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Math professor offers five pointers to help students manage money this holiday season

“Only purchase those items you can pay in full when you receive the credit card bill”

Published Dec. 01, 2009

James Kassar, B.A., M.S., P.D.

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, Jim Kassar, coordinator of Lynn's mathematics department and assistant math professor, created a top-5 list of pointers to help students manage their money – and their credit – this holiday season.

  1. Only purchase those items you can pay in full when you receive your credit card bill.
  2. Keep track of your credit card balance by checking your account online for two reasons:
    • to know exactly how much you owe.
    • to see if any fraudulent purchases have been made to your account.
  3. Do not use convenience checks the credit card company sends you.
  4. Use your credit card for large purchases such as electronics and travel. This way, you'll be protected from merchants who might not stand behind their products or services.
  5. Only purchase those items you can pay in full when you receive your credit card bill.

"I felt it was important to reiterate the first pointer," said Kassar, explaining why he bookends the list with the same advice. "It is really the most important thing students should know when using a credit card – especially when bills pile up during the holidays. They need to understand the difference between good and bad debt."

In class, Kassar and his students often look at credit – what he calls "one of the most important things in their lives." In a recent Sun-Sentinel article, Humberto Cruz wrote, "...credit cards are a way to freedom."

"Liken that freedom to running wild and having a great time," said Kassar. "Then when the bill comes, you lose your freedom and are in credit card prison."