They’re everywhere you don’t want to be: Credit cards are unnecessary for students and only lead to debt

Whatever happened to not spending money you don’t have?

Credit cards are an unnecessary evil for college students. Really, when does a student actually need a credit card?

Some say they need it for emergencies or life’s necessities, such as food, gas and textbooks.

The truth is that there are many ways to get around using credit cards. It takes time to figure out how to live without them, but it is possible.

Still, some students don’t want to make that effort and will find any excuse to rationalize establishing and abusing a line of credit.

My excuse was gas.

When I told my mother that I was getting a credit card, she was concerned I would get in over my head. I assured her that I would only use it for gas and maybe a schoolbook or two.

My mom wasn’t convinced that I could handle the responsibility, but it was my decision to make.

Unfortunately, it turned out that she was right.

Gas got surprisingly expensive, and I needed more school supplies than expected. Still, these were necessities, and I figured I would be able to pay it off later.

Then there was that cute top at Nordstrom I just couldn’t resist.

Then Christmas was coming, and I had to buy presents. I still didn’t worry, though-I could definitely pay it all off later.

Then the girls wanted to go somewhere for Spring Break.

Then I was hungry and wanted to go out to dinner.

The list went on and on, until one day a fat envelope came in the mail.

So I opened the envelope and-surprise! It’s my bill, and it brought its magical friend: interest.

Suddenly that cute little top is costing me an extra $15, and I’m wondering: Is there anyway I could have handled this differently?

I’ve realized that I didn’t really need the gas or even the books. Like every other person who attends the U, I have a UTA pass. I just didn’t take advantage of it because I was lazy.

Also, if you let professors know that you’re having financial trouble, they’ll usually put a copy of the required course materials on reserve at the library.

It is hard to pay off credit-card debt. The interest never stops accumulating.

When it comes to debt, it’s always two steps forward and one step back. Luckily, if you work hard there is a light at the end of the debt tunnel: financial freedom.

Students need to be careful with their finances. Utah has the worst bankruptcy rate in the nation, and 39 percent of college students with credit cards will graduate with unmanageable levels of debt.

That puts everyone on this campus at high-risk status-so before you run out and apply for your next Visa, decide whether you really need it or just really want it.

If you feel like you need a credit card, get one. People will never understand the reality of debt unless they experience it on their own.

But if you’re smart, you’ll steer clear of deceptive credit-card companies until you really do need a credit card-after college, when you need to establish credit to buy a house or car that you can actually afford to pay for with your own money.

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