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College Credit Card Debt - How to Avoid College Credit Card Debt

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So, you think you are smart enough to go to college? Are you smart enough to handle credit cards? If you overuse credit cards, no matter how smart you are, credit card debt can haunt you longer than any student loan. College credit card debt is easy to accumulate and not so easy to erase.

If you don’t know much about credit cards and interest rates, take time to do some research. You will be tempted to charge items on a card when it isn’t necessary. Set some solid guidelines for any credit card use and stick to those rules. Do not be tempted to use a credit card to pay for social activities or any other unnecessary expense. It might not seem like fun now but when you are struggling to pay off that college credit card debt 10 years from now the fun is long gone. Educate yourself on the consequences of credit card debt.

First you need to recognize that you are an easy target for credit card companies. Recent trends show that credit card companies heavily market to college campuses by recruiting students to sign up at bookstores, campus centers, athletic events—several places frequented by students. The aggressive nature used by some companies has caused over 400 colleges to place restrictions on credit card companies using college-owned facilities. Over 600 colleges are considering such rules.

Credit card companies also use popular promotions to get students to sign up for their cards. Students might be offered free items with their college logo, a free T-shirt or a free concert ticket. In reality, not much is really free when you take on college credit card debt. That free baseball cap might end up costing you hundreds of dollars in interest. Stop and think about the big picture in dealing with credit cards. Compare the promotions and what you are getting now compared to how much you will have to pay later. Ask yourself if it’s worth it.

Unless you have a golden ticket or a parent who pay all your bills, you need to get serious about spending habits. Avoid using a credit card unless it is for an emergency situation or an unavoidable legitimate expense. A legitimate expense means paying for repair of a flat tire; it doesn’t mean paying for gas for a weekend party. When you do use the card, try to pay off the balance each month.

If you have a problem using your credit card for impulse buying, force yourself to be patient. If you can’t resist using the plastic, try this idea:

Find a plastic container that holds at least 8 ounces of liquid. Fill it half full of water. Place your credit card in the container. Set the container in your freezer for an hour. Take out the container and add water until it’s about an inch from the top. Place it in the freezer. Now you still have a credit card you can use if needed but you’ll think about it while you’re unthawing the ice to get to your card.

You might not need to try such a drastic measure but you are the only one who can decide what is worth accumulating credit card debt while you are in college. Just remember, you are the only who is responsible to pay it.

Racking up college credit card debt goes far beyond worrying about how to make a monthly payment. Interest rates and minimum payments can make that debt a nightmare for years and years.

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