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What Your Credit Card Says About You

What Your Credit Card Says About You

Getting a credit card seems like a simple enough idea. You get a credit card, spend money on it, and eventually pay back the money you spent on credit. Maybe you’ll rack up some rewards while you’re at it. However, you may be surprised by what your credit card says about you. Here are some credit card user archetypes and the cards that suit them best.

The Traveler

Capital One credit card

    It’s easy to spot a traveler via their credit card. They very likely have a credit card that offers miles on purchases that they can use to fly anywhere. In many cases, they are businessmen and women who are looking to rack up some miles while flying on business so they can one day go traveling on their own. For those who don’t travel frequently, it shows a longing to untie from the stresses of every day life and go somewhere nice.
    Example: Capital One VentureOne

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    The Big Spender

    These are people who love to impulse buy. They see something on sale or a new gadget come out and they must have it immediately and onto the credit card it goes. People who love to impulse buy often buy expensive things. Therefore their credit cards are usually the kind that offer some sort of cash back. The more they spend, the more cash back they get.
    Example: Chase Freedom

    The Ones Who Live For Tomorrow

    Most credit cards set you up so you can earn points and spend points almost immediately. There are those out there who don’t want or need the rewards so they get a card that allows them to invest in the future. An example is the 529 Program where all cash back rewards or miles are grouped into a college tuition account that grows tax-free. If you see someone with a card like that, you know they’re thinking of the future.
    Example: FutureTrust Mastercard

    The Beginner

    Getting a credit card for the first time can be daunting. Most younger people who have no credit can’t get these epic credit cards that more experienced people can apply for. Usually they end up with a prepaid credit card. These are the ones where you give a bank $500–$1000 and they issue you a credit card for that amount. You treat it like a regular credit card but if something happens, the bank can close the account without sending the poor card holder into debt. If you spot someone with one of these cards, they’re likely building up some credit.
    Example: Ask your local bank for details on credit cards like this.

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    The Debt Manager

    Just because you have a credit card doesn’t mean you’re trying to spend money. Sometimes it means you’re trying to pay back money. The debt manager has a credit card but never uses it because they got that card to transfer the balances of other debts onto their credit card. They’re paying it off and being responsible (hopefully) and their strategy allows them some flexibility.
    Example: There aren’t really any credit cards specifically for balance transfers but you can find credit cards with lucrative features for transferring balances.

    The Homemaker

    There are credit cards out there with rewards for purchases specific to the house and home. Groceries, home improvement items, etc. are included, so whenever you buy food or improve your home, you get rewards. If you see someone who’s always buying things for their home and who seems to enjoy it a little too much, then you’ve liked run into someone with a card that rewards them for it.
    Example: The Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard offers double points on things like groceries.

    Mr and Mrs Attention To Detail

    Some credit cards offer a range of features that are great for people who like to go over life with a fine-tooth comb. They like to check their credit scores often, get rewards on a variety of purchases, and want to make sure they have customer service whenever and wherever they may need it. When it comes to their finances, they know where every penny is all the time.
    Example: Discover It card.

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    The Socialite

    Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card

      Some people just love hanging out with other people. They like to dress up and go out, talk to real people, and often resist autonomous behavior. These kind of people usually have a credit card for any occasion. It looks neat, has customer service that puts them in direct contact with a real person, and the rewards change up so it always feels new.
      Example: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

      A Most Simple Person

      There are those out there who just don’t want all the bric-a-brac that comes with today’s modern credit cards. The rewards, miles, weird deals, and such are just too complicated to keep track of and they don’t want to go through the hassle. They have a simple credit card. No features, no miles, no rewards, and there are certainly no weird specials to keep track of. They spend money, they pay it back, and they get on with their lives.
      Example: Citi Simplicity Card

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      Featured photo credit: Screen Junkies via cdn2.screenjunkies.com

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      Published on September 17, 2018

      How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

      How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

      Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

      With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

      So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

      1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

      It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

      You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

      So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

      2. When you want something big, wait

      Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

      It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

      We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

      A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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      So, you get the itch.

      You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

      Here’s where you have to take a step back.

      Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

      Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

      It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

      The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

      3. Live smaller than you can afford

      You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

      You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

      That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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      Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

      Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

      The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

      But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

      4. Practice smart grocery shopping

      Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

      But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

      Create a grocery budget

      Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

      Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

      I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

      Make a list… and never deviate

      Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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      You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

      These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

      Eat before going grocery shopping

      It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

      If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

      After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

      Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

      However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

      This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

      5. Cancel your gym membership

      Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

      The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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      Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

      I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

      Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

      Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

      For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

      Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

      There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

      It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

      I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

      Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

      The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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