By: Celina Mahabir
From a young age, we’re taught about the importance of money. Many of us, at some point, were given a jar cleverly designed in the shape of a pig to deposit the loose change we’d get from our parents. It was crucial to hide away birthday money and Christmas gifts to save it for a rainy day, at least. Of course, none of us expected the rainy day to be a Category 5 hurricane, complete with storms of financial aid and high-force winds of college tuition. And then comes the aftermath: that credit card statement at the end of the month that has you questioning why on earth you thought it was a good idea to buy Chipotle twice a day for three weeks straight. That aside, it’s still important to acknowledge that college students should have a credit card for their own benefit.
Despite parents’ tendencies to throw in an “I told you so!” at the end of our life lessons, college students are fully capable of handling a credit card of their own. We have the ability to juggle so many other responsibilities: classes, driving and part-time jobs. Credit cards are only one aspect of our transition into adulthood. This doesn’t imply that you need a wallet filled with credit cards, but rather just one card that can help us better understand money management and create a sense of caution when it comes to spending.
Credit cards are a huge plus versus relying solely on a debit card and cash. Sometimes you may be out of money – whether it’s an emergency or you just really want a new pair of shoes – and a credit card is the perfect solution. I’ve learned that swiping carelessly comes with a price of its own. Having a credit card handy replaces the anxiety of wondering if there’s enough money left in your bank account at the end of the day.
Furthermore, keeping credit cards builds your credit score. As unimportant as it may seem to us right now, it’ll definitely come in handy when purchasing a car, renting an apartment, getting life insurance and so on. A credit card symbolizes adulthood in a sense, as you come across more mature and prove that you’re capable of financial responsibility.
With that being said, be careful how you spend and swipe wisely. Credit cards come with good and bad, but it’s up to you to determine your own outcome. Think twice on that second bowl of rice, chicken and beans, and look forward to saving for something even better – even if it seems like there’s nothing better at the moment.