A new school year is upon us and the streets are filled with crowds of eager fresh-faces hurrying to college classes in crisp new fall wardrobes, $ five lattes in hand, and blissfully unaware that their financial freedom is creeping additional and further out of reach.

Student debt is one particular of financial freedom’s most hazardous enemies. It might even be a far more sinister adversary than credit card debt. Luckily, it can be avoided in most instances and at the really least minimized in others.

1. Get a Job

The easiest way to avoid borrowing money is by generating funds. Get a job! Any job. Spending your weekends wiping tables rather of undertaking keg-stands may not sound exciting but I guarantee it is much more enjoyable than functioning overtime for the rest of your life to meet your month-to-month loan payments.

If your class schedule doesn’t afford you time to commute to and from perform, ask about on-campus function at the student services center. Most colleges supply a quantity of employment possibilities in school libraries, athletic centers, and campus pubs.

2. Skip the Coffee and Lunch Lines

I was standing in line at the coffee shop waiting for my dark roast when I overheard two 20-somethings complaining about the interest rates on their student loans. I almost felt a shred of sympathy till I heard their order–two soy vanilla lattes with an additional shot of espresso. “That will be $ 6.50 each,” the barista smiled.

$ 6.50 may not seem like a lot but when you happen to be purchasing two or 3 lattes a week it adds up. These two students will likely invest hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on caffeinated sugar bombs by the time they graduate.

Make coffee at residence. Pack a lunch. Walk or bike to perform. Any time you have a possibility to steer clear of spending a dollar or two, seize it. A caffeine and sugar rush cannot evaluate to the rush of reading your bank statement and seeing a lot more than just zeros.

3. Don’t Get Anything New…Especially Books!

Something new comes with a hefty tax. Automobiles, clothing, textbooks. If you can buy it second hand, do it. That shiny history anthology with the “BRAND NEW” sticker will not enhance your GPA, even if its $ 150 value tag would recommend otherwise. Head to the used book retailer or post on student groups to connect with folks selling last year’s editions.

4. Forego the Fancy Apartment

Moving out of mom’s home and into a fancy apartment sounds like the ultimate step of independence…till you are two years out grad-school with a poor-paying job and six-figures worth of debt, begging your parents to let you move into the spare area. Locating an reasonably priced housing conditions is a single of the easiest and most impactful methods to save income and cut debt as a student.
As a lot as I sympathize with your parents who have been counting down the days until they can convert your bedroom into a Tv space, if you have the opportunity to reside at property while you earn your degree, SEIZE IT. You’ll have plenty of time to revel in independence when you graduate.

If you are determined to leave the nest, or mom and dad have already sold your bed, appear for cost-effective housing options on campus–or far better but, apply to be an RA. Most colleges and universities will supply totally free area and board in campus residences to students who work as RAs or dons!

5. Invest in a Degree that Pays

A lot of folks who care about your nicely-being far much less than I do will fill your ears with sweet inspirational sayings like “adhere to your heart and the cash will comply with” or “do not be concerned about the spend verify, discover a career that tends to make you pleased”. That is all well and nice, but it is difficult to be satisfied when the numbers on your bank statement are red and the debt collector is calling you three occasions a day. If you are investing tens of thousands of dollars into your education, you’d much better be certain it is an investment with a high return price.

When I was a teenager, my stepdad asked me what I wanted to do when I develop up. Without hesitation, I answered “I want to be a photographer.”

“That’s not what I asked you,” he stated. “I asked you what you want to do when you grow up. To be a photographer you’ll be a lot of side jobs and lengthy hours till you can commence creating cash undertaking what you enjoy…IF that ever takes place. For a lot of it doesn’t.”

I did not want to do that. George’s suggestions prompted me to pursue a profession in enterprise instead. A career that these days affords me the finances to do what I enjoy–devote time with my family members, get pleasure from good quality wine, and finally pursue my dreams of photography.

Ahead of you invest $ 50,000 (or more!) on a degree that will serve as nothing much more than a wall-hanging I urge you to cautiously contemplate what you want to do with your life. If that “do” involves anything other than living your life as a prisoner of debt, decide on an location of study that will lead to a lucrative career and ultimately, financial freedom.

Money Weblog on The Huffington Post



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