One of the major milestones of becoming an adult is taking responsibility for your finances. For many, that process really begins in college. You may have your first checking account and you will probably get a debit card. You will probably also be given the opportunity to apply for a credit card. Don’t do it. Banks love to lure in college students with offers of fast credit and building your financial future. It is an easy temptation to fall into that can have painful, long-term consequences. Many students spend years trying to pay off credit cards they used in college. Try to think differently about your money. Instead of spending more on credit cards, try saving money instead.
The most important thing to do is avoid obtaining any credit cards. Every student thinks they will be responsible and not overuse it while keeping up with payments but the sad fact is that most do not. You already have a lot of expenses and you will probably be paying off students loans for several years as well. The last thing you need is a high interest credit card bill to pay off and saving money can be surprisingly easy. Here are a couple of tips.
You can always save money on clothing. Sure you look good in designer clothes but do you really need them? Embrace the college lifestyle of free shirts and cheap clothes. Thrift stores are always popular and you can find some great vintage clothes. Stores like Old Navy are a great way to save and still look stylish. Many stores will offer coupons and you should always wait for a sale. Surprisingly, clearance racks can have some great finds as well.
Don’t eat your way into credit debt either. While restaurants are fun, they can add up to a lot of money. While it is true college students love food, there are plenty of ways to eat good food for cheap. Grocery stores will have coupons, many you can print online, and be sure to compare prices as you go. Buying in bulk is a great way to save as well. Okay, so you don’t need six gallons of milk, but dry goods are easy to stock up on. You will be surprised how it all adds up.
Last but not least, consider attending an online university such as Bachelors degrees. Your student loans and grants will go a lot further if you can take classes from home. It will also be easier to find a job since you attend classes whenever you have time. It might seem like a long time before you have to pay your debts off and maybe it is, but spending less now will help out greatly then.
Life comes at you really fast after college, it isn’t just the student loans either. You will need to finance a car at some point, if you plan on getting married, well that is a huge expense as well. What if you want to buy a house or even just live somewhere nicer? All of these things require good credit and having a lot of student credit debt will only make things more difficult. Avoid the cards if at all possible, your future self will thank you.
About the Author:
Aiden Jefferson lives and writes in Southern California. He writes about education.