David at Money Under 30 has a good post about a surprising number: The Freshman $1,500. He writes about the pitfalls of getting a credit card before you can manage the responsibility of your spending, and the effects of your spending.
I actually waited to get a credit card until I was 20 years old and moved to the main Penn State campus (I went to a satellite campus). My $12,000-15,000 in credit card debt when I left college was in 3 years, not 5! (I changed majors and went an extra year). What in the world did I buy? I know I bought textbooks, a new computer, a few upgrades to that computer, another new computer, a few guitars, and other various items, but I don’t have any of that stuff anymore except for 2 guitars.
However, with all that credit card debt, which started about 9 years ago, I probably only paid about $1,000-$2,000 in interest and balance transfer fees. Why? Because I always had a card with a 0% interest rate.
But now I have 1 month of credit card debt left to pay off of the original $20,000. The total debt ballooned when I bought new furniture after college, and other stuff. It will be liberating. Maybe I’ll go buy a new plasma TV on credit to celebrate! 🙂