Sticking to a budget; avoiding credit card crises in college

January 2007 calendar, During the excitement of the holiday season, many people overspend. Bring this and other debt uder control often seems like a daunting task. IFAS Extension family economics programs are helping people regain control of their finances by providing money management tips for reducing debt. UF/IFAS Photo by: Thomas Wright.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — You’re heading to college for the first time or returning to campus, and you decide with your parents to get a credit card in your name. A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences financial expert says you can use credit wisely by sticking to a few key points.

The two biggest mistakes college students make with credit cards are taking on too much debt and failing to make payments even if your credit card bill comes with a low amount due, said Michael Gutter, associate professor of family financial planning and associate dean for UF/IFAS Extension.

Here are some of Gutter’s top tips for college students trying to stay financially savvy:

  • Set a budget and communicate with your family so you can avoid pitfalls others might see. Communicating with your parents before buying items on a credit card, is key. “Research shows youth who had greater discussions about their personal finances were less likely to engage in risky credit behavior,” Gutter said. “In addition, maintain a budget. Stay organized and be willing to ask for help or advice before it gets out of hand.”
  • If you’re going to use credit cards, make sure you are growing your positive credit history and continue consulting with your parents.
  • Avoid credit cards altogether, or get cards with low spending limits or limited use. Then, set rules such as only charging what you could otherwise pay for in cash.

You can get more good information from your county’s UF/IFAS Extension office,, or by going to the National Endowment for Financial Education,


By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303,

Source: Michael Gutter, 352-273-3529,



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Posted: August 11, 2016

Category: Agriculture, Money Matters, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension, Work & Life
Tags: Michael Gutter

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