A College Student's Guide to: Responsible Credit Card Use

Your college years will teach plenty of valuable lessons, but perhaps one of the most important things to learn about is how to protect your financial future. Many college students find themselves in the throes of credit card debt by the time they've graduated, leaving them in debt before they have even ventured out into the real world. It's important to maintain a good credit score so you can buy the important things in life, like a new home, car, or other big-ticket items. If you have a credit card in college, it can be extremely tempting to spend this "free money" on things like clothes, food, and even beer. But too much debt can have a negative effect on your credit that you will feel for years to come. Understanding how credit cards work and how to be responsible with them is the key to avoiding problems in the future.

Today's college students typically already have at least one credit card, which can open the door to careless spending at a young age. Very few pay their balances in full every month, and many end up using the card's cash advance feature to get money to use for a variety of things they otherwise may not have the cash for. Those cash advances carry a significantly higher interest rate than card purchases, pushing the student even further into debt. In fact, some students even end up in bankruptcy or default before they've even graduated. This scenario does not set up a positive building block for a bright financial future.

When it comes to being wise about your credit card debt, there are several things you should and shouldn't do in order to protect yourself. Keep in mind that these do's and don'ts are not the only things you should be mindful of when it comes to debt and spending. These are just a few examples of things that can help you to become a more financially savvy student, so be sure to do your own research as well. Make sure you compare different credit cards, look at your current job situation, and be very aware of your own personal finances when it comes to your credit.