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Let's face it: college costs money. A lot of money. Besides tuition, students have to come up with ways to pay for their living and entertainment expenses. Most students are in the market for a good deal, and student credit cards deliver.

It might sound counter intuitive to apply for credit cards as soon as you leave home and gain some independence. But getting a credit card early and using it wisely will set you up for good credit in the future. And some student credit cards give benefits beyond contributing to a healthy credit history. Many cards let you earn reward point or even cash back for purchases you make every day. Some even donate a portion of your purchases to the charity of your choice.

Cheap entertainment is the goal for many a struggling student. Some student reward cards give you points whenever you rent a DVD, buy coffee, or purchase books. Those points can then be redeemed for free merchandise or cash rebates. Imagine being rewarded for purchases you actually want to make.

The ever-popular cash back card is another great choice for students. These cards can give you 1-5% cash back for every purchase you make. Some cash back cards require you to shop at specific locations, but there are a few which apply to any purchase anywhere. Go online to compare offers.

Are you a student who travels home on the weekends? Gas prices are astronomical, but gas reward cards can help offset your travel costs. You can even find reward cards that help pay for the routine maintenance on your vehicle.

What about students with a more charitable bent? Charity reward cards support worthy causes by donating a fraction of every purchase you make with the card. This is an easy way to help fund cancer research, pay for literacy programs, or champion animal rights. Eco-conscious students can also apply for reward cards that support green energy research. You'll have no problem finding a card that donates to a cause dear to your heart.

One caveat for first-time card applicants: don't fall for the high-pressure tactics some card issuers use. Ignore their offers of free merchandise and focus on the credit limit and interest rate of the card itself. A free pizza might sound good in the short-term, but a card with lousy terms will give you headaches even a good pizza can't compensate for. Ask questions, get a written agreement, and read the terms and conditions carefully.

The Many Perks of Student Credit Cards

The Many Perks of Student Credit Cards