October 15, 2020 · Budget, Credit, Savings, Security
As we are all dealing with the disruptions of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, many areas of our society are making efforts to try to get back to what our lives were like before 2020. One key area that is trying to get closer to normal is higher education, as our thousands of U.S. colleges and universities have had to closely manage how to teach students if a classroom is now a potential source of coronavirus infection. Some schools have fully shifted to online, virtual learning, while others have gone back to traditional, in-person, campus classes, and other colleges and universities created a mix of physical classroom and virtual teaching.
For college students on campus, this may be the first time in their lives where they are entirely responsible for managing their finances, and they will be making important decisions on how they handle their money, purchases, and debt.
How we manage money can be influenced by the tools used to manage it, and two of the fundamental financial tools millions of people use are debit and credit cards. Debit and credit cards have some similarities and some very big differences in their features and how they may be used. For college students, these cards may be their primary purchasing tool, and they are a responsibility to be handled maturely and thoughtfully. Before a student decides what type of card they'll depend on, they need to consider the features of both. Below is a brief guide to how these cards function that highlights how they are alike and unique that may be of interest to students of higher education.
Here are a few points to keep in mind when evaluating a credit or debit card:
The features listed above for the two types of cards are only partial; they don’t include every possible feature or benefit available, only a few important ones. With significant differences between each type of card, a potential cardholder must review and decide what features they value most. A few card differences worth highlighting are that the requirements for getting a credit card are more stringent than for a debit card, but the credit card does build up a credit score history. Alternatively, debit cards require budgeting discipline because the payment is immediate; the user always needs to know their balance before making a purchase. Overall, a user's card preference will depend on their needs, financial management style, and spending habits. Some interesting spending card details may be viewed at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) site, where it discusses credit, debit, and charge cards, and it provides useful information on using a credit card.
College bookstores, online retailers, streaming music and other services will offer limited-time or ongoing discounts to college students, both when school begins and throughout the year. These offers usually bombard students via online ads, emails, and, maybe, through the U.S. mail. Usually the student must register with the retailer or service and provide their school email address to get the price deals. Some college bookstores seem to have endless sales, with the types of goods with special prices changing every week; popular categories for special deal pricing often include school-branded clothing or well-known software. These product or service providers promise enticing, seemingly big discounts for students, but are these special prices really a good deal?
Well, these deals might be competitive or superior to prices from other sellers, but—as with college courses—it's a very good idea to do the related homework, and do it thoroughly. So, for college students, here's a little bit of discount deal homework to complete:
For students trying to save money and maximize a budget, taking the time to do the homework on deals is perhaps the best deal they can get.