What is my recommendation to all the College Graduates with Student Loans? This is a topic I have received inquires on so it is time that it deserves a post of its own. I am incredibly grateful that I left University without any college debt, but I know I am a rare occurrence. I also know it is not realistic to tell everyone they have the ability to do what I did, because my situation was unique. However, I think it is important for me to share how I did it, so that you might be motivated to look into creative options for yourself whether you are a High School Graduate, College Student, or Graduate.
When I was in High School I worked my Junior and Senior year at a golf course and a restaurant. My parents approached working with such a loving heart- they had me working because I had a motivation to earn my own money, but they were not forcing me to save for college or anything in specific. For the most part I paid for my own gas, but Mom and Dad were so sweet to help me out if I needed it. They wanted me to learn a healthy work ethic.
This approach transferred into the way they funded our College. They told us kids they would pay for our first two years of public school tuition. After that, we were on our own. I can remember my first year of College hearing friends say, "I was given $5,000 more than I needed for my classes, lodging and books, so I have spending money for this semester." I remember feeling and thinking, "that is not fair, they get to just spend that money and someone just gave them it, they did nothing to earn it?" Wow, am I grateful my parents told me NO to asking for $5000 extra and that my parents did not qualify for Student Aid, which meant I was not able to get an extra $5,000. To be completely honest, I had no idea what Student Aid meant, or why they got the money. All I understood was that my friends were given more money to spend and I was not. THANK YOU MOM AND DAD!
Fast forward, two years... now it is my turn to pay for College. I am now married and living off campus so I did not have the expense of lodging (except now we had a Mortgage to pay). I remember looking on every website to find discount books. I would be sure to sell my previous semester books, not to the campus bookstore, but on Amazon because I could make $15-20 more after shipping. This was worth it to me. It was equivalent to working a job for an hour and a half simply by changing the place I resold my books. Tuition was a lot larger and harder to pay. We learned at my University Spouses received 25% off Tuition the first year of their spouses employment and then 50% the next year. Thankfully, Spencer was already the Golf Coach at my University so he looked at becoming employed FT. He took the job and we started to SAVE!
We paid for my two years of college by sacrificing. Spencer was not thinking he would be an Athletic Recruiter after he graduated college, but he knew the financial investment was worth it. He looks back now and sees how the Lord used his employment for way more than a Tuition discount. Oh I forgot to mention-Spencer is an incredible Golfer, so he paid for his College Tuition with a FULL RIDE to a Division 1 school in Texas!
So what did we do with our remaining debt? And what should you do whether out of college or currently in college. Side point— the sooner you can do this the better because then you can either pay cash, or pay limited interest toward your tuition.
I know what you are thinking, I can't do that one, yeah that one won't work either, yeah that does not fit me and selling stuff-yeah that is not going to work either. My answer to your thoughts,"Yep then it will not work. If you are not driven or frustrated enough at your debt or potential debt, then you won't be motivated enough to make a change!" I can give you all the tools, but ultimately it is up to you! Get after it. Debt that is drowning you does not need to be part of your story, but putting on a life vest or learning to swim is a must to avoid drowning.