1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar
 
 
 
The National College Magazine
 
Current Issue
Select Previous Issues
Summer 2010
U Magazine
Spring 2010
U Magazine
Winter 2009
U Magazine
Fall 2009
U Magazine
Spring 2009
U Magazine
20th Anniversary Issue
U Magazine
Summer 2008
U Magazine
Spring 2008
U Magazine
Winter 2007
U Magazine
Fall 2007
U Magazine
Summer 2007
U Magazine
Spring 2007
U Magazine
Winter 2006
U Magazine
Fall 2006
U Magazine
Summer 2006
U Magazine
Spring 2006
U Magazine
Winter 2005
U Magazine
Fall 2005
U Magazine
Summer 2005
U Magazine
Spring 2005
U Magazine
Winter 2004
U Magazine
Fall 2004
U Magazine
Spring 2004
U Magazine
Winter 2003
Fall 2003
Spring 2003

U.Mag's Top 25 Articles
From wacky college stories to celebrity interviews, these are our favorite U. articles of all time.
Features
Binge Drinking: A College National Pastime?
Body Image: Taken Too Seriously?
Crime on Campuses
Campus Clips
Admissions Without SAT
Is Your School Cool?
Master's Degree: Worth It?
Tech Talk
Student CEO's
Digital Plagiarism
Turn Off Your Cell Phone!
Online Exclusives
Backpack Europe
Find advice before you go.
1-800 Database
Full of dial-up help.
Arts & Entertainment
NC-17: It Ain't Right!
Dr. Drew On the Web
Dixie Chicks Set To Fly
Cooking w/ Chef Rossi
One Pot Suppers
Pasta Bada-Bing!
Cocktail Hour Munchies
Health & Nutrition
Brain Food for Finals
Abstinence on Campus
Suicide Gene?
U. Archives
 
Admissions
Find a College or University
Get Help Writing Your Admissions Essay
Financial Aid
Find a Scholarship
 
 
 

Print this article


As a college freshman, you're bound to sign up for at least one credit card just so you can snag the free T-shirt you get with the deal. And you won't be alone – according to Simmons Market Research, some 63 percent of college students are card-carrying members of the "charge it!" set. And that's okay. You need a credit card to make hotel or plane reservations and it sure comes in handy for emergencies, like when your car breaks down or when you're on vacation and your cash gets stolen.

The trick is to plunk down your plastic only to buy things that you have enough money to actually pay for and to pay off your bill in full at the end of each month, instead of being like the 16 percent of students who admit that they pay only the minimum due each month. Otherwise you could end up like Ohio State U.'s Randy Borntrager, a fifth-year senior who now owes more than $4,000 and pumps out major monthly payments.

So forget about English Lit 101 for a minute and take this crash course in Credit Management.

Credit Card Smarts

  • When you make a purchase, subtract the amount immediately from your checking account.
  • Shop for a card with the lowest interest rate.
  • Pay your bills on time or you'll get slapped with a nasty late charge.

Things I Shouldn't Pay For With My Charge Card

  • a car
  • tuition
  • rent
  • car insurance
  • the entire Victoria's Secret catalog
  • bar tabs
  • my other bills
  • 1-900 numbers
  • anything advertised on a 2 a.m. infomercial
  • holiday splurging
  • anthing that says "for a limited time only"

Sara Lyle, U. of Florida, contributed to this story.

Return to Table of Contents

Print this article