Tag Archives: student loans

Put It On My Tab

It took me far longer than it should have to start making sound financial decisions.

Although, it seems to be taking everyone far longer than it should to get their money right.

So, I put together a list of the top ten money lessons I learned the hard way.

Maybe some of you can benefit from my not so savvy experience.

1. Make a monthly budget and STICK TO IT.

monthly-budget

Also make sure to include ALL expenses in your budget.

If you go out on Friday nights and regularly drop a hundo at the bar, don’t fool yourself into thinking you won’t.

There is no judgement in finance, just numbers.

No matter what it is, put it in the budget.

Like blowing coke off a hooker’s ass? No judgement! Just put it in the budget!!

2. Save 20% of your income. At least. I know it seems like a lot but when that rainy day comes and you’re in a jam you’ll be happy you did.

3. Never, ever, ever take money out of your 401k. This also applies for when you leave one job for another. ROLL THAT SHIT OVER!! Taxes and penalties aside, for those of you how don’t know how compounding interest works take a look at this:compound_interestBasically your interest is earning interest. You earn $50 from year 0 – 1. But in year 1-2, now that your total is $150, you earn $75 for the year, giving you $225. In year 2-3 you have $225, so you earn $112.50. In 3 years you more than double your return. Think about what that would look like over 20 years!

That’s a shit-ton of money to lose out on for something you could probably don’t need. No one wants to HAVE to work when they’re 80. Start saving now.

3. Always, always, always, always, always, always, pay off your credit card at the end of each month. If it helps, consider it cash, whenever you use your card, enter the amount into your checkbook just like you would a debit card transaction.

4. Do NOT live beyond your means. If you haven’t earned it, don’t spend it. Ever hear the saying “Don’t borrow trouble”?? They’re talking about money!

trouble

5. For most of us, students loans are unfortunately a necessary evil and the devil writes in very small print. Make sure you know exactly what you’re taking and how much that payment will be when the piper comes a-calling.

Forbearance sounds like an awesome idea. Indefinitely defer paying my student loans?? Why not?

Just an FYI – any unpaid interest during your forbearance time period will be added to your principal. Meaning you can go from having $20,000 in student loans to $25,000 over night. And at 8% interest that makes one huge difference come pay day.

6. Having a second job will help pay for those student loans, keep you out of trouble and stop you from spending money. Think about it.

7. There is a difference between a “want” and a “need”. You need groceries. You want the new iPhone.

iphone

8. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying generic. Paying $10 more for a bottle of lotion just because it says Aveeno on it is stupid. Don’t be stupid.

9. Being industrious can save you serious scratch. Paint your own nails, change your own oil, wash your car at home, cook meals instead of eating out, I just wouldn’t recommend cutting your own hair…

10. Always have a little “mad” money tucked away. Some days you just want to say “fuck it” and buy the new iPhone, if you have mad money set aside, you can. Second jobs are a great source of mad money.

Or if you really, really want it – PUT IT IN THE BUDGET!

What about you guys?

What are the best financial lessons you’ve learned?

How many times did it take you to learn them??

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Filed under Dollars + Sense

School is for Fools

It’s that time of year when high school juniors and seniors start deciding where they’re going to apply/go to college and what they want to do with their lives. I’m here to tell you this archaic process is bullshit. How are you supposed to know at sixteen or seventeen what you want to do with the rest of your life? A college degree costs an average of $100,000. That’s a helluva lot of money to spend on something you aren’t absolutely, one hundred percent positive you want to pursue and work at FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

whoopsie…

In the United Kingdom, a common practice is to take a gap year before starting college. High school graduates take a year off to travel, intern, and generally get their shit together before pursuing a college degree.

make your own path

As someone whose parents would not allow her to take a year off, I am the perfect example of what happens when you aren’t ready for college. I was an honors student in high school. By everyone’s predictions I was a perfect candidate for college. But I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted to do with my life. That one year my parents weren’t willing to compromise on cost them $12,000. At a state school with only one semester of living on campus! The only things I learned how to do that year were to illegally procure alcohol and rack up about $7,000 in credit card debt.

I am positive I could have used far less money to explore/travel/figure some shit out AND spent that time far more productively.

have passport – will travel

The lesson here is, if you aren’t sure exactly what you’re going to get out of college and exactly what you want to do with that insanely over-priced piece of paper, don’t go.

That’s right kids; I’m telling you not to go to college, at least not right away.

Finally a college graduate!

Yes, you need a college degree to succeed in most facets of today’s corporate world. I went back and finished my degree at twenty-seven after hitting a ceiling where I could not be promoted any further without that piece of paper. However, I knew what I wanted then. I paid for it myself (at a private college no less) and I graduated cum Laude, with less than $20,000 in student loans. Also proving it is possible to graduate from college without a crippling amount of student loan debt!

There are other roads that lead to success. Don’t automatically choose the one in front of you because it’s what people say you should do. Figure it out for yourself and you’ll be much happier and far more successful.

And if your parents give you any shit for it, show them the math, if that doesn’t work, do it anyway and just blame me 🙂

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Filed under Climbing the Ladder, following your dreams, growing up, travel

That piece of paper costs how much?!?

These days job markets are tight across every industry. Employers want qualified candidates who will work for pennies. As someone who has recently changed industries, the phrase “salary commiserate with experience” brings tears to my eyes. I have tons of experience! Just not the kind they’re looking for. I can’t get the experience without getting work and I can’t get the work without having experience. It’s a vicious cycle…

I’ve been debating pursing a Masters in Interactive Media to help round out my resume. Unfortunately, this particular piece of paper comes with a $40,000 price tag. Ouch!! While I was lucky to have only incurred $20,000 in student loans pursuing my Bachelors, I’m not certain I’m willing to triple my student loan debt without a guaranteed return on investment.

What do you think – is getting your masters a waste of money? Do you have a masters degree?

vicious cycle image from: http://enjoytherandom.com

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Filed under Climbing the Ladder