We received an email from a woman — we'll call Kelly, who was on a collision course. She had a habit that was driving her crazy! A successful, ambitious woman, Kelly was making herself nuts by shopping and buying what she wanted on the weekend and then returning virtually everything she bought that next week.
Kelly confessed she returns things so frequently she devised a confidential system for keeping the tags from every item. She keeps a secret box under her bed where all the tags are organized, alphabetically, by store. Costco, Kohl's, Macy's, Nordstrom, Target, Trader Joe's and, of course, Zappos with "free shipping and free returns 365-days a year." If a store doesn't take returns without question, Kelly will not let herself shop there.
Kelly loves buying things. She gets a rush from making purchases. She loves shopping and picking things out for others. But after she buys things she feels guilty for spending the money. So guilty she almost always makes herself take everything back. This head-on collision in her head was driving her insane!
One weekend, she went shopping and found her husband a gift she knew he would absolutely love and use almost daily. She was tickled by her good fortune. She shared with us her thought process on the way home in the car.
"Wow, he is going to love this! It will be perfect for his office."
"It is so totally him!"
"He's been looking for one for years. I can't wait to see his face!"
Three red lights later ...
"I wonder if they ever put these on sale."
"I'll bet they do at certain times of the year. Ugh. I should have waited."
"He mentioned not working from home as much. Maybe he won't even use it"
"People certainly have gotten along without them for years."
"I never should have spent that much money. Ugh. I'll just take it back."
This kind of internal tug of war is common in someone who has an opposite dynamic — two money personalities colliding.
A friend told Kelly about our Money Personality Quiz so she spent 15 minutes on our free quiz and found out she's a Spender/Saver. She said, "I took the quiz. The clouds parted! I wasn't crazy — just a little conflicted! But what I learned helped me understand that constant internal tension."
Every person has a primary and a secondary money personality. Sometimes the two create an internal tension and lead someone to want to do two opposing things. This can create the collision Kelly was feeling — wanting to spend and wanting to save. But opposite dynamics don't have to be a liability, cause migraines or collisions. Opposite money personalities can create great balance and can be a healthy diagnostic check.