UPDATE: 12/30/11: …I just closed out a chat window with an INCREDIBLY aggressive, yet well-informed bank chat assistant. I was thisclose to applying for a credit card I had NO intention of researching/ using, and in a fit of clarity (okay, self-induced panic), I X’d out of the chat, and exhaled.
Over-dramatic? Yes. Necessary? Methinks so.
For about a year now, I have been contemplating opening a credit card, establishing credit, etc. Then I always remember, I’m a full-time student with (only) $3,000 in student loans, no long-term employment, and I do psych studies on and off campus to make extra cash. Credit just isn’t in my near future. Or perhaps it is. So, this year’s end finds me scouring the internet for “Credit 101” books, articles, and glossaries, trying to educate myself on the in’s and out’s of credit cards and financial responsibility. My God. I understand. It’s tantalizing. Free money. Freee moooney…”you’re telling me I can buy AAAANNythiIiing?? *fall and drool*” And that’s where the trouble comes. It all seems so swell and fancy-free, until that APR becomes more than some double-digit percentage tacked on to an advertisement, and it’s real, it wants to be collected, and it WILL NOT BE IGNOOOOOOOOOORED.
Anyway, I’m trying to understand my options, how to go about being a careful steward of money, and remember that all that glitters is not gold.
Pricele$$ Advice, courtesy of my research:
- “Your source of income can be a part-time job making just $300 a week, but the credit card company has to decide that your income is enough for the credit limit you’re given.” –About.com
- “If you’ve been responsible with a checking or savings account, you can try applying for a credit card at your bank.” –About.com
Start out slowly. Make small charges on your credit card and pay the balance in full each month. The goal isn’t to use your credit card to buy things you don’t have the cash for, but to begin building a good credit history.
Anyone have any advice? Cautionary tales? I’ll keep ya’ll updated on this journey.
Workin’ hard for no money,