College student credit cards can become both a blessing and a curse. They are a wondeful financial resource for high school grads just starting out on their own, but they are also a temptation that some students just can’t resist. If you want to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes so many other students have made with college student credit cards, follow these five tips.

1. It’s Not a Loan

When you become the recipient of college student credit cards, don’t look at it like a loan. Never charge more than you can pay off at the end of the month (unless it’s an emergency) and definitely don’t look at it like a license to go on a shopping spree.

The purchases you make with your student credit cards will add up quickly — more quickly than you may realize. If you bite off more than you can chew, you may find yourself in financial trouble before your financial future even gets started.

2. They’re Not for Sharing

So you have one or two college student credit cards and your best friend doesn’t have any. Real friends share, right?

Wrong!

Never share your college student credit cards unless you’re willing to be responsible for paying for the purchases your friends make. Nothing can break up a friendship faster than fights over finances.

Do yourself a favor and keep your college student credit cards in your own wallet.

3. Mommy and Daddy Are Not An Out

Don’t be tempted to get in over your head with your college student credit cards because you think mom and dad will be there to bail you out if you run into trouble. College student credit cards are the first step into your adult financial future. Mom and dad have nothing to do with it.

4. Do Not Charge School Expenses

You may be tempted to use your college student credit cards to pay for school tuition or books. Don’t do it. That’s what student loans are for. College student credit cards carry a higher interest rate than student loans, so if you use them for education expenses, you’re throwing away money.

5. The Due Date Is Not a Guideline

When you start using your college student credit cards, realize how important the terms and conditions are. Make sure your payment will reach the bank well before the due date (the due date is not a guideline, it’s written in stone) and don’t go over your limit.

If you default on your credit card’s terms and conditions, you’re going to be hit with ugly fees and your interest rate is going to take a hike skyward. Manage your college student credit cards wisely and respect the responsibilities you have been given.

It’s true — college student credit cards can be overwhelming. Don’t let it scare you. By keeping the above tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to managing your college student credit cards responsibly and building a respectable credit history.