About 60 percent of students graduate from a four year college in about 6 years, according to information from Community College Review. The research also indicates that the government spends about $9 billion to fund these extended educations. This means that most college grads are in a considerable amount of debt–yikes! I am here to share some knowledge with you about how to claim even a little of that lost money back after you get that long-awaited diploma.
Don’t take on any additional debt. Chances are that student loans are already overwhelming enough. So, the smartest thing college grads can do is put themselves in the best financial position to start paying back those loans as soon as possible. Even if your loan payments are the minimum amount, some progress is better than no progress. This means if that new car, tv, phone, or couch isn’t a necessity do not buy it. There will come a better time down the road when this is in the realm of possibility. Right after graduation is a great time to set the foundation for chipping away at student loans.
Put a magnifying glass to your finances. Little monthly charges don’t seem like a big deal – a little $10 from Xbox, $12 dollars from Spotify, and maybe you splurge for $15 dollars’ worth of HBO per month (maybe I am speaking from personal experience). However, all of these can add up quite quickly. Let’s use these expenses as an example. This totals to 74 dollars in just 2 months that could be in your pocket or could be used for a loan payment. A good tip is to get a budgeting app on your phone and track exactly what you are spending money on and make cuts where you can afford it.
Rethink your housing situation. Getting a head start on paying off debt may even begin with a good housing situation. Until each of us snags our ultimate dream job, it might be the best idea to stay at home for a little while. This might not be the ideal place to be after finally earning a degree, but it can realistically take some time to find the right job. If living with your parents just isn’t an option for now, then a multiple roommate situation might be the best idea so your finances aren’t stretched too thin. Moving out of your parents house isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, but there are many things that can be done to keep costs down on a starter place. If you are already wondering how you are going to make your payments on time, then it might be time to think about a few changes. There are many financially sound alternatives out there for keeping costs down on a starter place.
Get rid of those textbooks. Text books are extremely expensive, especially if they were kept in good condition. After searching online, you can get a ballpark estimate of about what your book will sell for. Some sites will even guarantee a locked in textbook sell price for up to 30 days. It is also always a good idea to sell books as soon as you can. If you wait too long after you graduate newer editions might be available. While you will most likely be able to sell them somewhere, they won’t go for quite as much.
Sell some unwanted items. Every family has those old items sitting in their garage that could be worth something if they just got a little shine. EBay and Craigslist can become your best friend when trying to make a little dough, if you try. Do a little research online about what you are selling, take professional looking pictures, and put up detailed descriptions. If you can afford throwing a $3 coat of paint over something you might actually be able to sell it for much more than it would be worth now. Even things that look like they are worth throwing away could be worth something.
written by Ben Lanterman