I've been thinking about credit cards and impulse buying these last few days. Not exactly imagining what the cards look like but the why behind their popularity as well as they why behind impulse spending.
Why I believe that credit cards are so very popular is that Americans have lost the art of waiting for the things we want. If we want a new blouse, we go buy it. If we see that new phone that just came out, we rush to the store and get it. If there's a preview for a movie that we want to watch, we won't wait to see it on DVD, we rush to the theatre to see it.
Credit cards allow us the opportunity to get things we don't necessarily need now at this very moment. And what does that do for us? it gives us a high. But it's temporary. When our credit card bill comes calling, the high goes away and is replaced by guilt. Or anger at ourselves. Or maybe apathy.
Back in the olden (don't you just love that word?!) days, if you wanted something badly enough, you saved for it. You held back your desire of now for the pleasure you knew would await when you were able to afford that item you so badly craved.
Do you know what that waiting did for those back then? It created pride in the item they would soon purchase and it grew patience in their souls knowing that they would get what they wanted but not RIGHT NOW.
Credit cards have destroyed that for us. That is why I would love to go credit cardless. (It is in the works....)
This also ties in to why impulse spending is so very prevalent (for me too!).
Nike told us "just do it" and Burger King told us "have it your way and we listened to both. We just did it and bought things as therapy when we were sad, mad, or happy and then, we had it our way as we racked up debt, filled our houses and our sheds with items we really didn't like and felt guilty for throwing money away on things that didn't fill the emptiness in our hearts.
Impulse spending goes hand in hand with credit cards. Credit cards enable us to spend impulsively and without accountability (until the bills come).
One of the things that I am trying to challenge myself to do is not spend impulsively. I do it because of my emotions. Maybe I had a horrible day at work so I go shopping to get rid of the stress. Or maybe I'm depressed about something so I go out and find the perfect outfit or buy some more makeup (that I don't really need).
These are just some thoughts about credit cards and impulse buys. Please know that I am not judging or critisizing anyone because I have found myself in both the places I've mentioned here many times. But I'm trying to break the cycle because I know that it will be better for me in the future.