For decades, credit cards have been available as a way to handle the unexpected financial burdens that occur in everyday life. Unfortunately, years of easy availability coupled with a change in how we purchase goods have led to some marked shifts in the behavior of the average credit card holder.
Owning a credit card is a responsibility, but even responsible credit card holders can fall victim to several tendencies as documented by dozens of socio-economic reports. In the following article, we will be discussing four examples of how credit card use can lead to bad habits that culminate in mountains of debt, unhealthy lifestyles and poverty.
You Spend More
Research shows that those who own credit cards on average spend 10-15% more overall than those who do not. Whether it pertains to consumer shopping or entertainment, clear trend lines can be observed. By virtue of having a credit card – which feels more like some form of magic currency than physical cash ever could – less thought is given to how much money you currently have and the true cost of the items being purchased.
You Forget More
Having access to a card that does the counting for you leads to serious discrepancies between the ability to pay and having the means to pay. Credit card holders are far more likely to make a higher quantity of purchases in short secession than those using cash, attributed to the idea that having an intangible form of credit in your hands is less of a reminder of your current financial state than having cash on-hand.
You Eat More
Paying with cash elicits an increased consideration of each purchase, so it only makes sense that those who use credit cards tend to be heavier than those who do not. One particular report highlighted that those with credit cards were more likely to purchase “low-cost” foods that were unhealthy than those who have cash. When we consider the aforementioned character flaws in combination with this, it makes perfect sense: those who are splurging on small items with credit cards not only ignore the financial implications, but the health-related ones as well.
You Become Poorer
Maintaining a lifestyle above what you can afford for prolonged periods of time will ultimately lead to poverty or a significant reduction in the amount you can spend. Many people fall victim to the illusion of a better existence – until those credit card statements begin to arrive. This also has effects throughout the entire economy, as most vendors respond to credit card merchant fees by raising the prices of their items. This effect leads to credit card holders and non-holders alike being stuck with higher prices when they shop.