They don't teach you "adulting" in school. But lucky for you, I'm here to explain to you the pros and cons of acquiring a credit card. Of course, there comes more responsibility with a credit card, but it also holds a certain amount of respectability and authenticity. I admit, I see my friends that pay with a credit card as having their life more together than I have mine. But the question still holds — do you really need the hassle?


Pros

Theft

If your credit card gets stolen or lost, one phone call to your company can cancel the credit card and erase the identity thief's doings. However, with a debit card, they can just spend your money without any hindrance. A friend of mine had someone take $300 from their debit card, it took weeks to get the money back.

Cash Back and Discounts

For some credit cards, you can earn cash back for things you shop for and for others, you can earn double the cash back during the first year. It comes in handy if you use the listed services a lot — for example, Amazon. You can also get discounts at places like Stop and Shop, Under Armour or Ulta just to list a few. But be careful — just because you get a discount, doesn't mean it's not money spent.

Monthly Subscriptions

If you subscribe to monthly services like me, a credit card comes in handy when maybe you don't have that five dollars you need at the moment. Music apps, subscription boxes and delivery services can all fall under this category. It's also nice because you don't have to worry about it every month and it'll just automatically charge.

Easy to Build Credit

When you're a college student, it's easier to build credit than say, a person buying their first apartment. Little expenses are easier to pay off and deal with in a timely manner and thus better to have while building credit.

Big Purchases

If you're looking to finance a home or a car, lenders will ask to check your credit report. Of course having a bad credit will decrease your chances, but having no credit at all tells them absolutely nothing about the way you handle money. Also, places like UHaul and various hotels won't take debit cards for reservations which can be a problem if you need those services.

Cons

Debt, debt and more debt

It is literally so easy to swipe a tiny plastic card — trust me. It's easier than anything in the world, especially when your credit limit is much higher than what you have in the bank. Without thought, you can rack up an unspeakable amount of debt in just a few months. And if you're an impulse shopper like me, this can be a huge problem.

Ruining Your Credit

It's also very easy to ruin a credit that you've spent some time building up. When you miss a payment or when someone pulls your credit, it will decrease and harm you in the future. If you're a college student without a stable hourly job, this can really hurt you.

Inactivity

Having a credit card and not using it is actually more harmful than not having one. Credit card companies track your usage and you can actually accrue fees if you don't use it. Basically, if you remain inactive, you'll be spending money on nothing.

So, taking these things into mind, you decide: is it worth it to take on these hassles? Is having a credit card just a made up step in the road to adulthood?

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I thought I had a pretty good handle on my finances out of school. I worked several jobs while attending university and had little to no problem managing my income. However, once I graduated, I realized how much more complicated personal accounting could really be.

There were so many variables I needed to keep track of. Biweekly bills, monthly charges, and general necessities amounted to a heap of confusing numbers that were often impossible to decipher. The funniest part was that I was actually trying to do this by hand (I don't know what I was trying to prove to myself, either).

After messing up for the 17th time, I decided to give Microsoft Excel a shot. I used Excel a bit in school and I knew all the big-wig finance people used it, so what could I possibly have to lose? The answer is about six hours of my precious time. Excel isn't much of an improvement over handwriting and it's still dependent on the user to manually input all of the information. It's like doing everything by hand with the slightest help, meaning that it still required a tremendous amount of time and concentration. Well that was all for nothing, I guess.

It's sort of funny. I was certain that I could manage my personal finances with ease, when it's practically a full-time job. I was already stressed out enough with my first job and I knew I didn't have enough time to give my finances the attention it deserved.

That's why I decided to try out a budgeting app. My best friend told me that he uses an app called Truebill to manage his finances. "What does it even mean to manage your finances?" I asked him. He told me that Truebill was the personal financial assistant I wished I could have. It could aggregate all of my account information into one place and give me specific insights and actions.

I loved the idea of having full control over my finances, especially during a time of financial uncertainty, and I realized that Truebill would be the easiest way to accomplish this. The user interface is incredibly simple and intuitive, so it doesn't even feel like a finance app! Truebill offers a multitude of features, with their most popular being the ability to cancel subscriptions with the press of a button.

Okay, I had no idea how many subscriptions I was still subscribed to. In fact, I wasn't even using a quarter of the subscription services I was signed up for. Subscription boxes, streaming services, my old gym, and even an old subscription to my favorite magazine--it was all there and I was livid. How could I let myself waste all of this money and how did I never catch this? Thank goodness for Truebill.

Truebill also offers bill negotiations. There is a 40% fee based on how much you save and Truebill even claims that there is an 85% chance that they'll be able to lower your bill once a negotiation is requested. Why wouldn't I take them up on this? There was zero risk and I would only have to pay once my bill was lowered (which means that I would be saving money regardless).

More standard features of Truebill include the ability to generate a credit report on-demand and even request a pay advance. I only used the pay advance feature once when I wanted to buy a gift for my mom, but didn't have enough cash in hand and Truebill automatically reimbursed itself when I got my next paycheck.

The credit report is another fantastic feature and practically taught me what good credit meant. Truebill's credit report basically shows you which financial decisions have the most significant impact on your credit score and ways that you can improve your credit month-over-month. I've never had such control over my credit and it feels good.

I'll be the first to admit that I was extremely naive coming out of school. I figured that as long as I was attentive, I could manage my finances with ease. We manage money to some extent throughout our entire lives, but once you're thrown out on your own, it's a completely different story. With Truebill, I've finally been able to take control over my finances and stay on top of all of my responsibilities.

Update: Our friends at Truebill are extending a special offer to our readers! Follow this link to sign-up for Truebill.