Guest Post by: Grace Ruskin, Financial Advisor & Writer
For most of the first-time college as well as university students, those shiny plastics in their purse or wallet gives them a no holds barred invitation to splurge on various good things in life. However, student need to be careful with the way they use their credit cards, given the soaring inflation, increasing cuts on federal educational grants and perpetual economic uncertainty that may put them underwater for years to come.
In this case, you may well guard your finances with some smart ways to control your impulsive expenditures to see through your college tuition fees with ease.
How to you manage your credit card and stay debt free
As experts say, credit card companies entice students like you by promoting credit cards as an alternative source of fund to make your college days more happening. However, you should do just the opposite with the help of the below discussed tips that are both practical as well as easy to follow:
* Control your excitement – One of the foremost things that you must do to guard yourself from piling up on outstanding credit card bills is to keep your excitement under control. Though they are good-looking and trendy objects to flash by, yet you may well enter into a vicious cycle of debt, if aren’t careful with them. Make some good use of any cash back offered to you by the creditor. For instance, put a part of that money in your savings or checking account and anywhere that you deem fit. However, make sure that you can find out all those money in case you need some cash instantly.
* Follow a financial plan – Now, budgeting serves as the foundation of a stable financial life and this fact implies not only to students such as you but to the highest echelons of the government. Basically, having a sound budget (or for that matter a practical monthly financial plan) will enable you to prioritize both your discretionary (wants) as well as non-discretionary (needs) costs. In order to draw up a budget, you may take advantage of online budgeting software or just a plain piece of paper and be done with the job.
What is crucial in case of budgeting is that you need to stick to the budget with some does of relaxations in case of emergencies. A proper balance with both your purchases and savings will keep you off from getting bored with it and keep your focus on track.
* Know credit card basics – Prior to making a habit to swipe your credit cards at the drop of a hat, you must ensure that you’ve got the basics right. You must be aware of the pros and cons of using then before you apply for the plastics. In this case, run a thorough check of the balance transfer offers, annual percentage rates (APRs), creditor doled out incentives and various other credit card infused enjoyments. Considering the facts, self-recreational options like movies and concerts are high-end discretional luxuries that you must stay away from.
There are many such options too, but then keep your urges well under control and opt for some affordable alternatives to fulfill them, as most others do. So, you may well break away from the mundane world of books and lectures by attending all those college or university funded recreational programs.
* Compare costs whenever possible – Comparing costs before buying any thing will help you to pay less and save more, thereby reducing any chances of getting into credit card debt. There are lots of ways to reduce your expenses like online shopping for books or any other college stationeries. Moreover, with so many online shopping carts vying for your business, it is very likely that you’ll be able to compare costs and stumble upon the most lucrative deal. So, the key here is to survey the online market extensively and find out the best deals offered by these e-commerce websites.
Therefore, with all these credit card management tips at your disposal, you cannot afford to use your plastic money recklessly. If you do, then you’ll have to opt for say, credit card consolidation programs (a type of debt relief strategy) to straighten up your finances. It is important in this case to be realistic with your finances and stay alert with what you do with them. Finally, your budget, finances and self-possession will definitely give you good results.