If you’re struggling financially as a student, you need to read this (or keep on struggling)

College students are completely clueless about managing money. Most college students are in debt now and will be for a long time. Why do I say this?

According to Yahoo News, the average amount of student debt that a student holds upon graduation is $25,250. The total amount of student debt carried by Americans is estimated to be $870 billion.

I think it’s fair to say that most college students are struggling financially after reading those stats. On the bright side, I got some pretty sweet news for you…

You don’t have to be a financially struggling student that’s always broke!

Being broke sucks. There’s no other way to put it.

I want you to have options. First let’s look at financial problems that students face.

What are the biggest issues facing college students when it comes to finances?

I reached out to a member of our community to see what she had to say about this. Brenda has gone back to school and is doing it without going broke. Brenda recently shared her story on how she plans to pay for college. The four reasons for financial struggles come word-for-word from an email that I received from Brenda.

  1. Saving money. I feel that a lot of students don’t know how to save money because they weren’t taught proper techniques that will set them up for success in the future; a budget definitely helps.
  2. Peer pressure. Students feel the need to ‘fit in’ with friends who are all attending colleges right out of high school. What students aren’t told is that life doesn’t have to be a rush, taking time to decide which career path to choose is fine.
  3. Credit. As a young generation in society we are told build your credit with a student credit card or you won’t be able to get a loan for a car or house. Why would you need a loan if you could pay cash for it? Proper planning, and budgeting would allow students not to take out a loan to pay for college while still getting an education.
  4. Debt. Once a college loan is taken out it follows the student nearly their entire lifetime because they weren’t taught ways to save or overcome debt.

Are you struggling in college because of any of those issues? Keep on reading…

“College wasn’t originally designed to merely be a continuation of high school (but with more binge drinking). In many places, though, that’s what it has become.” — Seth Godin

It’s true. College is a great time to party. Guess what? I love to party. I’m the first one at the party. So don’t think that this article is about passing judgment. I just want you to know that even a loudmouth drunk like me has it in him to save money.

I promise you that you can overcome these financial issues that students face.

How’s this all possible? How can you graduate from college debt free or at least be smart with your money?

Find a job.

Get a job. Get any job. You’re not above any job. You’re not below any job. Apply and apply often. Your goal is to find any source of income.

I wrote about the best job for college students before. I would highly recommend finding something in sales so that you can work on your basic communication skills. You don’t want to be socially awkward forever.

Once you find a job, become the best employee ever. Don’t worry about The 4-Hour Workweek or any other crazy dreams. You can still run a side business with a part-time gig. Your first priority should be to find any source of income.

Apply for free money.

This should be classified under common sense, yet so few of us actually do this. There are tons of sources of free money. Apply for all of the free money possible. This includes bursaries, scholarships, and grants.

So what if you have to write an essay? It beats writing drawn out messages about the night before to your buddies on Facebook.

Go to your school’s official website. Look for some sort of a financial section. Apply for free money. Don’t use any excuses.

Pay yourself first.

Whatever you do for money, you absolutely have to pay yourself first. Put some money aside for yourself. Even if you save $20 a week, you’ll end up with over $1,000 at the end of the year. That sure beats saving ZERO.

How do you pay yourself first? Whenever you get paid, get your bank or employer to deduct this money. Hide this money. Put it away. Don’t allow yourself any access to it.

Get wasted.

Own the night. Get silly. Do something you’re afraid of. Then wake up the next day, chug a bottle of water, and get yourself to work or to your studies. I don’t want you to miss out on anything. There’s going to be plenty of time to work and there will also be time to party. Don’t think that a part-time job will hold you back from enjoying the college experience.

By this point, you should go from financially struggling student to half-decent at managing money student. If you want to know how I personally graduated from college without any debt, you need to read this.

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3 thoughts on “If you’re struggling financially as a student, you need to read this (or keep on struggling)”

  1. Great advice! I had fun in college, went to some parties, and hung with friends. I also ended my senior year working 50-60 hours a week at 3 part-time jobs, taking my last 12 hours, and planning my wedding which happened exactly a week after I graduated with honors. Anything is possible if you motvate yourself. 🙂

    1. Anything and everything is possible. You’ll never have as much energy as you do when you’re 22 and on top of the world.

      Sounds like we had a similar run — well minus the wedding planning lol! Congrats on finding your partner in college. That’s so cool. I don’t even talk to my college girlfriends.

  2. I am a 39-year-old broke college graduate. I have $38,000 in college debt. There was no way for me to save money, as I was paying child support the entire time I was going to college. Now, with all this debt, I make $28,000 per year…still paying child support. I could have done that without college. For me, college was a huge lie. Now, my liver and heart are failing due to the hard miles I have put my body through (heart attack at 27 years of age, due to a terrible marriage, which ended up the reason for me paying child support for a kid that I’ll never see again). Everyone told me I would be making considerably more money as a college graduate. So, as you can see I bought into the whole thing-hook, line, and sinker. Yay, college. What a farce! Go to tech school. It’s cheaper. It takes less time to hit the work force. The earnings potential is FAR greater, which, let’s face it…that’s the reason people say that college grads have better lives. It’s all about the $. I was born penniless. I’ll probably die the same way. Yay, college. This is just my personal experience. Other individuals have different backgrounds, different situations, different training, different institutions, and different experiences. There is no disrespect toward any individual or entity intended, or implied, and hopefully your college experience pays dividends more than my experience has paid me.

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