Around this time many students are graduating high school or college with huge goals and dreams. I remember graduating high school completely lost as to what I wanted to do when I grew up. I followed the traditional path of trying college, practically failed out, and went to beauty school. I thrived at beauty school. It was fun and creative plus I actually got a paycheck. Then one day I thought that I should go to college just to prove to myself that I am smart enough. About 8 years after graduating high school, I graduated from college with $32,000 in debt. Then I thought that I should get a masters for another $20,000 of student loan debt. If I had to go back and do it all over again, I would have paid off my cosmetology education and moved around the beauty industry completely avoiding $52,000 in student loan debt. But if I really wanted to go to undergrad I would have done a couple things differently and completely skipped the useless masters.
- Go to a local community college. There is nothing wrong with going to the local community college. I did and at the end of the day nobody knows I went there except me. My resume states I graduated from a four year institution.
- Question if you really need a college degree in the first place. If you want to be a doctor you can’t learn by watching Grey’s Anatomy so study and get into college. But if you wanted to become an electrician, see about starting off as an apprentice so that you are getting paid while you are learning. Check out the trades.
- Do not take extra student loans to support your life. It is really easy to take out extra money through your student loans to pay for that vacation that you deserve. DO NOT DO THIS! You will regret it when you are paying your bills later in life.
- If someone gives you a free car, do not replace it until it’s dead. I don’t care if you have the ugliest car parked next to all high end, fancy cars in the lot. Do not replace a free car with debt. You will thank me when all of those high end, fancy car owners are complaining about debt later on.
- Develop a budget. You do not need to go for an accounting or finance degree to learn how to make a budget. There are lots of videos, articles, etc on the internet. Develop a budget and stick with it. I went probably 15 years post high school without a budget and without a clue at how much money I made or spent. It’s the truth. Want to know where I ended up? In about $10,000 of credit card debt plus my car payment and plus my student loan payments. Now I’m on my second year of no spending in order to get myself out of the debt hole. I have a well paying job that I must keep in order to pay my debt in a low paying area.