If college students could have one wish it might be to receive a good college education without having to spend the next twenty years paying off massive student loans and college student credit card debt.
“Genie, grant me my wish.” Poof. What college student credit card debt?
Dear Aladdin wannabe’s, if only it were that easy! The truth is you can earn a great college education with less college student credit card debt. It takes a little money management savvy and an increasingly un-American concept called self-control.
“There are more money issues for today’s students than in any other generation before them,” says Todd Romer, executive director of Young Money Magazine.
From the rising cost of colleges to luxuries like cell phones and high-end dining establishments that are popping up all around college campuses, you may find yourself graduating into college student credit card debt hell by the time you’re twenty-two years old. And all you truly wanted was a debt-free college education!
If you’re looking to stress less about money and be proactive about college student credit card debt, give the following tips a try:
1. Use credit cards sparingly.
The average credit card debt owed by college students is about $2,700, with close to a quarter of students owing more than $3,000. About 10 percent owed more than $7,000! That’s not even including student loans.
“Getting a credit card is not a bad idea,” says Romer. According to a recent study of student loan applicants conducted by Nellie Mae, a leading provider of higher education loans, 78 percent of all college students today have at least one credit card. That being said, Romer advises that college students keep your credit card in the deepest part of your wallet to use for emergencies and/or large purchases that you know you will pay back within thirty days.
Have a tendency to use credit cards as, say, gift cards? Romer suggests that college students call their credit card company and ask them to put a $500 max on the card. Also have them not change the limit until you are the one who communicates to them that you want to increase your credit limit. “Until you become more responsible, and that just evolves over time, have a third-party reign in on your spending,” adds Romer.
But how can you earn a college education minus college student credit card debt when some colleges and universities form multi-million dollar partnerships with credit issuers and give them the go ahead to solicit students right on campus? “If you see a Bank One credit card table showing up at your school in the student union once a week, just realize that you don’t have to participate in the promotion on campus,” says Romer. “Treat it like anything else you’re going to be tempted with in this world. Be smart about what you get involved with.”
2. Start a budget (ahem) weekly spending plan.
Yeah, a weekly spending plan is a sneaky euphemism for a budget, …