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5 Ways Credit Cards Could Be Messing Up Your Life
Posted By Miranda Marquit On 07/10/2013 @ 12:10 pm In Credit | 10 Comments
Normally, when we think of credit cards, we think of convenience. While we might think that they can lead to debt  if not used responsibly, many of us mostly see them a financial tool.
With credit cards, it’s possible to earn rewards , as well as easily make payments without the need to carry cash around. But are credit cards too convenient? And could their use actually cause more damage than good?
Here are 5 ways that credit cards could actually be leading to a worse quality of life:
You are willing to spend more when you use a credit card. A study published in 2008  indicates that consumers are willing to spend more when they used credit, as opposed to use cash. Using a credit card puts off some of the “pain” associated with using cash. Cash creates a barrier to spending . Additionally, a study by Dun & Bradstreet quantified how much more consumers are willing to spend when they swipe the card. The damage? You are willing to spend 12% to 18% more with a credit card. Purchases are bigger, and you are willing to pay a higher price without negotiation when you are using credit.
Credit cards make it easier to receive instant gratification . Indeed, as a society we are becoming increasingly reluctant to wait for the things we want because a credit card makes it easy to get something now. Studies have long shown that consumers prefer instant gratification  to waiting, and there are even indications that the most impatient among us have lower credit scores .
The more you use your credit card, the likelier you are to become impatient when you have to wait for something — whether it’s a purchase or whether it’s waiting in line at the DMV.
On top of all of this, the way you spend with credit cards could be causing problems. One of the ways that money can buy happiness  is when you spend it on others. However, many of us don’t use our credit cards to spend on others. Instead, credit card purchases are often made for convenience and instant gratification. As a result, you can end up in debt, paying high interest rates, for something that loses its charm within a few months. Almost all of the ways that studies say spending can make you happy  are thwarted by the way we generally use credit cards.
Not only can credit cards mess up your life as an individual, but the widespread use of credit cards also contributes to the growing wealth gap. The middle class  seems to be shrinking, and a study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston  indicates that part of the problem is that credit cards allow low income and middle class families to spend more than they earn quite easily, creating a situation where they are downwardly mobile in terms of wealth.
Believe it or not, but credit card use might be making you unhealthy. Think about whether or not you are eating healthy meals . If you’re not, and if your waistline is starting to show it, part of the problem could be credit cards. A recent study  found that those who planned to pay with credit filled up their shopping carts with more unhealthy foods than those who planned to pay with cash. Using credit cards weakens impulse control, and that can lead to poor purchasing choices.
What do you think? Are credit cards doing more harm than good?
(Photo: David Scott )
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 debt: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/finances-55-seconds-create-credit-card-debt-reduction-plan.html
 earn rewards: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/find-credit-card-rewards-program.html
 published in 2008: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2008/09/credit-cash.aspx
 creates a barrier to spending: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/five-psychological-money-tricks-that-work.html
 instant gratification: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/be-successful-by-learning-delayed-gratification.html
 consumers prefer instant gratification: http://www.nber.org/reporter/fall05/laibson.html
 most impatient among us have lower credit scores: http://intl-pss.sagepub.com/content/23/1/56.short
 money can buy happiness: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/4-ways-money-buy-happiness.html
 studies say spending can make you happy: http://www.robymuhamad.com/files/dunnMoneyHappiness.pdf
 middle class: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/middle-class-income-middle-class-family.html
 study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston: http://www.bos.frb.org/economic/ppdp/2010/ppdp1003.pdf
 eating healthy meals: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/create-cheap-healthy-meals.html
 recent study: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/657331
 David Scott: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41636321@N00/123619819
Thank you for reading!