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CLICK HERE TO WATCH PART 3: http://www.mtv.ca/degrassi/dress-you-up-3.jhtml

In Part 3, Maya hates her job and the amount of hours she’s going to need to work to buy the dress of her dreams, so she goes and buys it with her emergency credit card.

Degrassi and RBC bring up the discussion question:

Do you think having a credit card is a good idea?

I’m 30, and have only owned a credit card for a couple of years.  We’ve all heard the horror stories of people who have tens of thousands of dollars worth of credit card debt…those tales terrified me, so I used to be one of those people who vowed they’d never own a credit card.  The first ever credit card I was offered was in college, 10 years ago.  I promptly cut the card up and threw it away.

Now I own two: a store card and a regular one.  I’ve never gone into out-of-control debt with them.  Right now the balance on both of them combined is a grand total of $0.

Do I think having a credit card is a good idea?  I think it’s a fantastic idea, but only for people who have financial discipline.  It can be a lifesaver in an emergency, or if you’re like me you feel more comfortable making major purchases with it instead of whipping out your debit card.  There’s also various incentives/reward programs for using your card, and it works well as long as you’re in a financial position to promptly pay off your balance.

The temptation to buy things just because you can will pop up out of nowhere, and when it does it’s strong.  Once you receive a card, you will be hounded by credit card offers every week.  However, you have to train yourself to resist because it can quickly transform into a slippery slope.  I have specific rules for how I use mine, and the anxiety I get with having any kind of credit card balance motivates me to pay it off immediately after using it (Do not ever just pay the monthly minimum. Ever.).

Just because you have the ability to buy something doesn’t mean you should.  Is it worth drowning in a sea of debt later to be surrounded by a bunch of nice things now?  To me, financial discipline is more than just avoiding excessive spending with your credit card.  In my family alone I’ve seen the best and worst examples of financial responsibility, and they have shaped my financial outlook today.

I’m neither a financial expert, nor am I someone who has saved every penny since I was a kid.  However, if I could only give people one piece of financial advice, it’s the one I have and will swear by until the day I die: live below your means.

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Posted by Kary

One Comment

  1. Wait, the dress that Maya buys isn’t the one that she’s wearing at the semi-formal for next week’s episode…so what gives?

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