Confessions Of An Under-buyer

It starts with ‘just a t-shirt.’ next thing you know, you’re leaving a store with $300 of stuff! Money doula, AJ Frenzel, wants you to practice aggressive truth telling with yourself and decide where you want your money to go – before going to any store.

Under-buyer or spender, thrifter or shopper, it’s all good. But, know yourself and commit to putting your money where your priorities are in a sustainable way.

Has this ever happened to you? You went to the grocery store for milk, and came home with three full bags of groceries? But, avocados were ON SALE!

AJ Frenzel was at a shopping mall. She didn’t consider herself a Big Saver, nor a Big Spender. She wasn’t thinking anything along those lines when she saw a t-shirt she liked. So, she picked it up. It was $30, but she really liked it.

So, she looked through a rack of pants, and wouldn’t you know it? There were a cute pair of pants that went great with that t-shirt. She thought, ‘These are awesome! I’ll totally wear these.’ Cha ching!

She left the mall with $300 in purchases. When she got home, she did a double-take on her purchases.

“How did that happen? What am I doing? Did I really want to spend this money? Did I really have this money to spend?”  — AJ FRENZEL

Spending money can be a thrill, can’t it?  Just a little indulgence, a little pick-me-up, a little rebellion  - whispers your inner voice.

AJ knew she had some Aggressive Truth-Telling to do with herself.

It felt powerful to make those purchases. There was a momentum, and AJ got caught up in its current. When she re-examined what she bought and asked herself where it was important to her for her money to go, she realized a few things:

  • The thrill had passed. She wanted to return the items. And, she did.
  • She’s not the type of buyer who buys Just One Thing. It’s not her personality to be someone who eats Only One Cookie. Per author Gretchen Rubin, AJ decided to embrace her inner Underbuyer: someone whose buying habits fall on the don’t-buy-stuff-often end of the spectrum.
  • She decided for herself going forward that it is easier buying nothing, than buying one thing. Buying “one thing” opens a tap for her that she doesn’t want open. Thankfully, her husband is great at list-shopping at the grocery store!

“My budget, my spending priorities are on ME before I step into any store.”


The So, Do It! Society aims to provide a safe space for its members to explore ideas and discuss sparks of insight.

In this show, AJ and Society Members discuss:

  • Three Money Doula Habits for spending decisions and transactions.
  • What is scarcity and how does it affect the brain?
  • What does it mean to be “in the tunnel?”
  • How to set yourself up for positive reinforcement.
“There’s no wrong time to think differently about your money.”

Resources that came up during the group discussion include (none of these are affiliate links):

What about you?

  • How would you describe your buying persona/habits?
  • Do you use a system to set and maintain a budget?
  • Does scarcity affect how you feel about your finances?