When you’re first starting off in life, establishing credit can be a pain. It can be hard to even get a credit card without credit.

UM-Flint student Colin Madsen just moved into his apartment and learned a lesson about credit the hard way.

“They based your security deposit off what your credit score was I don’t have one built up, so I have the max deposit right now,” he explained.

He’s not happy about that, so he went out and got himself a credit card.

“I need to build credit so I don’t have the constant large security deposit for everything,” Madsen said.

He’s only using it for small purchases and then he’s paying them off right away. That’s exactly what financial advisor Jon Gardey of Gardey Financial Advisors in Saginaw Township would suggest.

“That’s how I did it back in the early 80s I was offered a gas credit card and I took that and that’s how it worked out for me,” Gardey said. He says the key is: pay it off immediately, don’t be tempted to put it off until later.

“That’s where people get in trouble, it’s very enticing, ‘oh I’ll just pay off my balance next month, I’ll do next month then I’ll get myself in trouble,’” he said.

He also suggests checking your credit score frequently. That you’ll be in the know about your number and you can keep an eye out for identity thieves.

“If you have any bills you should pay them on time, if you have a phone bill or something like that, it’s not going to help your credit but if you don’t pay it on time it will hurt your credit,” Gardey said.

Not paying your student loans can also negatively impact your credit score, which could mean you’re paying more money for a house or a new car. That’s something Madsen takes seriously.

“Buying anything nowadays, you have to have some kind of credit established,” Madsen said.