Purchasing Behaviour Styles

You’ve heard about tracking your spending so you have a clear idea of where your hard earned money goes.  But there are different approaches to buying depending on your consumer behaviour.

The Under-Buyer

With this consumer behaviour style, you delay making purchases to the last minute and/or you buy as little as possible.  You wait to buy seasonal items like a winter coat or bathing suit until just before the point you need them – and then can’t find a suitable one.  You consider buying an item, then decide to get it some other time or that you don’t really need it.

You rarely have backup supplies of common personal and household items and often feel stressed because you don’t have what you need when you need them.  You have to shop more often and make a lot of late night runs to the store.  You tend to cling to things that are past their usefulness and so are surrounded by things that are shabby and worn out, don’t work well or are not entirely suitable.

The Over-Buyer

Over-buyers on the other hand lay in huge supplies of items such as shampoo or paper goods.  They love to shop at wholesale clubs like Costco.  They throw things away – dairy products and medicine because they’ve hit their expiry dates before they can be used up. They buy things like tools or gadgets thinking that they will probably come in handy some day.

They buy items with the thought that they will make great gifts – without having a particular recipient in mind – or because the sale price can’t be beat.  They often feel stressed by all the clutter in their homes and, especially, by the waste that’s often created by their over-buying consumer behaviour style.

The Satisfied Buyer

Some people make a decision, or take action as soon their criteria are met.  They don’t necessarily settle for a mediocre product, but as soon as they find the item (hotel, shoes, auto) that has the qualities they want they are satisfied with their purchase.  Men generally fall into this consumer behaviour category.  They have a purchase in mind, enter the store, find what they want and then pull out their wallet – quick and efficient.

The Perfectionist

Perfectionists want to make the most optimal decision.  Even if they see something that meets their requirements they can’t make a decision until they’ve examined every option so they can make the best choice possible.  They spend a lot of time and energy to reach a decision and they’re often anxious about whether they did in fact make the best choice.

The Hoarder

Some people are hoarders in the sense that theybuy things and don’t use them.  Either they don’t want to spoil the pristine appearance of the product, or they want to save it for a perfect occasion or for “good”.  Or the item may be an expression of a desire to change something in their life – treadmill, sports equipment, craft supplies – but just making a purchase won’t accomplish the change until a plan of action is developed.

Your Consumer Behaviour Style

My consumer behaviour style tends to be an under-buyer with a touch of perfectionism.  I squeeze out the very last bits of toothpaste or hand cream.  My worn out or stained clothes are good enough for wearing around the house.

As long as my possessions look and work OK I don’t bother to replace them and when I do decide to go shopping I have to check out every store to find the best product – maybe I’ll find a better version, a cheaper price or a different colour.  I tend to get stressed out if I can’t find exactly what I’m looking for when I need it right away.

Most people have a combination of purchasing styles and sometimes all of them are in evidence at different times.

What is your consumer behaviour style?  Does it work for you?

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  1. Financial Uproar on March 22, 2011 at 9:16 am

    I’m a classic under-buyer, probably from all my years I spent working at a grocery store. Typically I buy food to last me a day or two, and then go back to the store.

    Since I’m in the stores all the time delivering chips, I see no reason to change my ways. I know everybody in the stores, so it’s kind of a social outing for me to go pick up something.

  2. Echo on March 22, 2011 at 10:45 am

    I’m an under-buyer for groceries, simply because we live so close to the grocery store and I always find myself stopping off there on my way home from work.

    When shopping for clothes I am a satisfied buyer, from zero to $100 in under a minute is my motto.

    For major purchases I am definitely a perfectionist, spending lots of time researching and wanting to get the best deal.

  3. Doable Finance on March 22, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I purchase when a truly need arises like for example milk. I like cereal so that’s a must for me. I buy store brand. I buy brand name merchandise only when the price is less than the store brand. For myself I find no difference at all between the two.

    In my household we buy when we need something not when we think we need something (Many folks think they need to buy whether actually they need it or not). Nobody should kid themselves. You work 8 hours a day – many work overtime – and then go out and spend like there is no tomorrow. Some say America was built on spending and 70% of the economy runs on consumer spending.

    When we spend heavily, the national economy swells. And then we are told Americans don’t save much. We must save more. It creates a catch-22 kind of scenario. We are damned if we do. We are damned if we don’t.

    Whatever our lifestyle and however you categorize the way we spend or save, one thing is for sure. Spend less than you earn. Americans have a humongous problem of debt. You always save when you save before you spend. You seldom save when you spend before you save. I think some folks call it “Pay yourself first.”

    • Boomer on March 22, 2011 at 4:18 pm

      @Doable Finance: The economy does grow when we spend i.e more product manufactured – increased employment – more money in circulation. However, our savings rates are at an all time low. The way I see it – don’t spend more than you earn and don’t buy anything you don’t need or can use.

  4. Wealth Management on March 24, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I would call myself a necessity buyer. I won’t buy a thing unless it is absolutely necessary, with the exception of my iPad. Freedom, flexibility and experience are more valuable to me than material possession.


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