It will come as no surprise to you -- the economy is not at its best. Sadly, college students, unless they are in an extremely envious positionâ€”filthy rich parentsâ€”are at the bottom of the economic food chain. Often students have to wait tables, clerk in bookstores or ice cream joints just to make ends meet. Sometimes they are left with huge student loans that further tax their ability to join the yuppie crowd.
Understanding the basics of budgeting and the secrets to building credit stability for the future could help beleaguered students triumph over economically trying times. Budgeting simply means calculating (sometimes estimating) your likely expenses and determining how they will be paid. The important point to remember is to have a realistic plan. It can be as basic as a sheet of paper with expenses on one side and income on the other. Those of you who are techie and cognitive will want to have an elaborate computer spreadsheet with all sorts of groovy bells and whistles. For you folks who are not into Microsoft Excel, the results will be the same. Financial survival is born of adherence and consistency not spreadsheet sophistication.
Don't worry, experience is a great teacher. Yes, your original budget may be overly optimistic. Time and the bounced check (or debit card) syndrome will correct all miscalculations in a timely manner. However, let's skip that stage of the learning curve. You may want to ask a recent college graduate to help you with your estimated expenses. Even snacks, ATM machines, haircuts and lattes cost money.
OK, you are well on your way to a budget. Now, perhaps you are ready to look at student credit cards. They can be quite helpful in a number of ways. Establishing credit in your name is the beginning of your credit record. Friends will come and go, but your repayment history will faithfully follow you for a very long time. When it comes time for you to rent an apartment, buy a car, get a job or buy a house it will be there speaking for you.
Student Credit cards
Credit cards are not created equal. You may wish to begin your college career by doing some hefty homework on the comparative perks of each student credit card. To be helpful, I will discuss the merits of three major student credit cards with you. Bonus points are good. Most credit cards offer bonus points when you use your card for approved expenditures (or everything with some cards). Depending on the card, points can be used as cash back, to buy merchandise or other offers. The Discover student Card-Clear offers a 5% "Cashback bonus" on "Get More" purchases throughout the year. They also offer 1% cash back on all other purchases. Their special introductory interest rates and "easiest on-line account management" are also attractive.
Let's Compare Discover Student Card-Clear, Capital Standard Platinum Student Card and Citi Platinum Select Card for College Students.
|Card Name||Introductory offers||Bonus Points||APR||Annual Fee|
|Discover® Student Card - Clear||0% 6 months||1% Cashback Bonus||16.99% *||$0.00|
|Capital One® Standard Platinum Student Card||0% 6 months||Savings on Yahoo Shopping||19.55% *||$0.00|
|Citi® Platinum Select Card for College Students||0% 6 months||None listed||12.99% *||$0.00|
* - APR may vary check terms and conditions of the card before you apply.
As you can see, the cards are comparable. However, notice that the APR is currently less with Citi credit card. However, they do not offer a bonus point plan with this particular plan. If you never carry over a balance the interest rate is of little interest. If you do, the interest rate grows in importance. The Citi student card has a faithful watchdog that protects your account from malcontents; this coverage is called 0 Fraud Liability. The Capital One card has similar coverage. Fraud protection is a significant perk, considering the rising incidence of credit card and identity theft.
Compare student credit cards and if you find one you cannot live without. Please apply on-line with complete confidence. We value your security!
Oh, one more hint for you. Numerous grants are available for college bound students. Take a look and see if one fits your circumstance. Grants do not have to be repaid! Enough saidâ€¦