Plastic is evil. Not only does plastic litter the world, but it also allows people to spend money they don’t have. Due to the current economy Americans are in debt, and while credit cards are the only means of survival for some, they are a nuisance to others.

Shopping sprees start as soon as credit has been approved and the card has been issued. A new pair of shoes, some cool shades and a few trips to the all-you-can-eat buffet compile into a sum beyond the average college student’s budget. The minimum payment is made, and provides enough to pay the current month’s financial fees. This pattern continues and the selected credit card continues to be fed with charges until the maximum credit line is met. Then a new credit line is started and the same routine picks up.

Piling debt is frustrating, though financial problems are not the fault of credit cards. The spenders are at their own fault. For college students, an easy solution is to budget spending.

Setting a budget and sticking with it is easier said than done. Money is needed for the necessities, such as food and school supplies. Then there is also gas for the car and of course a little spending money, just for fun. But a little fun tends to turn into a lot of fun and the budget is pushed to the side for a week or two and the bank runs dry before the next pay date. Credit cards are left as the only option, along with the occasional cell phone pleas to parental figures for pocket change.

The circle of debt continues. If only the worn-out saying were true: “if money only grew on trees.” Or maybe children should be born with the money and budgeting knowledge. World hunger would be solved. If only.

If only young adults were not bull-headed they would listen to their parents’ warnings about credit card debt. Then again, credit cards are not the only reason for debt. Student loans tend to stack upon one another for four years following high school graduation. They’re easy to pay off after college, because a higher education results in a professional future along with gold, diamonds and trading currency called cash.

As a reality check, the only gold and diamonds in the distant future for undergraduates is an engagement ring, and that is only for the selected few who are able to celebrate Valentine’s Day. In other words, student loans will be tagging along into the future, right along with the car payment and eventual house payment.

This is why it is important to consider money and only spend money that can be accounted for. Student loans can be overwhelming or bearable, depending on proper planning. Applying for every possible scholarship will help, along with a part-time job and a savings account.

Money is not fun to work with, and most certainly will not blow away in a consumer-driven society. Learn to manage with what is given. Setting sail into the financial world is not easy, but is manageable.

Set a budget. Work with it. Use plastic with caution.