March 18 2010|12.45 PM UTC

Angelica Nierras

Spring Break: Top Ways to Protect Yourself (Financially)

Category: Personal FinanceTags: , ,

Spring Break 2010

As this nifty infographic from Online Schools reminds us, the season of sex, alcohol, and bad decisions is rapidly upon us. All of that fun and sun soaked up during spring break costs a pretty penny, however. Between Florida and Texas alone, students spend an estimated $1 billion. College students on average spend $1100 a week on spring break — and less than half of that goes to lodging and transportation. We’ve compiled a list of the top ways for students to protect themselves financially on spring break so that they stay within budget and stay immune to any scams.

Top Ways to Protect Yourself on Spring Break

1. Don’t keep your bar tab open.

An open bar tab is nice and convenient…for freeloaders. If it’s your turn to order a round, do so and then close out your tab. This prevents unscrupulous freeloaders, or even just booze-happy friends, from putting their drinks on your tab. It’s also easier for you to see a busy bartender’s accidental overcharge when you’re paying for just one or two drinks, rather than the whole night’s worth.

2. Always look at what you sign.

No matter how many screwdrivers you have, never sign on the dotted line without at least glancing at the total. You may be a bit buzzed to recognize overcharges of a couple bucks, but if you had five beers and your receipt says $100, it’s time to talk to the manager. It’s harder to clear up a mistake when your signature indicates you authorized it.

3. Know your credit limits!

Know your alcohol limit? You should know your credit limit, too. Some issuers let card holders have overdraft protection, in which case your card will not be declined when it’s hit the max. Instead, even if you go over your limit by even a measly $5, you’ll be charged an over-the-limit fee of around $40, and you can look forward to a hefty rise in your interest rate. Before you start partying, make sure you have enough credit to draw on.

4. Cash is your friend.

All in all, the easiest way to make sure you stay within your spring break budget is to leave the plastic at home. If you don’t got it, you can’t spend it, right? If you do opt for this approach, however, make sure you do not carry large amounts of cash. While stolen credit cards can always be canceled, stolen cash is gone forever.

Are these tips enough to ensure a financially responsible spring break? We’d love to hear your spring break stories, whether they involve beaches, sunshine, or $5 all you can drink nights in Cabo.

Want the best credit card for your groovy lifestyle? Let BillShrink help you find a credit card to take you through spring break and beyond.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

cipherex March 19, 2010 at 7:25 am

Yes, always look what you sign…..be careful, it happens a lot to pay more than you get.

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