What Is Your Purchase Personality?

by The Happy Rock on September 4, 2008

As I struggle to resist the temptation to snag a snack from the vending machine during my ingredient month, I began thinking about how different personalities chose what to eat at vending machine or even at a restaurant. This led me to identify five distinct purchasing personalities.  The purchase decision at a vending machine or a restaurant serves as concrete situation to help us think about our own purchase personality.  We all can probably be any one of these at different times and in different situations, but the question is what personality are you most of the time.

The Lavisher – This is the person who figures that I am here and spending money so I might as well seize the day and get the best most decadent choice available.  This is the person who buys the king size Snickers for $1.25, or the Surf and Turf.

The Quality Inspector – This is the person who is willing to pay a little more to get the best quality or the best experience.  They buy the bag of trail mix from the vending machine, because it is the healthiest choice.  They ask the wait staff what the house recommends so that they can sample the most popular dish or a beautiful bedroom set that would survive a bombing so that they can hand it down to their children.
The Bargaineer – This is the person who always tries to get the cheapest deal.  This is the person who chooses not based on what they might like the best, but gauges what they will like the best based on how much of a bargain it is.  This is the person who buys the pop-tarts for $0.80, because they get two.  They get the huge combo platter because it has the most food.

The Middle Man
– This is the person who tries to find a middle ground between their preference, quality, and a bargain.  They end up with the Reese’s Cups for $0.75 or the special at a restaurant because it is a little cheaper yet still interesting.

The Refrainer
– This is the personality that figures they can save the most money by not partaking.  They can’t justify paying 200% mark up on an item when they can get 10 for the price of 4 at Sam’s Club.  Instead of getting a dinner they get water, share an appetizer, and wait to have people’s leftovers.

I am definitely a Bargaineer.  So much so that I can often over think even a small purchase and rob myself of actually enjoying the situation and living in the moment.  I am almost never The Lavisher, but I am starting to become more of a Quality Inspector in certain situations.   I am married to Quality Inspector and I have really come to appreciate the Rockette’s personality and she mine.  It helps create a formidable team.  I know that I am much more joyful and willing to spend money on great experiences and products and she is willing to curb some spending in order to focus on bigger more important goals.

Giving a little thought to your own purchase personality can go a long way towards understanding, changing, and controlling your spending. So what type of purchase personality are you?  Do you have your own special category?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

JBO September 4, 2008 at 4:03 am

I would say I am the lavisher – I figure that if you are going to treat yourself, then you are already spending money you do not need to, so might as well get the most enjoyment out of it.

I think this works well if it remains only for special treats – when these treats become too regular this is where being a lavisher can cause financial implications as I, unfortunately, know all too well!


Sean September 4, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Hmmm… good question. Torn between the Quality Inspector and the Refrainer. Does that make me the Middle Man? It might depend on the category: food, stuff, travel, etc. I’d like to keep clutter out of the basement and off the waistline, but there is no clutter constraint on memorable experiences.


Glory September 4, 2008 at 1:15 pm

What an interesting question. I think I can be under category of The Bargaineer. I always try to find the cheapest goods and products to save some money and succeed in it.


Ed September 4, 2008 at 1:15 pm

In some of my hungry/frugal moments, I’ve tried to decide on which item to buy based on which item has more weight.
So if it is $.80 and 70grams. It’d pick it over the other item costing $.80 weighing 60grams. I guess I’m a “Middle Man”


The First Creditor September 4, 2008 at 3:57 pm

I am usually the inspector, sometimes the middleman. I’m trying to be the bargaineer a lot more. But when I am on vacation, I am always the lavisher. I always say “Hey, I’m on vacation.”


shela September 4, 2008 at 6:42 pm

I would call myself a “planner.” I don’t use vending machines because it is not real food and it is very expensive.

I plan ahead and never do impulse buying at the grocery store. I pad my grocery budget by about 25% to 30% to buy extras when the items I regularly use go on sale. Today, for example, I came home with enough peanut butter to make dog biscuits and treats for the next four months or so.

I have a small “fun budget” that I set aside so that I can meet a friend for coffee and a muffin — or even have a dinner out on occasion. It never occurs to me to buy food out, unless I am meeting someone on the other side of town.

I figure that in the end, it is not what I buy that makes me wealthy, but how much I save.


Ashley @ Wide Open Wallet September 4, 2008 at 6:58 pm

I’m usually a bargineer but I’m also a refrainer too. It sucks to be a refrainer.


Diana September 5, 2008 at 3:41 am

I think I am a quality inspector. But sometimes, when I have financial pressure I can be a good bargaineer.


Sue September 6, 2008 at 7:29 pm

I am an impulse shopper so I tend to refrain from going into the stores. I can always find things that I did not know that I “needed” when I walk into Target. It is easier to buy diapers at the grocery store than walk around Target and things accidently jump into the cart>


Food with Passion October 12, 2008 at 6:18 pm

I don’t think that these are concrete examples …. the lines blur if you are like me.

I love quality food and shun supermarkets for specialist suppliers, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t drive a bargain.

When I go meat shopping, I usually get a few (quality) freebies thrown in.


Danny November 12, 2008 at 1:37 am

I think it depend son the situation you are in at a particular point of time. Sometimes you would choose to be a bargaineer, sometimes you would be spending lavishly. So theres no hard line on this.


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