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Addicted to Credit Cards?

Know the Signs

Credit cards are so easy to obtain, and even more convenient to use. In a 21st century dominated by e-commerce and rapidly-paced, compartmentalized lifestyles, cards have become the most efficient and favored way for people to carry and ultimately spend their finances. But as with anything that produces instantaneous pleasure, it can become an addiction. What are the the subtle signs that credit card addicts begin to display as their addictions slowly start to become problematic? Read on to find out, and how to combat these issues and prevent them from happening to you:

Excess Spending

Addicts use their credit cards for every expense, whether it’s a tank of gas or an insignificant pack of gum. The reason for using credit over cash? Cash feels like real money, while credit psychologically feels like a fee you’re putting off until a later time. One major and early sign of addiction is someone who shops constantly and makes purchases that aren't totally necessary. Many addicts even sell previous purchases to make room for the new items. The problem with this logic is that they will sell the items for a fraction of what they are worth just so they have room to buy new things. It’s a sale, but it’s still a loss. For instance, they may replace their current living room furniture with something new even though it was only a year or two old. The new set cost over $1,000 and they sold the old one for $100 even though it was worth much more.

Getting More Credit

Serious addicts fill out applications for new credit cards once the current ones are maxed out. As long as they can make the payments, they are often approved. It’s not until all of the cards are maxed out and they can’t make the minimum payments that they get in financial trouble. One credit card may be used to make the minimum payment on another one until it too has reached the limit. Since they have used up all of the funds in their savings accounts, they have to find other ways to pay your credit cards.


Credit card addiction is like any other addictive disease: people get a high off of shopping. Even if they worry later about how they are going to pay for it, that doesn't come into play while they’re shopping. It is only the euphoric feeling as they make their purchases that they pay attention to.


Another sign that shopping has turned from a fun activity into an addition is that secrecy becomes of the utmost importance. They shop online not out convenience, but because it allows for a level of privacy. Additionally, they may even shop when you should be working because you just have to buy something. They may hide purchases or downplay the cost to keep family or friends from finding out how much shopping they do. They may hide the credit card statements and simply make the minimum payment required so no one else knows what you spent the previous month. Like other addictions, you may spend money on shopping when it should go towards paying bills. People who can’t stop shopping often give in to the impulse only to return the item because they don’t really want it or can’t afford it. They may use shopping as a way to overcome a bad mood or to relieve loneliness or sadness. Maybe they just broke up with their significant other so they call up their best friend to go shopping for new clothing because “it will make you feel better.” These are all attitudes that create addicts. It goes from a temporary fix to something they need in order to maintain even the slightest bit of daily functionality. Hopefully, you aren't addicted to credit cards, but these are indeed some signs to watch out for. What did you think of this article? Join the discussion here. Dave Landry Jr. is a small business owner and debt counselor living in Southern California. He is honored to write for the Sprinklebit blog!
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