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  • Should you get a credit card just because they're giving away free t-shirts?

  • Do you want to get a credit card but aren't sure how to go about researching them?

  • Want to know more about reducing your credit card debt?

  • Did you see something in the CARE Program presentation that you want to investigate further?

Then you've come to the right place!

Video: Balancing Act

Watch the Balancing Act. It's a two-part video produced by Channel One for young adults that warns of the dangers of abusing credit cards.


Maturity is achieved
when a person postpones immediate pleasures for long-term values.

Joshua L. Liebman

We CARE about You!

The goal of our CARE Program is to provide guidance to folks like you who are leaving high school or are already in college to intelligently manage your credit cards and keep from getting into DEEP credit card debt. Our program is designed to teach you how to go about getting a credit card and how to use them wisely.

We want to keep you from ever seeing the inside of the bankruptcy court!


Tips for Reducing Credit Card Debt

10 Top Financial Tips for Avoiding Credit Card Debt (PDF)

Here are some other tips that can help you avoid credit card debt or reduce the amount of credit card debt that you may accumulate:

Tips for Making Large Purchases


  • Whether or not you can actually afford the purchase
  • If it is better to wait and pay in cash
  • How much the purchase will really cost you if you charge it on a credit card


Tips for Establishing Credit

  • Take out a small loan and repay it in a timely manner to establish a good credit record
  • Use a checking account or a debit card
  • Pay bills in full and on time
  • Get one credit card for a gasoline company that you frequently use
    • Use the card only for fuel purchases and not for food or groceries

Tips for
Obtaining a Credit Card

  • Shred any unwanted credit card solicitations that you receive in the mail
  • Get only one credit card for your needs, not wants
  • Resist opening a new credit card account for the enticing “free” gifts
  • “Shop” for a credit card with the best terms that suit you
  • Read and understand the terms in the disclosure
  • Pay close attention to various late fees and penalties
  • Evaluate whether a rewards card is worth the extra fees and costs
  • Consider obtaining a credit card from a credit union (as they may have lower rates) or obtaining other credit products (prepaid cards and secured credit cards)

Tips for
Using a Credit Card

  • Limit credit card use for essential purchases only (needs, not wants)
  • Try to pay the entire amount due each month by the due date
  • Keep track of your credit cards at all times
  • Don't max out on your credit limit
  • Watch card balances to avoid overlimit fees
  • Keep your card balance below 30% of your limit
  • Try to avoid cash advances
  • Don't use a credit card for purchases totaling less than $10

  • Calculate how long it will take to pay off credit cards (visit
  • Make a plan to pay debt and stick to your plan
  • Pay cash, write a check, or use a debit card to limit credit card debt
  • Avoid store charge cards; they encourage you to charge and spend more by making it easy to charge and purchase
  • Pay more than just the minimum payment
  • Ignore offers to skip payments; the interest still accrues
  • Pay your higher-interest rate cards first, but don't miss any payments on any cards
  • Refrain from using one credit card to pay another credit card

Tips for
Managing Your
Credit Card Debt

Tips for
Maintaining Your
Credit Card
  • Monitor the interest rate on your monthly statement
  • Check your monthly statement for charges that you did not make

Tips for Monitoring Your Credit Reports

  • Check your credit reports regularly – Visit for free copies of your credit report
  • Contact the three credit-reporting agencies to correct any inaccurate information or errors



Send Us Your Feedback — We Want to Hear from You!

If you have any comments regarding the CARE presentation or this Web site, send us an E-mail and let us know your thoughts! Your constructive comments will help us improve our presentations for other students or help them to find helpful information.

Send your E-mail comments to Michele McConnell, CARE Program coordinator; the address is:



 Did you miss something at the
CARE Program Presentation?

CARE Program presentation

(1.1 MB in PDF; requires Acrobat Reader)

Credit Abuse Quiz -
Test Your Consumer Knowledge

(with answers)

(in PDF; requires Acrobat Reader)


Useful Resources

Go to the Resources page to read articles about credit cards, credit scores, and financial information.

You'll also find the Web sites mentioned in the CARE presentation.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
For more information about managing personal finances, you may want to read Suze Orman's book:

The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, & Broke

The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, & Broke
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Reviewing the credit quiz at the Crawford Education Complex CARE presentation

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