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Avoiding credit card debt before it starts

As many Tennessee parents may know, college is expensive. Those with sons and daughters away at college can attest that between books, tuition and living expenses, the annual cost of higher education can be astronomical. Even when parents foot most of the bill, college students with a part-time job may be tempted to apply for a credit card to help them with day-to-day expenses such as food, gas and clothing. However, having access to a large amount of credit can cause college students to become less than frugal in their spending, leading to huge credit card debt before they've even graduated.

Credit card debt can affect a person for many years and possibly their entire life. That's why parents need to discuss with their children the consequences of credit card debt and why they need to live within their means. Besides, college is supposed to be a fun and exciting time in a young person's life, not one where they are constantly on edge because they are being harassed by debt collectors.

It's important to set up a budget. Parents should have a meeting to discuss the student's daily and weekly expenses and provide just enough money to cover them. This will teach these young adults to make wise financial decisions. It's fine to have fun, but they need to learn to live within their means.

Many college campuses are full of vendors asking students to sign up for credit cards. Many debt experts advise against signing up for these "deals." Now, most companies require someone to be age 21 or older with proof of income or have a co-signer. Therefore, if parents don't want to be responsible for their child's debt, then they should avoid co-signing anything. For those who are responsible with money, they may want to use a credit card to build credit, but use it wisely.

Source: Canton Rep, "Help your college freshman avoid the credit card debt trap

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