Which of the six 'money types' are you?

January is a good time to take a look at your finances for the year ahead.

And with the latest national lockdown in full swing (and everyone limited in what they can do) it’s never been a better time to save. 

Yes, online shopping is expected over the next few weeks, but without shops, bars, restaurants and attractions open, it’s unlikely spending will be at its usual rate.

But maybe you struggle to save money? Perhaps you always have?

There’s no denying that there are very different personality types when it comes to personal finances – from savvy savers to those who love an impulse buy.

First Direct teamed up with YouGov and psychologist Dr Oliver Robinson to identify six different ‘money types’ and offer saving tips for each one. The question is… which one are you?

The juggling one

Your purchasing decisions are made with your heart (rather than your head). In other words, if you see something you simply cannot go without, you’re going to buy it there and then – whether it’s trainers you’ve seen all over Instagram or the latest latte in Starbucks.

Waiting for something simply isn’t your thing, you prefer to get it instantly – so you’re known for impulse buying. While you might have various apps to help track and monitor your spending, you don’t always stick to them.

Tips from Dr Oliver…

  • Keep a money diary using a specialist app, or simply put pen to paper. Every time you spend money, note down what you bought and why, how much it cost, and how it made you feel. Writing things down could help you learn to consider those purchases more carefully.
  • Take a mindful pause as soon as you feel the urge to spend. To do this, bring your attention to your breathing instead. Breathe in and out, ten times. Then consider your urge to spend again – you may well find the impulse has passed. There’s loads of apps available to help you practice mindfulness skills like this, why not download one and see if it works for you?
  • Try using cash instead of cards for a week. Set the amount of cash you allow yourself to spend during the week and stick to that. This helps avoid impulse purchases, which are more easily done with your credit or debit card.

The driven one

ISAs? Pension pots? Investments? You name it, you’ve probably got it. Financial stability is your area of expertise and you love planning for the long-term and setting money goals.

Whether you’re saving for your next holiday or a house deposit, with your organisation and drive you can stay rest assured that you will meet your target. However, due to this dedication, you sometimes might lack a little spontaneity – something which could actually help you.

Tips from Dr Oliver…

  • Include a ‘Day of Spontaneity’ on your calendar every month – either on your own, or with a close friend or relative. You could go somewhere you’ve not been before and find things to do that catch your eye in the moment. You might find it liberating to do unplanned activities like this, and you won’t feel guilty about spending if you’ve allocated money for it.
  • You could try a new hobby or activity that involves cultivating spontaneity. A movement-based activity is great for this, such as a dance workout, or a drama-based improvisation class.

The living in the moment one

‘How can you possibly plan for tomorrow when today hasn’t even happened?’

This pretty much sums up your life mantra.

You are happy to spend in an instant, even if it means borrowing a little and you’ll happily do things ‘on a whim.’ You’re living for the here and now and nothing else – something which means you have lots of fun, but don’t help your future self in the process.

Tips from Dr Oliver…

  • Get a blank piece of paper and write ‘Now: me and money’ in a circle in the middle, then make a spider diagram with all the things that come to mind about your current approach to money. Do the same with the title ‘Future: me and money’ – for where you’d like to be with your money in the future. Now, write down actions you can take to achieve this. By writing down your goals vs where you are now, it can help you work out the steps you need to take. And the next time you get the urge to say ‘yes’ to a big purchase, you can refer back to this and check if it fits in with your plans.
  • Write a letter to your future self to be delivered on a specified date. Start the letter by addressing your future self, then write 2 or 3 things about where you want to be by that date, and what you are going to do to get there. Finally, do an internet search for ‘letter to future self’ – lots of websites will send your letter to you as an email on your chosen date. You could initially try just one month, then six months, then over a long period if it works for you.

The level-headed one

Security is your thing and taking risks certainly is not.

It’s likely you have a low level of what psychologists call ‘uncertainty tolerance,’ which means you try to steer clear of anything unknown. You don’t make risky purchases, instead you pay more for quality items that last. And for big expenses, you’d rather use your savings.

Tips from Dr Oliver…

  • You could seek some advice on what you could potentially do to help you maximise your budget. By exploring your finances with an advisor, you might learn more about different opportunities you may not have considered before, which could ultimately help you in the long term. Be sure to allow some time to consider your options before settling on any one of them – or none of them if you feel they’re not right for you.
  • Do one thing every week that is outside of your routine and comfort zone – search online for ‘activities outside of your comfort zone’ and you’ll find plenty of ideas for what to do. Remember to set a budget limit for these activities and monitor over time what new things you learn. You may find this gives you a new perspective on your finances, as well as changing how you approach uncomfortable situations.

The self-sufficient one

You tend to look for the most convenient way to do things – including managing your finances.

You’re practical, creative and resourceful in your approach – this might mean you take cash out for the week ahead, so you don’t spend beyond your budget. And it’s likely you’ve got enough savings for a rainy day if you need them. But you also know that you’re willing to bend your budget if this means enjoying meaningful experiences with family and friends. 

Tips from Dr Oliver…

  • Mind maps may help you visualise your goals, without the need for writing a rigid list. You could plot out your own values around money, with lines coming off this with words that represent what’s important to you and your financial wellbeing. Then, attach images or other ideas that connect to them. If you search on the internet for “money mind maps”, you’ll find lots of examples to inspire you.
  • Organise a get-together with friends (virtually or in-person) to share ideas for how to make the most of your money that fit with your priorities and values. If this feels a little daunting, you could see if there are any online forums or groups on social media where you could ask the question. You may not always get the tips that are right for you, but it could inspire you to look at your finances a little differently, or find new ways of maximising your budget.

The balanced one

Your comfort zone is everything to you and you’re a realist when it comes to finances – you know how to manage money and how much you’ve got to play with. You don’t really feel peer pressure like others do, which means you don’t mind skipping a night out before payday. What’s more, you stick to the brands you know and love, rather than trying new ones.

Reassurance and security is important to you, but you might not feel completely confident making long-term financial plans.

Tips from Dr Oliver…

  • Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t always mean you have to take huge risks. You could seek some advice on what you could potentially do to help maximise your budget, then allow some time to consider your options before settling on any one of them – or none of them if you feel they’re not right for you.
  • Try doing one thing per week that you have not done before – something outside of your comfort zone that you think you could learn from. Search online for activities in your local area that are different to what you usually do. Set a budget limit for these activities and monitor over time all the new things you learn by doing them.
  • You could get out of your comfort zone, without even leaving the house, by taking an online course on a topic that interests you, joining an online forum, or even trying a new app or payment method that you’ve previously avoided.

If you want more tips and tricks on saving money, as well as chat about cash and alerts on deals and discounts, join our Facebook Group, Money Pot.

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