What Type of Buyer Are You? An Underbuyer or Overbuyer?

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In an earlier post, How to Have More Self-Discipline,  I mentioned a great book – Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits–to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life by Gretchen Rubin that I finished reading.

As mentioned in my earlier post the book ‘Better Than Before’ is all about mastering your everyday habits and a key way to make that happen is to truly know yourself.

Today I thought I would talk about another interesting topic from the book.

It’s about whether you are an underbuyer or an overbuyer. When it comes to your spending habits it helps if you know what type of buyer you are.

You probably don’t need an explanation for these two but here goes.

Underbuyers hate to shop and buy; overbuyers love to shop and buy.

Here’s some more info from the book. In the text below Gretchen is talking about how our buying personality can affect our habits.

Because we underbuyers dislike buying, we often resist buying equipment or services that would help us keep our good habits.

Overbuyers by contract, find excuses to buy.  They accumulate large quantities of office supplies or kitchen gadgets or travel paraphernalia with the thought “This will probably come in handy someday.” When trying  to shape a habit, overbuyers tend to load up on equipment or services that they imagine will help them keep their good habits.

The underbuyer thinks, “I don’t need to buy running shoes. These old tennis shoes will be fine.”

For the purpose of this post, I will be using the terms underbuyer/overbuyer a bit more generally in regards to shopping.

Personally, I’d classify myself as an underbuyer since I am not much of a shopper. I don’t enjoy shopping.

My exceptions are books (because I love reading a good book) and shopping in New York. I love shopping in the Big Apple, though I do have my favorite areas and stores. Shopping in overcrowded stores in New York can be a bit of a nightmare but I digress.

What type of buyer are you? Are you an overbuyer or underbuyer?

I went to someone’s house recently and there was no doubt that they were an overbuyer.  There was stuff everywhere and most of their conversations revolved around shopping.  While they pride themselves on getting bargains, it’s important to remember that it’s not a bargain if you don’t really need it (and yes that is the underbuyer in me talking).

I’m also a minimalist who hates waste.  I buy things that perform multiple tasks, not lots of things that all do the same thing in a slightly different way.

I can totally relate to the running shoes comment from Gretchen’s book. I only buy new shoes when my old ones completely fall apart.  And I mean completely!

If you are an underbuyer like myself, sometimes you need to get comfortable buying things when you first see them instead of having an I’ll get it next time or I will think about it attitude.

This exact same thing happened to me recently. I had a gift card to use and fell in love with a red rug for my living room.  I spotted it at the shop but hesitated to buy it.  I kept thinking of all the other things I needed and wondered if that was the best way to spend the card.

Finally making up my mind, I went back to the shop a week later ready to buy my gorgeous new rug.  I’m sure you can guess what’s coming.  It was gone.  Turns out it was the last one in stock. As in anywhere in Brisbane. I’ve called a few stores but they are completely sold out of the old stock.  Other stores have a different rug not as nice as the one I wanted for three times the price and I can’t use the gift card at the other store! So no rug for me!

If you are an overbuyer it’s important to understand that you cannot window shop. It’s probably a safe assessment to say that if you go to the shops be it the mall, grocery store, or corner store you will buy something.  Here’s my advice – take a list.  It doesn’t matter if there is only one thing on the list but have a list.

Buy only what is on the list no matter what else you see or is on special.  At least that way you have quenched your thirst for shopping but not bought a whole bunch of stuff you don’t need or maxed out your credit card (again!)

Regardless of whether you are an underbuyer or an overbuyer if you want to be financially secure and not be drowning in debt,  it’s important to keep your spending in check and to budget. If you don’t have one of those (budget that is), it’s time to get busy and make one!

If you know exactly how much it costs you to live every week, you will have a better idea of how much money you have available to spend when you go shopping.

It’s important to remember the real cost of buying stuff regardless of whether you are an overbuyer or an underbuyer.

Happy shopping (or not!) everyone.

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Read Next – Don’t Confuse Your Shopping List with Your Bucket List