Are you a MacGyver or an Anyway/Anyhow person?

I’m going to describe a certain type of person. I know it’s not you, but maybe you know someone like this. I call this person Annie, short for “anyway, anyhow.” Annie’s daughter comes home from school and needs to find something to wear for a school play. What does Annie do? She finds an appropriate costume online and buys it and pays for quick shipping.

Annie is planning a vacation for her family. She wants to go to Europe. She books the trip for next month, books the hotel and walks away thinking about how exciting her trip will be.

Annie back is hurting. She needs to see a doctor. She asks her friends who their favorite orthopedic surgeon is and books the next available appointment. She books acupuncture and a massage as well. One of her friends tells her about some supplements that her cousin’s neighbor took, so Annie buys them online, hoping they will help.

What I’ve described here is Annie’s Anyway, Anyhow personality. When she wants something, she does it when and how she wants and does not think about the cost or. The challenge is that Annie probably overspends every month with her Anyway/Anyhow personality.

Buying your kid the best costume without first seeing what you have at home, is expensive. Trips booked without comparing flights and hotels, or even considering another destination where a special is being run, are expensive. Going to doctors recommended by friends and not checking to see if they are on your plan can be REALLY expensive, not to mention supplements and other therapies that might not be appropriate. You get the picture, right?

If you think like someone who can just do whatever you want whenever you want, you will end up with credit card debt. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you have enough money. Nobody does. Even if you are rich, the amounts would just go up to just beyond the limits of your wealth. Happens all the time.

Instead, think about being more like MacGyver (old TV guy who uses whatever he has on hand to get out of whatever jam he’s in). Here are my 3 MacGyver rules:

  1. Keep your mind open – keep your mind open to other ways of accomplishing the same thing that do not involve buying new stuff. Open your mind to using stuff you have at home already, or wearing the same dress to a party where nobody has seen it before.
  2. Think before you buy – take 5-10 minutes to think about whether you need this item, how it fits in with other items you have or if you have something similar. I like to have 3 occasions, reasons, outfits or whatever that the item works with before buying.
  3. Consider options – Always comparison shop even for tin foil. Look around on the same shelf and compare brands at least. Convince yourself you are getting the right deal (not necessarily the cheapest, but the best). With the internet, it’s easy.

Here comes that overused word, but… be mindful of how you are spending your money. You work hard for it. Do not throw it at whatever comes your way. I’m not telling you to be cheap or live with a sense of scarcity. I’m suggesting you think a little more before you buy and see what happens.