By Gaoli Moua, Staff writer & copy editor
All college students are familiar with debt, whether it is student loans or credit cards. But student debt is increasingly becoming a fact of life. Although taking out loans for education is inevitable, taking a few simple measures will pay off in getting out of and preventing unnecessary credit card debt.
Establishing credit is essential for the future, but students should not make the mistake of acquiring more credit cards than needed. The more credit cards you have, the more likely you’re going to be tempted to spend and lose track of payments.
Only buy what you need and can afford, despite the rewards incentives that credit card companies may offer. Credit cards may be convenient when it comes to emergencies, but avoid those situations when possible. Try to find bargains and purchase things on sale as well.
The best way to pay is with cash. If you don’t have the money to buy something at the moment, think of how much it would actually cost you to buy it if you used a credit card. Try saving for the item – usually by the time you have enough money, you won’t be as interested in that item and if you still are, it stood the test of time and was worth the wait.
Pay more than the minimum payment. Better yet, pay the whole balance on a monthly basis if possible. It could take you up to a decade to pay off one card if you are only making the minimum payment.
It’s inevitable that we are all going to have credit cards in this modern age, so might as well have low or reasonable interest rates. You can always call the credit card company and ask them to lower your interest rate. If they don’t want to give you a lower rate, no worries, because there are other companies out there looking for your business that will give in to your demands. Try to acquire cards that do not have annual fees.
Most importantly, know what your credit card agreement says before you activate an account. Be knowledgeable of your credit limit, interest rate, penalties should you miss a payment or go over your limit, etc. The worst thing that could happen is you are charged fees that you did not know were applicable to your account and having to close account after account to avoid and opt out of those fees.
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