I’ve never really been a patient person.
I don’t know if that comes through in my writing or not, but it’s true. That coupled with my very strong competitive nature,
and my insane desire to do things perfectly, can create quite a challenge at times.
In fact, these traits may be some of what “helped” me get into debt in the first place. A 2008 study found that impatience is a huge factor in whether people are financially healthy or not. The study outlines how impatient people have overall higher revolving debt levels than people who do not consider themselves impatient.
As an impatient, competitive, and perfectionist type of person, here are my thoughts on how and why these traits lead people to have higher debt levels.
- Impatient people don’t delay gratification. As Michelle at Budget Bloggess said, we live in world of abundance where if you want something and you want it now you can just charge it to a credit card and “pay for it later”. The problem with this mindset is that most people are actually not paying these purchases off. Instead this just starts a growing cycle of debt and lots of money is wasted on interest payments.
- Competitive people play to “keep up”. Holly from Club Thrifty shared the high price it can truly cost if you try to keep up with the Joneses in your life. As an extremely competitive person myself, I can personally attest that I was once wrapped up in this “game”. Even knowing what I know now, it can be difficult to not get caught up in it again.
- Perfectionists want things to be perfect (obviously). Wanting things to be “perfect” in every way can lead to spending some serious money on unnecessary things. No matter if it’s furniture to finish furnishing a room to perfection, or a perfect new outfit for a special occasion; perfectionists usually end up spending money to impress people or keep up the appearance that things are fine for them financially and otherwise.
But how can people with these personality traits beat these horrifying financial habits? While not easy, they can be overcome with these tips:
- Recognize temptations and avoid them. Try to be aware of when and why you feel tempted to spend money on unnecessary purchases. Is is because of your emotions, or maybe it’s a certain time of day when you let your guard down. Once you recognize your spending triggers, it will be easier to avoid them in the future.
- Distract yourself when temptations arise. When you start to feel the urge to splurge and you can’t avoid the situation, distract yourself with another activity. Read a book you already own or spend some time with a non-jealousy inducing family member, friend, or pet. Do something frugal or free until you no longer feel like spending unnecessary money.
- Set aside some designated “fun money”. Once you’ve successfully completed the other suggestions, you should also consider setting aside some “fun money” in your monthly budget. It’s okay to spend some money on fun and unnecessary things from time to time, but you still have to budget for it and stay on track with your overall financial goals.
We all have personality traits that can hurt or help us on our route to get out of debt. By recognizing our trouble traits and how they affect us, we can begin to use them to our advantage rather than letting them take advantage of us.