How to avoid college credit card debt
Decide what you will use your credit for ahead of time.
A credit card is a loan, but too many people don’t even think about what they charge on their cards. Simply charging without a plan is a guaranteed way to end up with too much debt. For example, if you need to use your card for books and supplies, then plan out the cost of these items and work the payments into your monthly budget. Treat the card like any other loan; don’t take on debt without a plan to pay it back.
Avoid charging your living expenses.
Ideally, every student would get a part-time job to pay for living expenses while they were in school. With so many degrees requiring high class loads or internships, however, this isn’t always possible. Keep your living expenses as low as possible throughout school, and you’ll be able to use the money you save during the less stressful times to pay for things when you just have too much classwork.
Pay cash for “extras”.
Schools love to push everything from seasonal football tickets to special foreign travel programs. Charging these items on a credit card, however, can cause your debt to skyrocket. If you can’t pay cash for something that is not a necessity, don’t buy it.
Start debt counseling early.
Too many students make the mistake of assuming that they’ll be able to pay their debts after graduation, then only turn to debt counseling when they can’t pay their bills. By working with a counselor before graduation, however, a person will be able to come up with a plan than will allow them to know where their first paycheck is going before they even get it. People who graduate with a debt management plan are much more likely to be successful at paying off their debt quickly.