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Subject:  Re: Credit Card for College Freshman Date:  5/29/2007  7:48 AM
Author:  yddeyma Number:  253733 of 308687

I graduated in 2004. When I first went off to college, I already had a checking account and Mom opened a card just for me and her. It was an emergencies only card. We were both users on the card. If something came up where I legitimately needed money (Mom, the car needs an oil chnage) then I used it and she would pay it off in full. My day to day expenses were paid out of my own checking account. My parents would deposit $300/month and I used it as I saw fit (mostly on food and gas).

My junior year I moved off campus. My parents upped my monthly allowance to $800/month (the $500 came from what campus housing HAD been costing them). This paid for rent, utilities, etc. And I got my own card, a Discover student card with a $500 limit. I started paying for all my own expenses (including things like oil changes), and if my monthly allowance didn't cover it I'd pull some out of savings from my summers' earnings.

This system really worked well for us. The big help was the fact that my parents had access to my checking account. So if I really needed money, they could put some in for me.

I'm not sure how much you planned on giving him (I know some families expect their kids' to pay for their own expenses in college). But I recommend that whatever you choose, do it on a monthly basis so that he gets used to budgeting.

My first roommate's parents were the polar opposite of mine. They signed her up for big meal plan and told her that she didn't need extra spending money since food, tuition, housing, and books were taken care of. That's true, but my parents were actually spending less on me because campus food was expensive (it was cafeteria style, $8/meal no matter what or when you ate). But it worked for her.
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