Are You a Planner or a Do-er?

by Kelly · 9 comments

in Living Frugally


One of my best friends is definitely a planner. This is most clear in how she cooks- she follows recipes exactly, searches her recipe box and cookbooks for new recipes or ideas of things to make with the ingredients she has on hand. When she cooks, she measures out the ingredients and sets the timer to twelve minutes, or whatever the recommended time is. I, on the other hand, am a do-er. I often start cooking dinner by starting one ingredient cooking, and then figuring out what I want the end result to be as I go along. I rarely measure, and am hardly ever able to reproduce the same dish in the same way more than once.

The other day she said to me that she thought that she and her husband were almost too frugal. She feels sometimes that they have a hard time letting go. In the context of the conversation we were having, on financial security, this was an important point. We both feel that financial security is not about how much money you have in the bank, it’s about knowing that you have enough for when you need it, and being able to indulge yourself (in simple pleasures!) without worrying or feeling guilty.

I know that I’m definitely on one end of the scale, and I think that she is on the other. I know that my major problem with money is that I have a hard time restraining myself- it is also the main problem that I have when trying to stick to a diet! I have always had a hard time saying no to spending or buying, and this is independent of how much (or how little) income I’m making. Whereas my friend is better at saving money, both in socking it away for that proverbial rainy day, or paying extra on big loan repayments.

I’ve known that my weakness is in self-control for a while now, and because I know it, I’ve managed to find ways to beat it. The most important thing that I do is automate my bill paying. For example, because my father has a shop, he is able to debit my checking account through my check card. This allows me to reimburse him for the checks he writes for my student loan payments (because I no longer have a US checking account I don’t have an easy way of making my student loan payments). I tell my stepmother to debit a certain amount every month, rounding up theΒ  minimum payment. I know that if I were actually writing the check I might be tempted to just pay the minimum.

Likewise, I have automated our savings. Any reimbursement we have for medical expenses gets automatically deposited into our ING savings account. Most of the money that I earn from my blogging or consulting gets paid to me via Paypal, and the only account that I can transfer my PayPal money to is the ING account. Rather than trying to remember to make a deposit or transfer money from one account to another, I know that this money will get tucked away all by itself. I don’t have to plan it, I just set it up once, and now it just gets done.

I don’t think that being a planner is better than being a do-er or vice-verse, I just think that it’s important to know how you work, so that you may cater to your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses. And while I certainly recognize the advantages of planning a bit better (and am trying to learn how to do just that) I think that sometimes planning too much makes you forget to just sit back and enjoy.

Are you a planner or a do-er? What do you see as the strengths and weakness of each behavior?


1 Nicole July 27, 2009

I’m a doer, if only because I’m a terrible planner. Automated savings and other methods to ‘make myself’ do something are what I have to do to be a responsible person!
.-= Nicole´s last blog ..How Much Would You Pay For A Unique Experience? =-.

2 Nancy July 27, 2009

I’m a bit of both. I definitely plan but then I follow through.
.-= Nancy´s last blog ..Lessons Learned =-.

3 Camilla July 27, 2009

I guess I’m a bit of both. I plan a lot, but sometimes I let go of the plan and improvise along the way… this is especially true with cooking! But I’m excellent at closing my wallet and assessing needs from wants. πŸ™‚ This was a nice post to get people to think about their habits!
.-= Camilla´s last blog ..Cooking Sundays =-.

4 Jamie July 27, 2009

I know I’m a planner. I splurge now and then but usually due to my do-er husband pushing. I suppose we balance each other out a bit.
.-= Jamie´s last blog ..Leg Cramps During Pregnancy =-.

5 Viviana July 27, 2009

I definitely lean more towards being a planner. I do like my lists. If I want to buy something extravagant, I put up a photo of the item up and mill it over. For balance, my beloved is more of a do-er so he is the naught angel on my shoulder.
.-= Viviana´s last blog ..Do You Have a Secret??? =-.

6 Amy Reads Good Books July 27, 2009

I’m a planner, but it’s the do-er in me that gets me in trouble. πŸ™‚ I like your strategies. Good point that neither one is better. . .it just helps to know your tendencies to set up a system that works for you.
.-= Amy Reads Good Books´s last blog ..The Food of a Younger Land =-.

7 Kate July 29, 2009

I’m a do-er who dreams about planning, but jumps in head first. Ouch! πŸ™‚
.-= Kate´s last blog ..Frugal McDougall, A Rhyme For Our Times =-.

8 The Frugal New Yorker July 29, 2009

Eery! It’s creepy how similar to your friend I am, and how we have the same problems for the same reasons. I’m a hardcore planner, and I used to be too frugal. Now that I’ve had a comfortable income for a couple of years I’ve become less obsessive, and I live a little more freely while retaining the lessons learned during years of uber-frugality (aka being broke).

I’m glad you don’t think one is better than the other, though I want to point out that planners can be “doers”, too! (and vice versa sometimes)
.-= The Frugal New Yorker´s last blog ..How I Got My Job: Preparation =-.

9 kasey at thriftylittleblog July 30, 2009

I’m without a doubt a planner. I love planning things, but sometimes I don’t actually get to the “doing” part…
.-= kasey at thriftylittleblog´s last blog ..Buying the house… budgeting those expenses! =-.

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