If Brianna K. is being completely honest, she has mixed feelings about being charged with using a credit card for the first time.
Let’s face it. Credit-card ownership comes with a lot of responsibility.
Brianna became a VISA cardholder through Dupaco’s Great Credit Race. And it didn’t take long for her to realize how convenient it can be to pay for purchases with plastic. The charges started racking up: A Halloween costume, gas and other purchases.
“It’s this feeling that you have unlimited money,” says Brianna, a freshman at Northeast Iowa Community College.
And then her first statement arrived, itemizing all of those purchases she had so casually made during the past month.
“When I realized my first statement was so high, I was so frustrated with myself,” she says. “I realized it was only high because I was just spending it on pointless things. I was spending to spend.”
It was one of those “a-ha” moments that Brianna is thankful for.
Since receiving that first statement, she has changed the way she approaches credit-card ownership. She has vowed to use her credit card less and to charge only necessities. She only uses her credit card if the purchase falls within her new budget, something she hadn’t considered creating before.
“Now when I go to get gas, I have a set amount of what I can get, usually $25 to $30. I don’t fill the tank full,” she says. “I set little goals and little dates for myself.”
Brianna’s a lot more organized, too. She stores her receipts together and reviews them when her statement arrives. Each month, she aims to pay off her statement within three days of receiving it.
Brianna will be the first to admit that carrying a credit card is a lot of work. But she says she is thankful that her mom heard about this race, which has already given her invaluable hands-on money management lessons.
“Now that I have spending limits, it’s nice to have a credit card – but with limitations,” she says. “It’s been a great experience, and I’m glad I can be a part of it.”
By Emily Kittle