Debt in generally is a pretty scary topic. Student debt can be even more overwhelming. A lot of potential/future students see that large number they will owe at the end of their 4-years and stray away from the school of their dreams. While every situation is different, and college may not be for everyone – take Steve for example – you should fully analyze all of your options before making a rash decision.
This topic recently came up in conversation with a co-worker who is a single mom with 2 kids. Her youngest daughter is currently looking at schools for next year and completely overwhelmed with the thought of taking on student loans and everything that comes with it. Don’t worry kid, you’re not alone!
From my own personal experience, this was extremely daunting. Coming from a family where college wasn’t exactly the common path, there were many ups and downs that I had to navigating through in order to pave my own trail. Luckily, I have very supporting parents who encouraged me to go to the school of my dreams (Bentley University) and a grandmother who stood-by my side helping me every step of the way, where she could.
Knowing that I wasn’t fortunate enough to have my college education paid for, I was one of those students who took out student loans, had an on-campus job and found other jobs/internships throughout my four years to help supplemental my daily living expenses and pay down my student loans before they were even due. While this was EXTREMELY difficult and I missed out on quite a few parties and extra-curricular activities, I can honestly say it was the smartest decision I had made. I was able to graduate from Bentley EARLY (with a dual-undergraduate degree and Master’s) with just under $40,000 worth of debt. While this was still a LARGE number by any standards, it was definitely more manageable than my starting point. Eating Ramon noodles, living at home after graduating and various other methods (read-on below), enabled me to pay-off my student loans within TWO & A HALF YEARS of graduating. While my methods may not be for everyone, going to school, living on campus and partaking in as many activities I possibly could, helped shape who I am now and made me more comfortable in my own skin – capable to take on an opportunity, good or bad, that came my way!
Make a Plan:
I was extremely determined to get rid of this debt. I knew I couldn’t take any extravagant trips, upgrade my car or anything else until these were taken care of. I made continuous little payments, on top of the minimum payments, throughout each month, watching as my barely there savings account dwindled down to basically nothing. It was extremely nerve-wracking. Making a plan/goal helps keep you motivated. To know how much you should make in extra payments, create a budget! You should include your current income and expenses for each month. Whatever is left over, I just threw directly to my student loans. Pay off the loans with the highest interest first with this extra payment.
Sell, Sell, Sell:
We all accumulate things that we don’t need or no longer use. Whether its clothes, sports equipment or household items, we all have that pile that just sits there. Go throughout your house/apartment and purge all the unnecessary stuff. From this collection determine what items have value (free from stains, tears, discolorations, etc.). Once you have sorted through your pile, determine the best avenue to sell your item is. There are soooo many options to choose from. To list a few: Plato’s Closet, Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Craigslist, different apps such as Poshmark or Offerup. Depending on what you are trying to sell will help determine where you should list it/advertise. Google is your best friend when it comes to this!
There are several apps and websites where you can earn quick and easy money. Surveys are just one options! Check out these free to join and use websites where you get paid to answer surveys and to test products.
and so many more!
There are so many sites now that offer cash back when shopping – whether it be in person at the grocery store or your online shopping (addiction J) it is always important to check which site is offering the highest % back. When it comes to grocery shopping, I personally use iBotta and Checkout51 – you can use both for each shopping trip! Cha-Ching!!!!
Since graduating, there are so many more ways that you can earn extra money that I wish I knew then. This list is just a small fraction of what you could! You could even start a blog or monetize something you love doing – gardening, sewing, etc. Just stay motivated is the key.
What did you do to help pay-off your student loans early? Or ANY debt for that matter!
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