into it; we continued picking and choosing and making the final selections.
It was a full day of activity; I go home exhausted, but very happy with the outcome of the day and the time spent with my daughter.
I am sure that reading this you will be able to relate to it and share stories of your own. Whilst the guys will be scratching their heads going ‘so what’!
Let’s go back to our childhood; girls and boys are brought up to see money quite differently. Even though we are taught the same things in school for example: ‘You need to save and invest for your future;’ and ‘don’t spend more than you earn’.
Girls get a few extra messages that the boys don’t. For example, ‘Men know more about money than you do’ and ‘it’s better to do good, than be rich’.
This is starting to change but for generations women have seen money as a way to enjoy and enhance day to day life and create a lifestyle. In other words, it’s all about the here and now.
While men on the other hand, see money as something to be accumulated and gain in value. It’s all about the future. So they typically don’t spend; they invest.
Our attitude to spending and money can get us into trouble. Here a few a few of the ways we get into strife.
- We spend emotionally. This can either be the ‘I have fallen in love with (insert your own word here) and I have just got to have it’ spend. Or the spending we do to make ourselves feel better when things aren’t going well.
- We succumb to temptation. Internet shopping, Infomercials, catalogues in the mail box; whatever the source we can shop 24/7 and we do. Having a sleepless night? Just hop online and buy a new jumper, cushion or whatever takes your fancy at the time.
- We tend to buy on impulse. This can be as simple as the chocolate bars strategically placed as you stand in the aisle at the supermarket, or something that catches your eye as you are passing.
- Feeling guilty? We better buy a present. I think every working mum has been caught by this one. We couldn’t make it to the school sports day, so to make up for it, we took home a little gift to say sorry.
- We think we are saving money, when really we are spending more. How many times have you been caught out on the buy 2 and “save 50%” on the second item. So what do we do? We buy two, but we probably only really needed one. Or my favourite, if you just spend another $20.00 you get the free gift.
So how do we stop ourselves falling into these traps?
Well, we could always make sure we have a man with us when we go shopping. Not sure that is such a great idea, I can just see the disapproving looks and potential arguments looming.
So why not just put on our ‘man hat’ when you feel the urge to shop. Adopt the attitude of challenging your purchases before you buy, with questions like:
Why am I really purchasing this?
Do I really need it, or is it a want?
If I didn’t buy this now, will I still need it tomorrow?
Now, I am not saying don’t go shopping, it is part of our psyche and the social aspect is hugely important to us.
Just make sure you do a bit of planning first.
– Know how much you can spend, take cash and leave the credit cards at home if that works for you.
– Be prepared to say no and leave some things behind. Window shopping is OK.
– Go home when you start to feel stressed about how much you have spent.
– But most of all make sure you enjoy yourself and the time you spend with the friends (or family) you have gone shopping with.
If you would like to share your stories please post a comment. I would love to hear them.
Also drop me an email if you have any questions, you can find us at Money Mentalist