Credit Card DebtIt is hard to deny the fact that most college students are in the position where they must take out student loans in order to attend college. While student loan debt can be minimized it isn’t always avoidable, but credit card debt is.

Avoiding Credit Card Debt

For many college freshmen the bills that roll in monthly for rent and groceries can be a shock. Having lived under their parent’s roof all these years expenses like these come as a surprise. In addition to bills in the mail most college students also find that very first, and very tempting, credit card application. From the thoughts of “just in case of an emergency” to “I’ll pay it back later”, getting into credit card debt in college is a costly mistake. Here is how to avoid it:

Set a budget — college is not the time to ‘keep up with the Jones’ as they say, but to live a frugal and limited lifestyle. Don’t expect to go out for sushi when you can only afford to have Mac n Cheese for dinner. Set a strict budget for your expenses and stick to it, your credit profile and paycheck will thank you after graduation.

Pay in cash — part of responsible budgeting is not spending beyond your limit. An easy way to ensure you stay within your spending limit is to take out cash for your weekly spending allowance. Regardless of what you spend it on, once it’s gone¬† it’s gone for the week.

Skip the event — it is a good idea to set a portion of your budget for fun events and activities, but be realistic. Chances are you can’t afford front row seats at the concert of your favorite band. Opt for lawn seats in the back or skip it altogether. There is plenty of fun to be had without putting a strain on your finances.

Find it used — whether you need new clothes or books for next semester’s classes, go for gently used. ¬†There are tons of websites for resold items at a fraction of the cost of new. Shop resale and repurpose items whenever possible. Be creative and don’t undervalue the savings of finding good condition, used items.

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