September 8, 2005 -- Yearly migration back to school
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is packed with common financial mistakes.
Avoid Credit Card Points. Getting something free from a credit card bank is akin to “bringing the house down” in Vegas. The house always wins. Hear about someone gaming the credit card system: its urban myth. In short, avoid points period. Worry about points when you’re charging company expenses your company reimburses you for AFTER you graduate. An IMPOSSIBLY great rebate of 5% still nets you next to zero.
No FREE T-shirts. A $5 ‘block of cheese’ can spring a $1,000 interest trap. Larry Chiang, founder of UCMS, says, “Save a hundred headaches (no make that a thousand) and run from the free t-shirt offers”. http://chronicle.com/free/2000/06/2000060901t.htm
Change the address. If you move, your bills need to follow you.
Don’t Charge Books. Fill out the forms. Petition your lender. Get a bigger student loan… Do whatever you need to do to NOT have your books get charged on YOUR credit card.
Track your credit charges like writing a check. What?!- You don’t track checks... either track credit expenses or be prepared for credit-bill-shock.
Have emergency cash. As a college student, there’s nothing more empowering than have a secret wad of 20s stashed. No don’t put it in your sock drawer. No don’t put it in your wallet. No don’t lend it (unless you do it peer-to-peer lending like at http://www.duck9.com). Stress is when you hover near zero cash.
Churn small - burn small. Inflate your FICO score by charging small amounts on a non-active credit card to build credit for a car loan or a first mortgage. http://www.ucms.com/mortgage-prep.html
Sidestep the “Sophomore Slump”. Sophomores singe through cash quickest. By October, sophomores have been out of cash for two months already.
Ebb while others flow. Cash flows easiest at the beginning of the semester-avoid this impulse. Go against the tide and save. Your cash will better serve you later.
Steal some stamps from your parents (or stock up yourself): the number one reason why a young adult credit card bill is late: lack of availability of a postage stamp that leads to a misplaced bill.
United College Marketing Services (http://www.UCMS.com) is number one in marketing to college students at credit card sponsored credit strategies seminars. UCMS leads the credit industry in proactive credit education
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and has educated millions. It funds Internet resources such as CreditCard.org.
http://www.CreditCard.org is a search engine geared toward credit solutions.