Going to college is the first real step toward adulthood. New responsibilities are going to come your way that your parents previously took care of for you. One of those really big responsibilities is money. When handled well it can flourish and give you a sense of security and power. When handled poorly, money will emotionally imprison you and skyrocket your stress level higher than any final exam.
All of a sudden, every credit card company is mailing you offers. This is a golden opportunity to up your credit score and get free stuff, or crash and burn into credit card debt hell. Good news though, staying on the happy side of credit cards is pretty easy. First, do some internet research. There are tons of website out there that allow you to compare credit card offers to see which one is the best, and which one really rips you off with stupidly high interest rates. Once you’ve decided on a card, be the company’s worst nightmare and pay it off every month in full. This means that the company is potentially not making a dime off of you if you aren’t paying an annual fee to use it. Also, get a card that offers rewards or cash back. You just might get a free purse or shoes out of it all while you build good credit.
Watch Your Credit Score
Credit cards aren’t the only things that affect your credit score. Pretty much any time you borrow money or owe money you have the opportunity to build credit score. That includes student loans, credit cards, utility bills, and car payments to name just a few. Late payments or worse, missed payments can really damaging for you, for up to seven years! Stay on top of your payments. If you are ever late, all it takes is a 10 minute phone call to whatever company asking them to give you a break to pay it immediately.
This is a boring topic that pretty much everyone hates to address, but oh, the power of knowledge. Using Excel and putting a simple monthly budget together is quick and easy. Online banking and credit card statements makes tracking your spending even easier. You can always look at your past few days of activity and plug it into Excel to see where you stand for the rest of the month. As you get used to tracking your spending, you’ll see where your money is actually disappearing to. Can’t believe that you spend $200 on alcohol last month? Who wants the calories anyway? Cut down and watch your waist line get trim and your bank account get fat.