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The Ten Rules of Credit Cards

Getting a credit card is a big deal for people our age. It is important to have one for multiple reasons. We need to build up our credit score (in a good way), and credit cards also help us figure out if we can handle responsibility. For girls especially, it gives us a sense of freedom to buy almost anything we please. But we all know that is not the case. You can buy anything you’d like, but not without consequence. I have complied together a list of rules, or “commandments,” if you will, to help educate us on those little plastic cards. These will help guide us on how to properly own a credit card without ending up in a huge pile of debt.

Thou Shalt Know the Power of a Credit Card
As much as I wish this happened, there is no alarm that goes off as we swipe saying “Hey, that’s unnecessary!” A credit card allows us to buy any item at any quantity. Well, as long as you do not go over your spending limit. It’s so ideal to understand what is a good buy as opposed to something that looks cool and handy at the time.

Thou Shalt Leave it Home Sometimes
This will help you control yourself and keep from overspending. If you have a debit card as well as a credit card, choose to bring your debit card instead at times. You can actually see your money coming out of your account instead of the money magically appearing.

Thou Shalt Make a Budget and Stick to It

I have learned that budgeting is very important. I used to have the tendency to spend almost my whole paycheck at the mall, and then I would be stuck with no money for the important things like food and water. Decide what is most important for you to have and set money aside for it. Use your credit card for the items of most importance. That way, it’s important for you to pay the bill.

Thou Shalt Take Advantage of Technology
Most big banks have apps now that make it so much easier to keep up with your account. Having those apps enable you to keep track of your account. Check it once or twice a week in case you forget a payment date or forget your account balance. You can also pay your bills, deposit checks, or transfer money with these apps.

Thou Shalt Not Charge Both Day-to-Day and Unnecessary Expenses
As I said before, know what is important. Yes, I am a girl, so I know those perfect pair of jeans are necessary. Which is why I say it’s ok to give yourself a gift sometimes. But make sure your necessary day-to-day items are taken care of first. Unnecessary items are easy to grab and put in your basket. But think before you buy, and make sure you really need that pair of camouflage socks.

Thou Shalt Not Miss a Credit Card Payment
This is the deadliest of all sins. One missed payment can completely change everything about your card. I know that some card companies never charge you interest if you pay on time, but once you miss, your interest rate rises. Interest rates keep rising and paying your bills on time becomes harder and harder.

Thou Shalt Not Have Too Many Lines
Don’t fall for the temptation of having a Victoria’s Secret VIP Angel Card just yet. Once you have one card you can apply for more. Almost every store has a credit card you can get through them. But before you do that, make sure you can handle your own first. Even though those cards have their own rewards, there is no reward for not paying your fee in time. It is easy to get overwhelmed with credit card freedom, so be careful and stick with one line at first.

Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Friend’s Closet
This doesn’t just apply to clothes, either. Jealousy is a sin, which means it leads to trouble. Do not try to out-style your friend. Try borrowing her clothes. It is easy to want the latest styles; we all have battled this issue for years. Just do not let your easy card take advantage of you.

Thou Shalt Not Cancel
Canceling a credit card doesn’t come without consequence. There is usually some kind of fee or penalty for canceling, so do your best to stick with your responsibility. But, of course, if it is too much for you to handle, go through with the cancelation.

Thou Shalt Get Help When Necessary
Knowing when you need help is always important. Have someone there to help you to make sure you’re doing the right thing. Usually, your personal banker is always there for you to call or visit to ensure you’re on the right track. Never be afraid to ask questions.

 Keegan is a sophomore at UCF majoring in Environmental Studies and is part of the HCUCF team as an editorial writer. Keegan is obsessed with all things Disney and is currently training for a marathon. If she survives, she will attend law school and dedicate her life to making the hospitality industry as environmentally friendly as possible. 
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