Everyone has a unique relationship with money, and personality plays a big role in shaping how you approach spending and debt. Identifying your spending personality can help you choose the best credit card for your needs, single out your bad financial habits and attitudes, and provide insight into how to improve them.
As a student, you might not yet have a lot of experience with credit cards. Keep these personalities in mind as you delve into the world of credit.
Here’s what your credit card spending personality says about you:
The big spender
You’re materialistic and not afraid of debt—you whip out your credit card without a second thought when paying for things like groceries, takeout, and clothing, and might even splurge on big-ticket items such as the latest iPhone or a new car. Status is important to you, and this can lead to impulsive spending on shiny new things to feel validation.
If you don’t have deep pockets, especially if you’re a student, you’re spending your way into serious debt. This is an incredibly bad place to be—you need to audit both your spending and your attitude. Put together a monthly budget and scale back your spending. If you’re carrying a balance each month, look for low-interest and no-fee credit cards to save on fees.
Similar to the big spender, shopping gives you a high. But instead of buying high-priced status items, you tend to stock up on smaller impulse buys. For you, shopping provides entertainment when bored, relaxation when stressed, and a self-esteem boost when you feel like you’ve found a “deal.” Unfortunately, you end up buying a lot of things you don’t need. You might find yourself in thousands of dollars of debt with nothing to show for it.
The thing is, you probably care about money and are aware of your overspending. Whether or not your chronic shopping falls into addiction territory, you should focus on paying down your debt by consolidating it onto a balance transfer credit card to save money.
Dealing with everyday money management makes you uncomfortable, so you avoid even the smallest tasks such as budgeting, saving, and paying off credit card debt at all costs.
You might also be a big spender or a shopper, but your financial irresponsibility stems mainly from your apathetic attitude toward money—you don’t keep tabs on your bills and debts and are regularly late with payments. You might want to improve your situation, but feel discouraged by where you are now.
You need to confront your issues—paying late charges and making only the minimum payment will just keep you in debt longer. It’s time to educate yourself about credit cards and ease yourself into reality: Map out a budget, debt payment plan, and savings goals. As a student and a financial amateur, you may benefit from credit counselling.
The value hunter
You’re the antithesis of the big spender: You love a bargain and want value for your money. You like to comparison shop and use your credit card strategically to make purchases. Your meticulous nature makes you an ideal candidate for a rewards credit card. Whether you’re looking for flights and hotel rooms, cash back, or free movies, rewards credit cards are a great opportunity for people who know how much they spend and what they spend it on.
Remember, don’t lose sight of the big picture and overspend for the sake of earning points. Check out the best rewards credit cards that match your monthly spending profile.
You may have previously been the big spender, the shopper, the avoider, or a combination of all three, but you’ve turned over a new leaf and are debt-free, or well on your way toward it. Congratulations! Like the shopper, using a balance transfer credit card will allow you to prioritize paying off your debt rather than racking up new charges. Only transfer the amount you can realistically pay off before the 0% interest rate period ends (usually after six or 12 months).
The responsible veteran
You’re a model example of financial responsibility, the personality the others strive to be. Here’s why: You’re focused, goal oriented, and don’t use money as a psychological crutch. You set a monthly budget and stick to it, know exactly what you spend, pay your bills on time, and have a good credit score. Not only are you in control of your debt, but you have an emergency fund. If you have a different spending personality, keep in mind that the responsible veteran is not born, but made.
The bottom line
You might see yourself reflected in more than one of the above categories—that’s ok. The good news is that personality may be ingrained, but anyone can learn, practice, and eventually master good financial habits.