If you carry an ongoing balance on a credit card – any credit card (or worse, cards) – you’re nuts. To put it briefly and without regard for anyone’s sensitivities.

I’ll be saying more about this as time passes.

But, in a nutshell, for all practical purposes it means you end up paying just about twice as much for everything you buy, using your cards, than I do paying cash.

We go out for a $75 dinner on the town? I’ll pay $75 for it. You’ll pay $150 by the time it all plays out.

I spend $500 on a television set, you buy the same model at the same store, same time? I get it for $500. You get it for $1,000.

That’s the practical effect of carrying ongoing balances on credit cards.

And it’s learned behavior.

A 2009 study by Sallie Mae – the Student Loan Marketing Association – found that (1) the average college student was carrying about four credit cards by the time he or she graduated, (2) less than two out of ten paid off their balance each month, and (3) of those 80 percent who didn’t pay off their balance, nearly a quarter of them paid only the minimum they had to each month.

And what’s the practical effect of paying only the minimum on your card each month? The practical effect is that you will never pay it off.

But I mean, if you’re going to do it, you might as well get started young and do it right.