When I got my first credit card, I felt more secure knowing that I had a couple thousand dollars in credit to spend if I needed to. The only problem was I got the card at the discount retail store that I was working at. Even worse, my credit allowed me to get the MasterCard version, which basically meant I could use it both in and out of the store.
At first, I wasn't too bad with it. If I spent some money to rack up the points needed to get a 10$ coupon, I would turn around and pay it off. Then it got bad. I started putting money on it that I couldn't pay off. Working at a retail store means you see all of the new merchandise before it even hits the shelves and they always have your size. When I saw the balance racking up, I freaked and decided to cut down on what I bought and put what I wanted on layaway so I could pay it gradually. Problem was, I started using the same credit card to pay the layaway payments!
No matter how many times I slapped myself for doing it, the balance on my credit card got higher and higher and the company gleefully raised my credit line with it. Finally, I was looking at a four digit balance, freaking out.
You see, my grandmother is a banker and she is very strict with me about my spending habits so the fact that I had such a debt was terrifying. It came to a point that I just simply cancelled the card so I could no longer use it. But remember, that large balanced remained. So I began to pay it off, slowly but surely. Another slap in the face though is the high interests rates you pay if you don't pay your balance off monthly. So you're paying for debt that you didn't even rack up. It's all a stern reminder that you should never go crazy with a credit card unless completely necessary.
So my advice would be don't get a credit card at your job, especially at a discount retail store where you'll find yourself wanting a lot. If you want anymore incentive, remember the interests rates for said credit card. Some cards have interests rates that are HUGE. So that balance will feel like a mountain you can't climb since half of your payments will be towards interest and not the actual balance.
That's how those credit card companies make their money.
It's easy to get stupid with a credit card but when you become a college student, looking to get her Bachelor's degree (like me) and begging anyone that will listen for grants, loans, and scholarships, the effects of that high credit card balance is real. It makes you look unreliable and irresponsible because your credit score is pitiful. The credit score is an easily wounded number but it's hard as **** to pick it up again.
So keep that in mind when you swipe that piece of plastic.