Imagine you just got your first credit card. Since you have access to funds loaned to you by credit card companies and don’t have to wait for your paycheck to be paid off, you’ve decided to buy the jacket you’ve been looking for and the gear to start the succulent garden you’ve been to. dream about. In the glittering glory of plastic, you don’t just forget it Your budget and the monthly expenses that come with it (such as rent, groceries, and gas) but you also fail to factor in your long-term financial goals. If your income is not enough to pay your credit card balance, then just like that: you belong to the group of students who have credit card debt.
The median credit card debt for college students is $3,280, according to CollegeFinance.com. This may be because tuition is expensive, and students have to use their cards to cover purchases such as textbooks or even financial emergency. As a result, credit cards can easily be used for non-essential purchases, such as online shopping or fast food breaks, which can result in a lot of debt if you’re not careful. Fortunately, there are a few tips that might help you avoid credit card debt while in college.
1. Do your research
Once you’ve decided to apply for a credit card, there are a few things to consider. Since credit cards can play a very important role in your personal finances, you should educate yourself about how credit cards work, the different types of cards available, and how they can be used responsibly. You’ll also want to understand how credit cards affect your credit score and can help you achieve your financial goals in the future, whether that’s renting an apartment or buying a car. Doing credit card research can help you make informed decisions about your college finances, while increasing your confidence in your ability to handle money.
2. Create a budget
Once you’ve completed your mortgage homework, it’s time to draw up a budget (if you don’t already have one). If you finish monthly budget sheet correctly, then you’ll know exactly how much money you have left to spend as you please, also known as extra income. It’s smart to put money into your emergency fund or rainy day fund, but if you decide to make non-essential purchases with your credit card, you’ll want to make sure that the amount is no more than your discretionary income for the month. If you give yourself a limit on your spending, you are less likely to fall victim to credit card debt in college.
3. Eliminate impulse buying
Many students use their credit cards to impulse buying, or sudden purchases made without considering their budget. While clicking “add to cart” or swiping your card can be fun, it’s important to exercise caution when purchasing. When you use a credit card, you may not feel like you’re spending money. This is because you are using a plastic card instead of handing over cash. However, the money you spend is real and should be paid back on time. Keeping track of all your purchases can help you know how much you’ve spent and may prevent you from spending more money until you are financially able to do so.
4. Always pay your bill on time
You should try to always pay your credit card bills on time. When you miss a payment – it doesn’t matter if it’s by accident or on purpose – you’ll start to incur late fees. This can increase your bill, which isn’t helpful if you’re trying to get out of or avoid credit card debt. In addition, your payment history is one of the most important factors in determining credit score. It only takes one late payment to potentially lower your credit score. On the plus side, regular timely payments can give you a better chance of being worthy credit limit increase. Basically, if you pay your bills on time, you can avoid interest charges, eliminate late fees, and build your credit history without any hassle.
5. Pay more than the minimum payment
A common credit card mistake for the average college student is to only pay the minimum amount due on their monthly credit card statement. Since the minimum amount can be a fraction of your total monthly credit card balance, it may be attractive to pay only this small amount. However, when you receive your statement, you should aim to pay your balance in full each month, meaning you don’t have to pay interest on the purchase. While there will be several months when paying off your statement in full is not possible, always try to pay more than the minimum. This way, you’ll be able to pay off your full balance in less time, and you’ll be paying less interest fees, which will save you money in the long run.
6. Find more money
This may be easier said than done. However, if you try everything and can’t seem to get rid of your excessive spending habits, then look for ways to increase your income. You can do this by “looking for” more money, such as by taking advantage of student discounts. You can also make more money by taking part time jobs or looking for side job. Whatever you choose to do to increase your income, it will help you reduce debt. Finally, if you can curb your spending habits then you will have more money to help grow your savings, invest in retirement planor pay off your student debt.
For students, credit card debt can be avoided altogether by not having a credit card at all. However, not having access to credit can put students at a disadvantage for upcoming events. Without credit, a student may not be approved for a loan, may lose the opportunity to rent the apartment they desire, or may be stuck with a higher interest rate, which could result in more debt later in life. While credit card debt can seem daunting, mastering your credit just takes discipline and a little practice. Know that if you follow these tips, you will be well on your way to use your credit card responsibly.