Is it ethical to spend money you do not have to spend?

@debrakcarey (19923)
United States
July 31, 2009 1:11pm CST
Do you have credit cards? Are they maxed out and you're having trouble paying them back...no this is not an advertisment for debt consolidation...I'm wondering if the current financial crisis in America is not due to our 'gotta have it' mentality. Or perhaps the banks have brainwashed us into thinking we must come to them for our needs and wants in life? What ever happened to saving for the future? Why do Americans think that they MUST have the nice things in life RIGHT NOW?
7 people like this
33 responses
@Polly289 (269)
• New Zealand
1 Aug 09
Yes, these banks are pretty adept at sucking us in. When you have money they're on you like white on rice. The second you look to be in a poverty stricken (which I have been) situation, they all run a mile in the other direction. I'm not an American but am au fait with Americas current financial situation. Heck, it's been plastered all over the news, for pity sake. Anyway, I don't have a credit card. Simply because I've been spending money I haven't had and it's looking pretty grim for me at the moment. Keeping my chin up though. Sometimes we get lucky.
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
1 Aug 09
Like I said...I'm not real smart about credit or banks but I could never figure out why those who have tons of money get the loans and those who need the loans (don't have money) are denied. Strange.
1 person likes this
@Polly289 (269)
• New Zealand
1 Aug 09
Not so strange really. One of my sons worked as a Loans Consultant for one of our largest banks here in NZ so he's pretty up with the play as far as they're concerned. But it does seem a little sad. The people who truly do need the loans are the ones who earn the least.
2 people like this
• United States
31 Jul 09
myself i don't have a credit card, not for lack of trying though. But if i did it would only be for emergency situations. I think under certain circumstances spending whats on that card is definitely permissible and entirely ethical. But that's only under certain circumstances. I know a person that has a crap ton of credit cards and he only pays down just enough where he can max it out on something else he doesn't need. So yeah...definitely have to show some maturity if your going to have a credit card...if you can get one at all.
2 people like this
@dawnald (84075)
• Shingle Springs, California
31 Jul 09
people like your friend are a small part of why the economy's in such a mess...
1 person likes this
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
31 Jul 09
I'm wondering about those like your friend who buy things they don't need but just want...and paying all that interest for the convenience of having it RIGHT NOW. My way is.... saving up until I have the money to get what I want and looking for a bargin when I do have the money. But then the banks don't like that...they loose the money I'd pay them for using their money.
1 person likes this
@derek_a (10897)
1 Aug 09
I wouldn't say it is unethical, but I have been raised to avoid all debt. I wanted to buy a house when I first got married, and there was no way I could have bought one for cash, so I had to take a mortgage. I really didn't like to think that I had all the debt, but then I thought I would be paying rent anyway, so it was the best way to go and be building some assets for my future. But that was the only thing I had on credit. My cars have always been second hand paid for by cash for what I could afford. I used the bank obviously for convenience, but I cannot see the benefit on paying them interest I do not have to pay them. So I have developed patience. If I can't have it, then I will wait. If I was to have it RIGHT NOW, to me it is not worth the stress. I am in the UK and many of us here want it now, and pay later. I guess I am the exception to that rule though. - Derek
2 people like this
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
1 Aug 09
Not many people have that attitude. Good for you that you see the folly of it.
@cbeee3 (2063)
• India
1 Aug 09
I have lived in the US, for quite a while really, so I know about "building credit history",which is not needed in my country. I had just 1 credit card when I was in the US and I bought only those things with the card that needed to be bought.I never overspent. So I had a good credit history, yet didn't spend on things I did not need. Now that I am back in my country,I have just 1 credit card,which I barely ever use.I prefer paying by cash and then the next option would be a Debit card if the amount is fairly large.I spend only what I have.I can never spend more than what I have.This way, I never need to borrow from anyone.
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
1 Aug 09
I am surprised that most of my responses are those who are conservative in their spending habits. That's surprising.
• China
1 Aug 09
En, I used to own a credit card, and I think it brings me conveient sometimes but also bothers me at the same time. I need to pau for the charge and go to bank to check my credit extra. Well, I suggest we could spend money we do not have to spend most of the time.
2 people like this
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
1 Aug 09
They do make life easier for a time...then the bill comes in the mail. REALITY hits! lol
1 person likes this
@GY1106 (46)
• China
1 Aug 09
Absolutely we can not spend too much money of future, you will be bankrupt if overdraft you money input. i don't agree the cosumeing model of American, they just want the most faverate things and premium lifestyles, but everyone is getting step by step, we cannot aproch our goal by one step.
2 people like this
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
1 Aug 09
Not all Americans feel that way GY1106...some of us live well within our means. Not every American is rich...and many of us live below poverty level and survive. It used to be a great country.
1 person likes this
• Malaysia
1 Aug 09
i do have credit cards. and i also use them due to convenience. but the good thing is i always clear all the outstanding balance on time, so i am not charge by the bank. in my country car is quite expensive, so no choice i have to take mortgage for my car. also for my house.
2 people like this
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
1 Aug 09
Wise to pay the balance off as quickly as possible. Same here with the house and car..but I've always rented and bought second hand cars. People CAN live without credit.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Aug 09
Charge It!!! - 
Splurge purchases you don't have the money for are not very smart. Credit card companies charge ghastly interest. Bouncing checks is illegal, and banks can charge you hideous amounts in overdraft fees just because you wanted those skinny jeans with that cute label on them.
Ethical? That is a question with several answers. * There are times where it is required to spend money 'you do not have' such as when you need medical treatment and you cannot get insured or that treatment isn't insured (a coverage donut hole) by your medical insurance company. Donut holes can pop into medical insurance plans with out warning. If your toilet decides to explode, you will need to have that fixed, regardless if you have enough money in the bank, because if you only have one bathroom...um...yuck! * Splurge purchases you don't have the money for are not very smart. I won't say unethical, because that will open a can of worms I don't want to play with, but I will say they are pretty darn stupid. Credit card companies charge ghastly interest. Bouncing checks is illegal, and banks can charge you hideous amounts in overdraft fees just because you wanted those skinny jeans with that cute label on them. * Splurging in second hand shops are more affordable if you have some budget to work with. Nonetheless, nowadays, care is the watchword.
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
1 Aug 09
Some appropriate quotes from some real smart guys. I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies. If the American people ever allow banks to control the issue of currency, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of their property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. Thomas Jefferson If you want to remain slaves of the bankers and pay the costs of your own slavery, let them continue to create money and control the nations credit. Sir Josiah Stamp 1880-1941
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Aug 09
What the banks have done terrifies me. The fact that I've had nothing to do with what the banks did makes it even worse...that I am a 'born slave'. I don't use credit cards...it doesn't matter.
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
4 Aug 09
Welcome to the New World Order. George Orwell (1984) was pretty close.
1 person likes this
@benhilo (871)
• Tripoli, Libya
1 Aug 09
The desire or rather the "MUST" have mentality is definitely not limited to the United States. I have done enough traveling to know this as a fact. Secondly, America's saving are on the rise. Recent reports show than America's are now saving at least 3% of their income as compared to nearly zero. It may not be much for you but it is a start. The current financial crisis in America is not due to our 'gotta have it' mentality. Greed is the more likely culprit.
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
1 Aug 09
Which is just another version of 'gotta have it'.
@benhilo (871)
• Tripoli, Libya
1 Aug 09
Granted, however you singled out America, my point is greed is the more likely culprit on a global scale. That means every culture and country!
@dawnald (84075)
• Shingle Springs, California
31 Jul 09
If you have the money to pay the cards back, sure it's ethical to take credit that somebody's offering. If you don't and you know you can't, it's not ethical perhaps, but I'd do it for a necessity. I wouldn't do it for a luxury though. PS we're spoiled.
1 person likes this
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
31 Jul 09
I don't think it's ethical for them to charge the interest rates they do. And I think it's wrong to offer credit to people who CAN'T pay and they know it.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84075)
• Shingle Springs, California
31 Jul 09
Well yeah and that's created a lot of the credit crisis in this country. But to turn it around, is it ethical to charge a person for something they can't live without but can't afford to pay for? :-)
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
1 Aug 09
Oh...don't even get me started on that! Do you know in some urban areas in the world they have O2 masks attached to air tanks and charge money for a breath of fresh air!
@LaurenInLA (2271)
• United States
31 Jul 09
I do use my credit cards a lot but I have one basic rule about them. I never ever charge anything more than I can pay off when I receive the credit card bill. Sometimes, it's painful writing that check but I always sleep at night and I have excellent credit.
1 person likes this
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
31 Jul 09
I have no credit....when I was young medical bills ruined my hope of ever having credit. I have never qualified for a mortgage or credit to buy a car...I've saved for everything I have and always paid my bills. Just not on time. Low wages, large family....all of it combined has left me with a bad credit score. The fact that I am judged by my score has always bothered me....as it seems that people cannot ever get ahead due to past mistakes. What do you think? Is our score held over us like a punishment...and is this right? I'm thinking of my sons who have child support to pay...and this keeps their score down. That is just unfair.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Aug 09
After years of having an excellent credit score, our credit score was almost ruined because of insurance bills. My husband fell on 1/28 and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He was taken to an out of network hospital which was the only trauma center within 50 miles of his injury and the insurance companmy told me that they were only going to pay 50% of the bills, leaving me with medical bills that would have exceeded over $300,000. Fortunately, I learned that I was able to file a grievance against the insurance company and I won so the insurance company paid everything in full. I can sympathize with you because after 45 years of having a clean credit record, I almost lost it all. My best advice to you is that you do have a right to put a letter in your credit files explaining the situation and I would suggest that you do so. The credit bureau is required to send that letter along with your credit report to anyone that requests a copy fo your credit report. If you are denied, call teh credit manager personally and explain the situation. I worked as a Credit Mgr for 35 years and yes, I do believe that you are entitled to a second chance. Good luck
1 person likes this
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
1 Aug 09
Thank you so much for the advice. Here I was feeling like there just was nothing I could do. Appreciate that very much.
1 person likes this
@cher913 (25865)
• Canada
31 Jul 09
i do have a credit card but don't just buy for the heck of it, i do own designer stuff (but they are hand me downs). if i need to buy anything, i get it on sale or shop at a thrift store. but you are right, many people shop on impulse and end up getting maxed out. we need to be light the generations past that saved for things they wanted/needed.
1 person likes this
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
31 Jul 09
My father told me the only credit I should ever seek was a mortgage. But that was back when cars were not as expensive as some houses...lol. I have NEVER owned a brand new car...I've always bought second or third had cars. What do you think about financing things like cars and homes?
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Aug 09
Now, is certainly not a good time to buy cars or homes. Not unless you can pay cash for them; get a very low interest rate; low monthly payments; and can pay them off in just a few years. With the economy the way it is, the financial places are allowing people to get in over their heads on real estate and auto loans, and then = the people are loosing their homes and transportation.
@BlueGoblin (1831)
• United States
1 Aug 09
American life makes money central. Our whole life is spent working for it, spending it, wanting it, etc.. The whole thing is pointless.
1 person likes this
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
1 Aug 09
I'm looking into a simpler way. Have had to learn just because of a husband who wouldn't work...now that I'm on my own..knowing how to survive without a lot of 'stuff' will do me good.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (115239)
• United States
2 Aug 09
Sometimes the simpler way has much more peace of mind. I do not like being dependent on a job that I may lose for who knows what reason.
• Indonesia
1 Aug 09
I don't have any credit cards and so my family. My dad and mom have it as bonus as special member in bank but they never use it. I think they have brainwashed me to not using credit card. I want credit card actually.. Because almost all my friends have it. Sometimes there's special offer if we pay by credit card, like buy2 get1 or get extra discount in some merchant. When I told this to my parents they say it's the same because I have to pay monthly fee plus the interest at the end of the month and they don't want I have bad habit, spending money that i don't have. If I have money then use it. If I haven't got the money yet then don't buy the things. Now I agree with them, it can become bad habit. I think it's okay to use credit card but only in emergency situation, like pay hospital if your parents or relatives need to be taken care in hospital and you don't have enough money yet or other things not related to clothes, shoes / nice things that we only "want" not "need".
1 person likes this
• Indonesia
1 Aug 09
Exactly.. that's the very basic of credit card.. and if we only pay minimal amount in one month, the left amount will be hit by interest again.. From what I've watched in tv, most people can't free from debt because they only pay minimum amount and so their debt increasing and never end.. Thats' the worst! Hope we will never involved in such a thing...
1 Aug 09
Could have a little to do with our government ramming down our throats how we must keep up with the Jones. I agree with you though, you have to put a halt on spending, it can get majorly out of hand.
1 person likes this
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
1 Aug 09
Hey...I live in the Ozarks! and I agree...it can be pretty easy to survive in our neck of the woods with very little. Been looking into some of those options. People here are a little more conservative than most. Add me if you care to. Let's talk.
@Sheepie (3118)
• United States
1 Aug 09
I do not, mostly just because I don't have a credit card. I do not really plan to get one. I know that you need them for many things, like online purchases and such where you can't use Paypal. And maybe for emergencies. I guess I might get one in the future, but I would use it very rarely. I heard that about a third of American households do not even use a credit card. I'm sure if I ever did use one, I would pay the balance immediately. I would never get myself in too deep like that. No need for bad credit to ruin one's chances of getting car or a house in the future.
1 person likes this
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
1 Aug 09
I see that happen to many folks. It's sad. But it's easy to believe that the government will soon be able to say who gets to and who doesn't.
• India
1 Aug 09
Ethical or not, its very stupid to spend money that I don’t not have and its quite addictive too. Once a person falls into the debt trap, its very difficult to get out of the habit. So, its been a conscious decision of both my husband and me that we do not have any credit card…not a single one. Though many times we have faced problems, like credit card comes really handy when booking online travel tickets and online shopping, even then we have resisted the temptation so far.
1 person likes this
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
1 Aug 09
I've been thankful that the WONT'T give me one. lol
• Mexico
1 Aug 09
i tnink that americans think they need the nice things now becausethe media the fads the fashion and all of those things influence their poor brains and force them to buy them, and the worst part of that is that the society collaborates with them and dont break the chain so they still buy unnecessary things.
1 person likes this
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
1 Aug 09
The media does have a lot to do with the problem of over spending. People just can't see that they don't need the things they are told they need.
@Frederick42 (2019)
• Canada
1 Aug 09
These days, everybody wants to enjoy more and more. There is a lot of stress in life and in order to take away this stress, people are indulgent and they enjoy. I do not think that this is happening only in America,but all over the world.
1 person likes this
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
1 Aug 09
I think a priviledged few are encouraging this all over the world...soon the noose will tighten and the world will bend it's knee to whoever holds the purse strings.
• Philippines
1 Aug 09
I have a credit card and my credit limit is not much. I don't increase my credit limit so I won't be spending much. I am very careful with my purchases using my credit card because I am so afraid that I will not be able to pay it if I will go beyond the maximum.
1 person likes this
@debrakcarey (19923)
• United States
1 Aug 09
You should be ok then...most don't feel as you do. I think you are smart for being a bit leary of using it.