the nicholls worth

Students need to watch wallets in holiday season

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With Thanksgiving and the holiday season around the corner, it’s time that college students exercise caution when heading to stores on Black Friday to fill stockings and find gifts for loved ones.

College students, who typically do not have jobs, or at least not jobs that can support their shopping and purchasing habits, are notorious for using credit to get the things they want. According to College Parents of America, the average college student owes $3,176 to credit card companies. Of students with credit cards, 82 percent of them carry a balance that incurs financial charges from month to month.

The holiday season is arguably the toughest time of year for college students looking to balance their credit debt with getting the things they want despite not having money to pay for it.

Unfortunately, in our culture of over-consumption and consumerism, it’s difficult to differentiate needed purchases from wanted purchases. It’s also difficult to convince ourselves that we don’t need or deserve the things that we want.

For credit card companies and commercial businesses alike, college students are a source of steady income. We have to “keep up with the Joneses” and make sure that we have the latest and greatest of anything and everything. If a new iPhone came out tomorrow, only months after the release of the latest version, there would be people lined up for days to preorder it. We’ve also all seen videos of people running into malls to buy $350 basketball shoes.

As young adults, we need to show some type of financial control with the rising cost of education.

Our culture of consumerism and over-consumption may very well lead to financial downfall in the future. It has already led to scores of college students graduating with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. The very act of going to stores at 4 a.m. in the morning with hundreds of others begs a series of questions.

Does the time committed nullify the $100 you saved on a $1,500 TV? Does piling hundreds of dollars on a credit card cause anxiety over the mountain of debt you’ll be paying for months? Did you or the people you are buying things for actually need that? What is needed?

Deep down, we know the answer to most of these questions is no, but we’ll continue to over-spend because it’s our way of life.

However, when Black Friday rolls around in a couple weeks, take a moment to think about the long term financial implications this shop-‘til-you-drop culture has on college students.

Money is a finite resource which college students do not usually have a lot of where the end of one semester and the beginning the next comes together. It would be wise to remember to watch your pennies a little more closely this holiday season. You won’t be showing your loved ones the price tag on their gifts, so buying the $100 version of a $10 item is not necessary. Save yourself the future headache of massive debt.

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The student newspaper of Nicholls State University
Students need to watch wallets in holiday season