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Finances & Money

Avoid the freshman 1,500…Wait, what?

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! 🙂

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Clever Dude


  • Good post – It is amazing how easy it is to rack up the credit card debt. It is so easy to just slide the plastic and worry about it later. I ended up only paying with cash when I wanted to get out of debt. Made a huge difference psychologically.

  • My husband and I finally paid off all of our debt, about 30,000 worth.. which included student loans and a load of crap neither of us have anymore at the beginning of the year… It WAS liberating for sure!!! No monthly payments except normal bills is a very odd but fantastic feeling!

  • Thanks for the nod to my post!

    It sounds like you and I went into similar amounts of CC debt around the same time…you were lucky to have those 0% cards though. The reason I paid so much in interest is because right around my senior year of college my cards got maxed out at and stayed that way through a few years of low-paying jobs. As long as they were maxed out, I couldn’t get lower rate cards and was paying 15-18% interest on about $18k of debt.

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