It is so important that women have access and constant exposure to positive financial role models as they journey from girlhood into womanhood. When they don’t, they end up like one of the following financial archetypes — using money as a proxy and substitute for self-worth, love, status, security, and identity.
#1 Danielle The Diva
Danielle The Diva has a big problem differentiating between a “need” and a “want.” In her world, a basic need for food somehow justifies eating out at expensive restaurants several times a week. She is impulsive, rejects the whole notion of budgeting, and believes that wanting something is enough of a reason to buy it. The funny thing is that she never wants to buy things that are on sale or moderately priced. Danielle feels she has the right to have the largest, the most expensive, and the most over-the-top items despite her financial realities.
When it comes to planning social events, Danielle fails to consider the financial obligations of her friends, especially when it comes to celebrating major events and milestones in her life. But to give credit where credit is due, Danielle The Diva may extend this generous spirit to her friends by dipping into her purse when someone needs financial assistance or treating them to high-end gifts or exotic dinners.
What is sad, though, is that Danielle cannot afford the lifestyle that she lives and never will. In essence, Danielle the Diva will always be broke or living paycheck to paycheck. For every $10 she earns, no matter what her income, Danielle The Diva spends $15. Danielle The Diva believes that money is meant to be spent and that it buys happiness, even if it is temporary. She finds delaying immediate gratification torturous.
Danielle The Diva’s Favorite Money Phrases “If you like it, then get it.” “YOLO! ” “I’ll take three.” “I work hard so I deserve to treat myself.”
#2 Gloria The Gold Digger: Unlike Danielle The Diva who has absolutely no financial plan, Gloria believes that a man is a financial plan. Gloria The Gold Digger spends a lot of her free time “investing” in her appearance to make her desirable to men with deep pockets. With her ability to plot and scheme, Gloria The Gold Digger may very well have a sizable amount of savings, but in her mind, her money is off limits to everyone, especially the man that she is dating. Gloria will flatter and stroke men’s egos so she can be lavished with expensive gifts and a life of leisure.
Gloria learned somewhere between childhood and womanhood that men are stupid and can easily be manipulated with sex. She is a predator and has learned not only how to sense neediness in a man, but also how to exploit it to create emotional dependence and financial gain. Gloria also learned that love is for “suckas” and leaves emotions such as empathy and compassion out of all of her romantic relationships. Gloria does not view social outings with the same joy and light-heartedness as Danielle would. Gloria makes calculated decisions as to where she will go, what she will wear, and what she will say in order to best position herself to be surrounded by wealthy men.
Gloria The Gold Digger’s Favorite Money Phrases: “What’s love got to do with it?” “What kind of car do you drive?” “Everything has a price—especially the kitty kat.” “So, when are you going to buy me a ________?”
#3 Tanya The Tightwad: Unlike Gloria and Danielle who make sure they spent money on themselves (or in the case of Gloria, convince a man to take care of her), Tanya The Tightwad is your miser girlfriend that hoards money to such an extreme extent that she forgoes attending to basic necessities and implicitly lives an austere life. Her clothes are ill-fitting and of poor quality. Her home may be outfitted with old, mix-matched furniture because it cost her little or no money to acquire the pieces. And forget about social events! It is easier to squeeze blood from a stone than to get Tanya to provide a standard tip, treat a friend to a dinner, or splurge on a girl’s trip to Vegas.
Her mental model is one of scarcity and paranoia. She believes that she will never have enough money and she is one paycheck away from being homeless and hungry. She is so obsessed with keeping money that she is not above lying or cheating to friends and family members to save pennies on normal daily purchases.
Tanya the Tightwad’s Favorite Phrases: “Can I borrow?” “That’s too expensive?” “Girl, I ain’t got any money.” “How much does that cost??? I’m not paying for that.”
If you or someone you know can identify in some way with one of these archetypes, all hope is not lost. Be proactive about your financial health. And seek out family members and close friends who will help you find professional support to improve your relationship with money and yourself.
So Frugal Feministas: Do you know anyone like this?
If you need deeper work around healing your relationship with money or overcoming your blocks and fears, maybe it’s time for some money therapy.