Personal Finance Mastery: Control The Quickstart

Use your inner voices for personal finance mastery

Does anyone remember the TV movie Sybil, starring Sally Field?

It was based on a true story about a woman whose abuse as a child had caused her personality to shatter into multiples. Well, Sybil is inspiring me today, odd as that may sound. A new day is dawning, World of Dreamers. My moment has arrived. The rubber, she is hitting the road.

It’s time for me to put some traction on my dream of personal finance mastery.

I have set a goal.

It is this: to spend (or not to spend) from a consciousness of value. And I am calling on my own inner Sybils to help me get there.

I don’t mean to make light of the psychological disease of multiple personality disorder. I do mean to suggest that within each of us, there are multiple personalities. If we are psychologically healthy, our inner multiples generally get on well and cooperate to help us function as productive human beings. Since they sing in harmony,  we may not always be aware of the different voices within us, and the different purposes they serve.

Here’s what I mean. You may recall that in my last post I discovered that the  convenience of money causes me to suffer an unconsciousness of value. Since I am not hauling around a wagon-load of grain to trade for goods I need, I forget to think about what I’m trading and what I”m getting in return. That makes money far, far too easy to spend, and to regret later.

The personality within me that is responsible for that behavior is one I learned about from the Kolbe A Index, which designates me a QuickStart. A QuickStart loves ideas and innovation. Not so good with follow through and just about hopeless with implementation, a QuickStart is like a crow attracted to shiny objects, one right after the other.

My QuickStart loves lives to buy on impulse.

Books, yarn, software, gadgets – these are catnip to the QuickStart. She is powerless before them.

Fortunately, I’ve got another personality that I can call on to modulate QuickStart when she’s about to go on a spending bender. Enter Strategic – one of the five strengths attributed to me by the Strengthsfinder 2.0 assessment. Where QuickStart is regular fount of ideas, Strategic excels at anticipating twists and turns and thinking ahead. These two make a good pair.

My inner Strategic came up with a plan to steer clear of impulsive spending. It’s a simple plan, just three small steps that even QuickStart can get behind.

Here’s the plan: Any time I feel QuickStart emerging to make an impulse buy, I am going to invoke Strategic to do three things:

1.  Write down the item and the price.

QuickStart adores the little journal I bought for just this purpose. Yes, I do see the irony in that remark.

2.  Have my second thoughts first.

That means, step out of the store, or turn away from Amazon.com, and think purposefully and with focus about what I will actually do with the object of my impulse, when I will do it, and how much I expect to enjoy it. BEFORE handing over any money. QuickStart will love this, because it’s imaginative – and being imaginative is her favorite thing.

3.  Not buy it for a minimum of 48 hours. Maybe even not buy it at all!

QuickStart won’t like walking away, but she’s darned distracting.  Within an hour or so, it’ll be old news.

I test-drove this little system  recently, and it worked pretty well. I did not buy some yarn to make a sweater I had forgotten all about. (I had to put that in italics, it’s that significant!)

Strategic concluded after only a few moments’ thought that it would not be $100 worth of enjoyable to bring the yarn home and put it in a closet until I finish the other 3 sweaters that I already have on the needles. Even QuickStart found that a boring prospect.

Getting out of the yarn store without spending even one thin dime made me do a little dance. It was awesome. I was in control!

So, World of Dreamers, if you have a dream that is not happening, here is my advice –

  1. Get to know yourself in all your permutations, and designate some inner Sybils to help you move things along.
  2. Use your strengths, rather than trying to wrestle your weaknesses to the ground.
  3. Take small steps that aren’t scary. Even the small victories feel great.
  4. Celebrate your accomplishments, every one.

What strategies are YOU using to get where you want to go? Leave a comment. Use whatever inner voice you want!

Jayne

 

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  • Michael Strutz

    I’m a believer in carrying cash only, and leaving those debit and credit cards at home. I also advise shop-aholics to check their moods before they go shopping. Many like to shop when they are feeling low for a mood pick-me-up, while others shop when they are extremely happy. Either way they are trying to mitigate an uncomfortable mood. It is a brave thing you are doing here. My hat is off to you.

  • This is so true, “Get to know yourself in all your permutations” – it works with everything. I think the first rule of fixing your life is sitting down with yourself and getting real about what you are doing to your life. And do it in a way where you don’t beat yourself up, but you recognize what you are doing and work to make small changes – using your strengths – just as you did in your yarn situation.

    For me I find that I have to ignore the voice in my head and go for challenges, regardless of the outcome and have faith in my abilities. For me in that book I’d be writing down all the reasons I should do something instead of taking myself out of it.

    Ignoring certain positive impulses can also hurt us in the same manner.

    Congratulations on your victory!

    Cath

    • Jayne Speich, Financial Assistance

      Hi Cath – You sound like a thinker/planner…maybe you should forego writing in the book (more thinking) and just do it, or do one small step anyway ;>) Interesting comment about the negative consequences of ignoring positive impulses. I wonder how one could safely distinguish between a positive impulse and a negative one? That is definitely food for thought. Thanks –

      Jayne

  • Remy Gervais, Top Photographer

    Well, you’ve got me. Thank you for the simple idea of waiting.
    “QuickStart adores the little journal I bought for just this purpose. Yes, I do see the irony in that remark” Perfect. Thank you for being willing to shine the light on your journey cause Im always thinking about money and dreams…not about how much i make but is there an amount or a container, something I am watching for when it comes to spending money on my dreams.

    For instance, I just applied for credentials to shoot at the world rugby finals. Ultimate dream gain if I get them! and if I do get them, its next weekend in Vegas. Forget flying and a hotel, it will be 9 hours in the car back and forth, and sleeping on my Uncle’s couch (he lives in north LV) I would have to bring my own food, and borrow a few camera accessories I don’t own (like a monopod) It would be fulfilling my ultimate dream. But should I really do that? ( I say this knowing that I have no idea where March’s rent is coming from)

    Thoughts??

    • Jayne Speich, Financial Assistance

      YES you should do that!! Because…(1) you have a way to do it without hotel and airfare and (2) would not doing it give you any better idea of where the March rent is coming from? OK you would save gas money, but really is that enough to cover the rent? Whereas, in contrast, would doing it move you closer to your dream, which I presume includes always knowing where the March rent is coming from? But that’s just my opinion, and remember, I’m a Quick Start…not so good on the planning or implementation part ;>)

      jayne