Graduating college, many of us are worried about starting our lives as adults in the real world. There are a number of new responsibilities to take on as fresh, college graduates such as living expenses, transportation expenses, the costs of food and water, and perhaps most frightening, the dreaded student loan debt. Going into college, I knew that I would be taking out student loans to help fund my education as much as possible, with the generous help of my parents along the way.
Though the idea of taking out loans in the beginning did not seem so scary, now with graduation approaching soon, the pressure of paying off student debt is becoming more real and even more scary. As a young adult entering into the world, tackling student loan debt along with things like rent, car insurance/transportation costs, health insurance, phone bills, and food is just a tad bit overwhelming. Since I’m sure many of you (like myself) have just been thinking about getting good grades and doing well in school for the past four years, the sudden slap of reality can hit you like a ton of bricks.
Though there may seem like you’ll be thrust into the rivers of the adult world with no floaties on, there are plenty of ways to get ahead of your debt this year.
Cut Back Spending
This tip seems obvious, but I think its one we all (including myself) need to hear. We as college students, like to spend money on frivolous things until we embody our stereotype of the broke college kid. Whether we’re going out to bars with friends on the weekends or buying takeout for the third night in a row, these seemingly small purchases add up. So, stop eating out and cut ties with your favorite coffee place, because all this is doing is putting a hole in your wallet. Instead of spending your money on things you definitely do not need at the moment, put it in a savings account or literally a piggy bank to keep you from spending. This little bit of money here and there will help you in the long run when you’re paying off debt.
Create a Budget That Fits Your Goals
We all have goals we want to achieve or do someday. Perhaps your goal is going to your favorite band’s concert next year or putting a down payment on a new car; regardless of what your goal may be, it’s a good idea to set a budget for the goals you have in mind. Do some research on the pricing of your goal, such as the down payment on a car or phone, monthly rent payments, travel expenses, etc., and create a budget. Doing so will give you the incentive to set money aside for something you want to do, and give you more control over how you plan to spend your money!
Have you ever seen that show Extreme Couponing? If you haven’t it’s a reality show on TLC that documents individuals who are obsessed with couponing, with the ultimate goal of paying the very least at the store for the items (with coupons). Some of these are outrageous and I don’t recommend extreme couponing, however, finding deals and coupons on items here and there will definitely add up. Check out sites like RetailMeNot and Slick Deals for coupons and promotions that can save you big bucks!
Sell Your Items
One of the greatest things about technology today is e-commerce. You can buy and sell just about anything online nowadays, which is awesome for people like me who have a bunch of useless junk lying around. If you have collectible toys from your childhood, clothes that you don’t wear, books collecting dust on your shelf, etc. consider selling them online! There are plenty of sites to sell on, with the most popular being eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Poshmark. Not only will you be effectively downsizing, but you’ll also be making a quick buck!
Start a Side Hustle
Many people in today’s world are getting their income from multiple avenues. Sure, plenty of people have typical 9-5 jobs, but others (and many may I add), come home from their 9-5 and do other things to supplement income! This could be blogging, making your own custom artwork, photography, etc. A few extra hundred dollars can help you cut down your debt and make managing your money simpler!