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Y’all, I’m going to start off this post with some advice: DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT GET A CREDIT CARD. And definitely DO NOT get three. I should have listed to my momma Y’all. She tried to warn me and I was like “I can handle it! I won’t get into debt!” Big surprise, Y’all, I ended up in debt. $6,000 worth of credit card debt. Credit cards are bad news guys. B-A-D news!
You Think You Can Handle It? Think Again
I thought I was doing so good with my one card, I was paying it off in full every month, and then I got approved for a second one, and then a third. Next thing I knew, I was moving with my sister halfway across the country and it was just so convenient to use my credit cards until I got a new job. Then after I got sick of California (a month Y’all, I was in California for a month) I moved back to the south. Basically what I’m saying is that even if you start off doing great with a credit card; the temptation and convenience of a credit card and always changing circumstances equals a whole lotta debt. It’s the interest that gets ya.
Building credit is important though
Credit is vital to everyday life; it can affect where you live, what you drive, if you get a job or not. I think a lot of people my age believe that the only way to build credit is to open a credit card. Sure, you can build credit with a credit card, but you can just as easily tank your credit too. Believe it or not, there are other ways to build your credit!
- If you have a parent that is good with credit cards, you can have them add you as an authorized user. However, do NOT let them give you the authorized user card. Just make sure that they use it to make a few small purchases and that it’s paid off every month. So basically mooch off of your parents and build credit at the same time.
- A secured installment loan is another option. Basically, you go to the bank or credit union once you have a good bit of money saved up ($500-$2000, just depends on the bank) and you use those savings as collateral. So you’re pretty much borrowing your own money specifically to build credit.
- Similar to the secured installment loan, there’s a fantastic company that I discovered recently called Self Lender. It’s kind of like a reverse secured installment loan. Instead of you having the $500 saved up already, you’re borrowing $500 from them, but you get to keep it in the end! How awesome is that?! I pay $25 a month and after 2 years, not only will my credit score be higher, but I’ll have $500 saved up in a C.D. account.
- There are even some companies that will use your rental history to help you build your credit. I live with family so that does not apply to me, but from my understanding, as long as you pay your rent on time, it’ll be reported on your credit score and help boost your credit.
If you can’t afford it with the money in your checking account, you sure as heck can’t afford it with a credit card!
K.I.S.S. stands for, keep it simple stupid. So let’s blow a K.I.S.S. to credit cards by agreeing that if we can’t afford something with the money in our checking accounts, we surely can’t afford it with a credit card plus interest. It’s as simple as that, Y’all.
Okay, so you goofed up and got in debt? No worries!
If you do find yourself in credit card debt, first of all, DESTROY THOSE CARDS, and second, don’t obsess over it. Just pay as much as you can each month and try to find ways to increase your income to add to it.
Pay down your debts with either the snowball or avalanche method. The snowball method is paying debts from smallest balance to largest balance which can be super motivating but you’ll pay way more interest in the end. Paying debts from highest interest to lowest interest to efficiently save your butt from the massive amount of interest you’ll be paying aka the avalanche method. The avalanche method is the most recommended but do what is right for you.