In a previous post, we began a discussion about how college graduates can enter the real world while creating financially wise habits. A college degree is no promise of financial stability. In fact, it very well means that the graduate with her degree has more student loan and credit card debt to pay back than the person next to her who didn’t go to college.

The following are some more financial tips provided by Forbes that are meant to help graduates avoid what can become a life-long trap of excessive credit card debt or other paralyzing debt:

Know and protect your number

Sure, a college degree says a lot about a person and can open doors in life, but a credit score is also something that a person earns that can affect opportunities in life. Maybe you depended on one or more credit cards to get through college. There is nothing inherently wrong with having and using credit card, but that’s only true if the cards are used responsibly. Don’t use graduation as an excuse to either cancel your credit card or to rely more heavily on credit cards. Keep paying bills on time, including the student loans that have now started to haunt you.

Get informed about student loan repayment options

Student loans can be relatively easy to receive. While that part is simple, the repayment process is not always so simple. Graduates should fully understand the student loan debt that they have and the interest rates attached to that debt. If there is a reason why a student can’t pay back the loan as it is initially set up, they should look into alternative repayment plans, loan consolidation or forbearance as options to help them meet their end of the bargain without suffering damage to their credit scores.

Getting through college might feel like a challenge, and it is. But the challenge just begins upon graduation. Setting healthy spending and credit habits can’t start early enough in order to get graduates on the path to the financial stability that they seek.

Source: Forbes, “12 Financial Tips For Debt-Burdened New Grads,” Liz Davidson, May 9, 2012