Consumer culture is a very powerful force that shapes the way of life in any society as the individuals succumb to persistent drives geared by the yearning to be incorporated members of the (customer) culture (James, 2001). In the United States, changing attitudes towards money and debt has been an imperative mechanism to the widespread surfacing of a (consumer) culture that utilizes credit cards and other forms of debts in most of the daily transactions. In fact, American citizens have been reported as the world’s leading users in credit and debit cards. Credit cards are a form of instant spending power granted to its holders by a credit company or bank institutions providing him with the capacity to purchase goods and services as well granting him the capacity to borrow funds (Credit cards, 2010). Credit card use has become the most popular means of executing transactions among the American population.
Access to easy credit often results in overspending (James, 2001). As the American attitudes gradually transformed from cherishing savings to revering spending, consumer spending among the Americans considerably increased over the years while savings trends continuously diminished. Further, the changing attitude towards debt in the society and its general acceptability as a part of modern consumer pattern has intensified the use of credit cards among the American population. This community of debtors serves to increase incidences of impulse buying and overspending as it reinforces the belief that debts form an acceptable means of livelihood among the American population (James, 2001). Many consumers view credit cards as extra income rather than debt prompting them to overspend (Credit cards, 2010). Delay in payment of credit cards may affect an individual’s credit ratings making it difficult to obtain credit in the future. Since credit cards are heavily dependent on future income, it is easier to get overwhelmed with debt due to the prevalent uncertainties leading to financial problems.
Credit cards act as a symbol of age among the American population (James, 2001). There is undeniable evidence that (college) students are exceedingly lost in thought with money issues with some of the students citing it as the very significant motive for attending college. The young people in America are more likely to encounter financial problems in comparison to the older members of the society. Credit cards purchasing is associated with obsessive buying which is a never-ending condition manifested in repetitive buying which results as an individual reaction to off-putting feelings and occasions (James, 2001). There are elevated cases of obsessive buying among (college) students in the United States and the problem often leads to devastating effects on the affected individuals as well as the society at large. People indulging in compulsive buying are likely to suffer from dejection, fretfulness and reduced esteem (James, 2001). Obsessive buying in the United States has led to increased numbers of economic failure leading to widespread financial problems among the population. Further, compulsive buying often leads to detrimental effects on the environment. The American prevalent culture of consumption distracts the populace from environmental concerns while the making, vending, utilization and clearance of an increasing amount of end user products speed up the worsening of natural surroundings (James, 2001). It is therefore important to exercise self control and financial discipline when using credit cards to avoid bad debts.
Credit cards. (2010). Advantages and disadvantages for the consumer. Web.
James, A. R. (2001). Money attitudes, credit card use, and compulsive buying among American college students. Journal of consumer affairs. Web.