As I go through the process of shopping for my first home, the importance of a good credit score is on the forefront of my mind. I got my first credit card when I was 18 years old. Don’t worry, I didn’t use it to book a flight for spring break or some other activity that a college student lives to regret.
I was terrified to own a credit card because no one I knew personally had one. The only thing that I had heard about credit were the stories my Nigerian parents told me about the financial ruin that descended upon distant relatives who subjected themselves to the clutches of debt. Nonetheless, I wanted to face my fears and see if I could master the art of successfully managing debt.
Before I applied for the card, I had a conversation with my older sister, the most responsible person I knew, to get her opinion on whether or not getting a credit card at the age of 18 was a stupid idea. She did not have a credit card of her own, but she advised me on what she would do if she had one. She said that no matter at what age I got a credit card, I should be okay if I followed the practices that I’m about to discuss. Following the tips that she gave me was one of the best decisions that I ever made. The tips, now modified by my own experiences, are as follows: