With rights come responsibilities. And this rule applies to college student credit cards as well. These small pieces of plastic look innocent enough but come with their share of pitfalls. College days are colored with long hours of studying and longer hours partying with friends and classmates. And, if you are not careful, college days will also be marred with credit card bills that carry the threat of thousands of dollars of debilitating debt that will stay with you for some time to come!
This bleak picture should by no means prevent college students from using credit cards; it should only help students to avoid misusing them. If you know how to keep the key rules in mind and keep them in control while planning your purchases, you can master the art of handling credit cards and be able to use them effectively and to your best possible advantage.
College Credit Cards: The Painless Plan
- Plan a budget: Firstly, figure out your weekly and monthly expenses. These are usually food, books, and transportation expenses. College student credit cards, like traditional cards, provide monthly billing statements that should help in determining your overall budget.
- Stick to the budget carefully: Plan to use your credit card to meet just these key expenses. Remember that the trouble usually starts when you do not meet your monthly payments. This problem can be easily avoided if you plan your credit card expenses well in advance. This means preventing debt from building up and paying your credit card bills on time.
- Use your credit card only for major expenses. College student credit cards should usually not be used for everyday expenses but reserved for the big buys or emergencies only. Use them for long-term purchases such as furniture and books.
- Don't splurge: If you don't have money in your wallet to meet miscellaneous expenses, then don't buy them at all! Buying beer for your friends, purchasing CDs on the Net and buying soda can all add up, even if they seem inexpensive at the time of purchase.
- Don't let your parents help you: Be responsible and mature enough to control excessive expenses without calling up Mom and Dad to help bail you out. If you are old enough to use a credit card, then you should be wise enough to use them responsibly.
College Student Credit Cards: What is In It for You?
If you think you can handle it, it is time to take a closer look at why you should make the effort to learn how to handle a credit card:
- A credit card can help you make purchases online or over the telephone.
- Credit cards are critical during emergencies.
- They can also help you finance your larger expense items.
- You can build your credit rating with responsible use, which will be helpful later while making business investments, buying your first house, and even when getting your first job.
Get a Head Start
So college student credit cards could be the perfect way to secure your financial future.
Please do keep in mind that even in the student market, companies offer differing rates of interest and interest-free periods. So shop for your credit card wisely. Think of this as great practice for the future, when you might be juggling more than one card, student loans, and maybe even a mortgage on your house.
Once you have decided on a specific college credit card, it is important to understand how it works and the benefits you can reap from it. Keep a close watch on your bills, and figure out ways of paying the monthly bills. Watch out for better offers as well, because you don't want to be stuck paying higher interest rates then you need to.