I had a credit card all through college and didn't pay a penny in finance charges. If I bought something, I paid the balance in full before the interest hit. I was good at being good; I was establishing credit history without falling for 'the trap.'
This was back in the late 80's, early 90's. Then, as now but it seemed more normal, I had no money. I didn't eat out unless it was a taco shop, and my entertainment budget was limited to Mickey's forty's and games of pool in the living room. And I remember pretty clearly the day before we were to move out of our house in Del Mar for the summer. Quick back story, we lived in wood shack directly on the sand between 18th and 19th in Del Mar, CA. The owners rented out their ramshackle 5 bedroom, 1 garage with 3 people in it, to us college students during the school year for something like $2,000 per month, and we packed at least 9 people in there. In the summer they kicked us out so they could collect that amount every week. It wasn't a bad deal or anything, we knew it was coming before we even moved in every September.
So this last year we haven't really lined up any place to move to, we're all trying to pretend we're ready for finals, and the move-out date is speeding toward us faster than we care to realize. In the eleventh hour we just decide we'll pack the 40" truck and figure it all out later. Curt and I drive to Alberto's at midnight for several orders of "Chips con Todo" and 2 cases of Budweiser. At a tick before the final buzzer we find a great place across the street from the cliffs of Downtown La Jolla. Now we just need $3,000. Did I mention that we were college students?
So I cash advance the 3 grand on my pristine credit card and after we've moved in everyone pays me back in cash their portion. At this time I don't have a job for the summer, I've just graduated from college, and now I'm living walking distance from one of the most beautiful beaches on Earth.
Well...I didn't work all summer, just lived off the $3,000 in cash, read The Brothers Karamazov, hung out in coffee houses, surfed any time there was a hint of a swell, snorkeled and swam in the ocean constantly, and somehow never missed a party. And If I could do it all over? I'd pay twice that for half as much.