What’s Your Shopping Personality?


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I once got an afternoon phone call at work from my wife telling me she was at a car dealership. She had picked out a new van and requested that I come immediately to check it out and sign the papers. We had been having problems with our current van shredding it’s serpentine belt and I had promised that if it happened again, we could dump it and get a new van. Well, it had happened again, and apparently she was cashing in on that promise.

When we were first married, my wife and I rented a townhouse. Whenever the topic of buying a house came up, I would suggest we take care of our student loan and credit card debt before jumping into that adventure. Coming home from work one day my wife informed me we had an appointment with a real estate agent the next day, just to check things out. Next thing I know, we’re viewing houses, talking with a loan officer, and signing closing papers.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, my wife is very much a go getting, live in the moment, move fast kind of woman. I’m more if a wait and see, take it slow kind of guy.

On the other hand, we seem to swap personalities when it comes to day to day purchases.

Over the weekend, I was sent to Walmart to pick up some cleaning supplies. I couldn’t remember what kind of dusting product we normally use, so I gave her a call. I stood in the cleaning section of Walmart for over fifteen minutes describing to her every kind of dusting product on the shelf as well as what scents were available all while she looked up each product and read reviews on the internet.

If it had been up to me, I would have grabbed the store brand all purpose cleaner for $2.47 and headed for the checkout.

When we look for greeting cards, she will spend an excruciating amount of time reading countless cards looking for the perfect one. I have a rule that I refuse to spend any more time picking out a greeting card than I feel the recipient will spend reading it.

Which is usually less than a minute.

What do you make of this? Do you and your significant other seems to swap personalities based upon what it is you’re purchasing?


Brought to you courtesy of Brock


About the author

Brock Kernin


  • My husband agonizes over pretty much everything. He wanted a $5 DLC for a computer game and spent 15 minutes talking about how cool it was. 2 minutes into the conversations, I said, “So buy it, then. It’s $5.” (It’s not like he has a Starbucks habit or anything else!) After 15 minutes, I said, “Give me the computer, because if you don’t buy it now, I will.” 🙂

    It’s not that I’m shop-happy. He just has unrealistic expectations for the level of enjoyment each dollar spent should bring him. We’d probably be living in an efficiency apartment with three kids and $400k in a savings account in the bank if it were totally up to him–and also no retirement investments, because that requires some risks.

    At some point, you have to decide to take a risk, whether it’s retirement investing or $5 on a DLC. 🙂

  • @Jenny – You’re too funny, and what you said makes total sense. I admire my wife for being spontaneous, and both the van (at 112K miles and still going strong) and the house (lived there 8 years, then built a new one) turned out to be great decisions. She’s the one that keeps me from living in the efficiency apartment. LOL.

    On the other hand, watching her agonize over what cleaning product to use drives me nuts. Because if it doesn’t work well, it was a couple of bucks….make a mental note not to use it ever again and move on!

    Happy Monday, Jenny – hope your week is off to a great start!

  • Brock,
    My lady is a bit more absent-minded. For instance, she made a frugal move by buying a friend’s bike helmet for a fraction of a new helmet’s cost. Well, the next day she left it on top of her friend’s car, she drove away and it got run over. So she bought a new helmet.

    I’m more of a planner with my money. I shop around and sleep on it. Then, I’m pretty careful with things that cost me a significant chunk of change. But we balance each other out.

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

  • @Christian – Bad break with the bike helmet! LOL! Sounds like you and your wife have a similar kind of relationship with the balancing of each other – I dunno about you, but it’s what makes our marriage work so well. Good to hear from you!

  • @Grayson – now you’re talkin’ my lingo! I think Jenny’s example from above is perfect….there’s no reason to talk yourself into a $5 purchase. If you think that it has the slightest bit of chance of giving you some value…just do it!

  • @Christian – Haha, sorry man, I could have sworn I read the word ‘wife’ in there somewhere – that’s what I get for commenting later at night!

  • I typically great deals that I want but that have time-sensitive discounts or codes. My husband then throws up all the red flags and I either invest the time convincing him we should get it, or he talks me out of it.

    …unless it’s sports related, and then he’s the one finding a reason to buy.

    We’re definitely working on planning our purchases rather than just spending carelessly.

  • @Mary – LOL it’s amazing how you can talk yourself into buying anything, right? That’s why it’s important to have someone that can raise those important questions to ensure the purchase is really worth it.

    Keep working on planning out those purchases – you’ll get the hang of it, and you’ll be glad you did!

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