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College Students' Spending Habits and Credit Card Ownership

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College Students’ Spending Habits and Credit Card Ownership

Being in college will earn any student a degree after however many years its takes to attain the degree of said student’s choosing. Along with that degree comes an innumerable amount of pressure dealing with new things, making deadlines for classes, and how to best use the small amount of money students get from part-time jobs. When dealing with money, college students want whatever item, trivial or not, they desire at the time they desire it. For example, if I want to go out and get a case of beer and take-out food for $25, and I only have $28 and need gas the next day; I will probably get the beer and food and walk the next day. This sort of attitude is very common and leads to having small amounts of money all the time, and credit card companies know this. I believe the reason that college students fall for credit card programs of good and questionable intentions is the feeling of temporary invincibility. I can go out and buy whatever I want and not pay for it until I have the money. The trap many credit card companies want students to fall into is not actually having that money later so interest payments pile up and said students will be paying down outrageous bills for years. These large bills lead to the next problem college students get into with credit cards, getting another one to pay off the bills from the first one. This eventually leads to bad credit and large amounts of debt in the future even when students are out of college. College students spending habits are different from most other Americans because of our lifestyle, but we should still have the discipline to not pile up credit card debt just so we can be part of the crowd.

Even college students without credit cards have different spending habits than average Americans. These spending habits even differ from being a female or male college student (Hayhoe, 2000). I am most definitely grouped in with this category because I personally do not own a credit card for all of the reasons stated earlier. Being a college student comes with a different set of priorities than others who are not, because we have an average of 11 hours a day out of class, not sleeping, or working (Gardyn 2002). Living from class to class and party to party leaves little time for planning ahead financially. I am very interested in the topics discussed by the article Differences in Spending Habits and Credit Use of College Students by Celia Ray Hayhoe at the University of Kentucky because it directly deals with my life and spending as a college student and explains with a research survey what students buy the most and how they buy it. I can’t personally relate to owning a credit card, but I strongly disagree with owning one for the purpose of buying things I cannot afford. Also, Rebecca Gardyn wrote an article about a survey on the spending habits and daily activities of college students called Educated Consumers that provides a similar attitude about spending and provides a lot of statistics on students.

Hayhoe states in her article (2000), college students mainly purchase clothing, electronics, entertainment, travel, gasoline, and food away from where they live. Also, she theorizes how gender influences spending priorities and financial attitudes. She shows how owning a credit card in college has become a standard, and how credit card companies are banking on the large market that college students have created with their short term spending style. For instance, credit card solicitations are specifically aimed towards people with small amounts of money that are trying to live independently for the first time. College students in America spend over $200 billion every year, and less than fifty percent is on books and tuition (Gardyn 2002). I think by gathering information on these spending habits, gender roles dealing with spending, and credit card ownership, there will be positive effects on how to spend smarter or even better credit card deals for college students. But, there will also be new strategies on how to better solicit students with credit card dreams in a negative way.

Simply by being a college student I fall into the topic of this research. It also helps that I have very short term spending goals and buy things that I want just because I want them. In this study, spending habits were shown to differ by gender. I cannot personally relate to the female aspect of this study, but I can understand it by knowing female students and seeing what and how they buy. The article presents a theory on spending habits that includes: variety of purchases, financial management practices, financial stressors, affective credit attitude, and number of credit cards with a balance, to show how and/or if these specific aspects effect student spending (Hayhoe 2000). One of the results that I personally agree with is that men were shown less likely to budget their money with records. As long as I know the amount of money I have at the time then I am happy with my financial state. The article also showed that men are more confident in their financial knowledge then women. I agreed with this fact without even knowing it before I read this article, because when I want to make a big purchase or need to talk about savings I ask my dad or grandpa. I assume that by seeing our senior male figure, fathers and grandfathers, confident with money and purchases, males gain this feeling of confidence and knowledge that females either don’t get or don’t care about.

The part where I diverge and disagree with this research is the fact that I do not have a credit card and strongly disagree with college students having them to buy things they cannot afford. This article briefly explains how credit card companies through solicitations exploit college students. College students buy things that they want, and credit card companies realized this trend and now



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