“The numbers say it all: Since 1985, the price of college has increased a staggering 538%. Average student loan debt is approaching $30,000 per grad. And more than 50% of recent grads are either jobless or underemployed.”
I won’t let anyone that reads Studenomics to end up in such a horrible situation.
That’s a pretty scary statement that I found over at Forbes. This gave me no choice but to put together an article on my personal story of how I graduated college without any debt.
With the school year rolling, I wanted to tie everything in about surviving college financially. I actually get sick when I read stats about how screwed college graduates are financially. I hate hearing about student debt. I hate it even more when students assume they have to get into debt to finish school.
Guess what? I graduated debt-free and I didn’t miss out on any fun. I wasn’t a nerd that stayed in either. I was the life of every party that I attended. I had a blast in college and survived financially. I’m telling you this because I want to challenge the whole notion of student debt.
This is my story. I’m not lecturing. This is what worked for you. It could work for you.
[Must read: How I graduated college debt-free.]
What did I do to graduate debt-free without missing out on the fun?
I attended a community college first.
I knew that I wasn’t ready for college or to move away for school. This is why I decided to attend a community college in town first. This was the best decision that I ever made. The classes were tight, I took the studies seriously, I worked full-time, and I prepared myself for further studies.
You can save a decent chunk of change as a student by starting at a community college. You don’t have to attend a large school for four years for every single program. It’s okay to attend the school that you want to, and not the one your parents want you to attend.
I always saved money on textbooks/tuition.
You have to find a way to cut back on textbooks and tuition. There’s no way around this. These expenses will destroy if you don’t get a little creative.
When it comes to textbooks, I did the following:
- Shared with friends.
- Didn’t buy if the class didn’t require them.
- Bought used.
- Bought older versions of the text.
With tuition, the following hacks helped me:
- Enrolling part-time and taking a full course load.
- Summer courses.
- Applying for bursaries/free money.
You can’t just accept what your college charges you for tuition/textbooks. You have to find a way to save money. I knew this and knew that I couldn’t slack off in this area.
I had a girlfriend throughout my studies.
Not sure what this has to do with anything. I just noticed that many of my single friends blew lots of money because they were always out looking to party and hook up.
I watched out with credit cards.
This is huge. I’m not in the ranting mood today. We all know how bad credit card debt is. I don’t need to lecture you.
Just please, for the sake of your future, try not to spend money that you don’t have.
[Must read: How-to master student credit cards.]
I stayed at home.
Staying at home helped me save a ton of money. This wasn’t the best option because I missed out on some fun and independence.
The good news was that the savings made it worth it and I was able to travel in college.
Can you stay at home to save some money?
I partied on a budget.
The following paragraph will save your 20s. You can party like me and live life. I never missed out on any fun. I always had a blast. I wasn’t the guy that stayed at home. I enjoyed being social.
You just have to accept that you can’t drink 5 days a week. It’s okay to save your parties for the weekends when all of your work is done.
Do NOT get into student debt. Avoid it all costs.
Please do whatever it takes to avoid student loans if you can.
How are other students saving money on college? I found another great article over at Forbes on this topic:
- 69% Opting to attend institutions in-state.
- 61% Living closer to home to reduce travel expenses.
- 54% Living at home or with relatives.
- 42% Filing for education tax credits.
- 34% Choosing to attend 2 year public institutions.
- 28% Accelerating the pace of coursework.
This means that you don’t have to accept a student mortgage! I challenge you to open your mind and to stop accepting everything as is.
Don’t forget to check out the five books that changed my life while you’re figuring things out.
And trust me, life’s so much more fun after college. You don’t want debt to get in the way.