Today, the average student who graduates with a bachelor’s degree will have a little over $30,100 in student loan debt (The Institute For College Access and Success). Along with this, the student will also have around $500 in credit card debt. Why might you ask? Well, messages that the young generation are receiving are all circulating around the idea that we need more “things”. This means more: clothes, shoes, cars, phones, game systems, and gadgets. Everyday our senses are overloaded with advertising prompting us to get the new and improved this or the brand new that. It is estimated that we are subjected to 5,000 ads in a single day (SJ Insight 2014). That is 5,000 more things that are fighting for our money and attention. It’s not hard to see that there are an unlimited number of products fighting for our attention which makes making wise financial decisions difficult.
Some things to consider while becoming more independent is the need for a credit card. A credit card is sometimes viewed as a “magic plastic rectangle” that gives us the perception that we can live outside our means. The simplicity of swiping a plastic card and getting whatever we want with “the easy low payment” each month is a lie that we, as a generation, are getting fed daily. The mindset of “buy now and pay later” is a trap that many students fall into and struggle to get out of. Becoming disciplined in the use of a credit card can save you from the burden of financial struggles down the road.
Some guidelines to using a credit card for healthy reasons are quite simple when put into practice. While in college, one might chose to use a credit card for daily purchases in order to build a credit score. Purchasing items like gas or groceries with the credit card can help keep the balance low and manageable to pay off each month.
Dangers appear when one decides to use a credit card to purchase items that they cannot afford. A good way to avoid this is to only purchase items for which you already have the money in your bank. Next time that you are wanting to buy a new TV, computer, game system, phone etc., stop and see if you have the funds right now to buy it. When one does this, then the sudden loss of a job will not hinder you from repaying the borrowed amount.
As a student, we have the opportunity to impact the world greatly in the years to come, but we must first keep ourselves free of avoidable debt. Debt is not a sin, but it is something that will mortgage our future eliminating some of the possible ways God could have worked in our lives. Becoming a wise steward of God’s money will help you be financially smart with your money and break the bondage it can have over your life.
By. “New Research Sheds Light on Daily Ad Exposures.” SJ Insights, LLC. N.p., 12 Oct. 2014. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.
“The Institute For College Access and Success.” State by State Data | The Institute For College Access and Success. Peterson’s, 2016. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.