College Connect: Credit cards are evil

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IMG_8108By Lauren Potter 

When I first moved to the U.S. from Australia nine years ago, I was fortunate to land a really great job. For my age, and given that I had no higher education at the time, I was making a lot of money. In fact, I really didn’t know what to do with it all. I had cash stuff in the pockets of purses, on my bedside table, in the glove compartment of my car. Well, it wasn’t exactly “overflowing,” but I certainly had an abundance of excess cash and wasn’t putting it toward anything useful. 

I began to establish some credit history after purchasing a car with the help of my grandfather who co-signed for me. And before I knew it, I was receiving credit card offers left and right. I’ll never forget my first credit card: Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” was the image on the front, and somehow, it made spending money seem even MORE enjoyable. I felt so “cool” and “grown up” to be making my purchases with a credit card. 

But let me tell you a little secret from firsthand experience: Credit cards are evil because they encourage you to spend money you don’t have.

And if you’re one of those people who are easily tempted by the latest and greatest gadgets, or you have an obsession with shoes, don’t do it. Don’t get a credit card. Okay, maybe one to establish a credit history. And only one… with a credit limit of $500. That way you know there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel if lose your job when the economy tanks (like I did) and have a hard time making payments.

I promise that the stress and anxiety from incessant “collections” phone calls is not worth the temporary sense of enjoyment you may gain from buying something you probably can’t afford with money you don’t really have.

Lauren Potter is a student at Arizona State University 

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