For HU students Cam Manning, Wade Leatherman, and Maddie LeBlanc, the truth behind their credit card spending habits is revealed when they take on this responsibility.

By Hope Eberly, Contributor

Sophomore Maddie LeBlanc, a marketing and management major, has had a credit card for nearly a year. There’s mainly one thing she likes to spend her money on: clothes. 

LeBlanc is surrounded by clothes working at Ella Chic Boutique in Roanoke. 

THE BUSY SHOPPER: Maddie LeBlanc shows off some of the clothes she has bought from Ella Chic Boutique in Roanoke. (Photo by Hope Eberly)

While she loves her job, it can be a struggle not to buy everything that catches her eye. LeBlanc tends to look at the big picture over her impulse purchases. 

“It’s taught me how to manage my money well,” said LeBlanc. “It’s also taught me to purchase the necessities, but knowing I can treat myself, too.” 

LeBlanc owns a student Discover card. It allows her to get cash back, but she can only spend a certain amount per month to avoid maxing out the $500 limit. The limit is useful because it prevents her from going over her budget. 

Other institutes have recognized the positive outcome it has on college students. An article in The New York Times suggests that students who have a student credit card should not have annual fees because of their tight budgets. Student cards have low credit limits at first–$300 to $500 if the student has no past credit history–but these can be expanded over time. 

Going on a shopping spree or upgrading to the newest AirPods could be on your to-do list. Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to spending money. Experts say knowing your limits plays a tremendous role in owning a small piece of plastic. The decision to own a credit card comes down to you. 

“Pay the entire balance of your credit card on-time every single month,” said Cary Siegel, author of Why Didn’t They Teach Me This In School, over an email interview. “Then it is impossible for you to get behind.” 

Cam Manning, a senior majoring in criminal justice, has had his credit card for two years now. Food, shoes, bills, subscriptions, gas, and whey protein muscle supplements are things he keeps up on in payments. 

Manning likes to spend an extensive about of time in the gym working on his physique. He likes to get swole, some might say. 

THE BODY BUILDER: Cam Manning poses with his workout fuel, 10 lbs. each to be exact. (Photo by Hope Eberly)

“I wonder if his credit card lifts as much as he does,” said Mzatiwathu Banda, a friend of Manning. 

Other students around campus take on the excitement of buying items they love with their credit card. Wade Leatherman, a freshman majoring in worship leadership, has only had his card for a few months. Out of the many things Leatherman uses his card for, he finds used phones in good condition on eBay or Facebook Marketplace and re-sells them. He has had some success with this, but he wants to start selling phones regularly and keep an inventory on them. 

Leatherman also has an eye for guitars. He has played guitar for seven years and is a proud member of Joyful Noise. As there is a strong urge to buy studio 

and recording equipment, he always makes sure he has the money to do so. A large purchase he made was his maroon Fender Stratocaster. 

THE SHREDDER: Wade Leatherman spends time on the brick posts of Wright Hall practicing chords. (Photo by Hope Eberly)

“Having a credit card has made me think more like an adult when it comes to spending,” said Leatherman. “On top of that, I can still buy the things I love.” 

With its popularity growing, people are seeing an increase of credit cards owned by college students. Two statistics done by Sallie Mae, Majoring in Money 2019, show the increase of credit cards from 2016 to 2019. About 34% to 57% of undergraduate students went from 3 to 5 credit cards. 

Not every college student has multiple credit cards, but it shows that the numbers are rising. There are some students that go to HU who do and don’t have a credit card. Out of a group of 73 students surveyed over an Instagram poll, most don’t have one but there’s a small percentage that do. 

Leblanc, Manning, and Leatherman are being responsible with their spending. They are learning to establish a good credit background, to manage money as college students, and still spend money on the things they love. 

This, though, does not happen in one day. 

“The average person comes out of college with some credit card debt,” said Siegel. “College students still need to realize that they can’t spend more than they can pay back at the end of each month.” 

“I could have saved the money for something else, maybe college,” said Leatherman. “But having a credit card has given me a jumpstart to the future and a chance to start building my credit card score.” 

“Credit cards are a huge responsibility,” emphasized Siegel. “Reason being that if students aren’t used responsibly at a young age they can hurt you financially for the rest of your life.”