I don’t mean that only students with high GPA’s can get credit cards… but you need to be “credit smart” if you’re going to be using credit cards as a college student. Trust me, I learned the hard way!
So, the time has come. You have finally finished high school and are spreading your wings towards a higher education. Good for you! Not only are you experiencing your first taste of real debt (college loans, the cost of books, maybe living on your own for the first time…but you have the opportunity to get credit cards now, also.) It’s hard to believe you’re an adult now… something you thought was a thousand years away, but all of the sudden here it is. With adulthood comes responsibility. The responsibility of bills, utilities, buying groceries, doing laundry, and all of the other fun things that come into play when you leave home. Mom and dad are no longer there, so we have to do it on our own (for most of us anyway).
One of the first things that probably come to your mind when you start thinking about all of the expenses as both a student and an adult is it is time to get a credit card. Finally, you are eighteen and can apply for, as well as possibly receive a credit card of your own. The problem with student credit cards is that if you do not obtain them with the idea of keeping things on the right track, they can be more trouble than they are worth.
You see, you have to approach a credit card in a smart and mature way. Sure, they are easy to just pull out when you are low in cash and pay for the necessities, but if you cannot pay it off at the end of the month, they start to cause some serious troubles. First, if you do not pay the balance off monthly, you now have to deal with finance charges, which can really start to add up. Secondly, if you overuse your credit card and find yourself having troubles paying them back, you can find your credit damaged faster than you can get some of that stuff the dining hall serves up and calls dinner!
Damaged credit can be a real stopper later in life, after college, when you are looking to:
- buy a house
- rent an apartment
- buy a car
- even get a job
Therefore, it is important to protect your credit right from the start, especially when it comes to student credit cards.
When using your student credit cards be mindful of how you are spending. Never spend more on your credit card than what you can afford to pay back each month. This will help you avoid massive finance charges and other fees that credit card companies like to charge. You should also make sure that you make the payments on time, every time; this will keep your credit in good standing.
Having great credit after college will be a positive when you are want to expand your wings even further and move on with your life and career.