I Got 99 Problems and Money Is All of Them

“Going once, going twice, your college education is SOLD for $40,000!”

College is a lot of things, but cheap isn’t one of them. This is my senior year and I still feel like I’m in a human-sized, live game of financial aid Jumanji. (If you haven’t seen that movie, you’re doing something wrong.) You pull a card and somehow, you still end up losing. They get students with those words, “Free loans! Pre-approved credit cards!”

A surprisingly large amount of students tend to have selective amnesia when it comes to the definition of the word “loan”. As in, oh yeah, you’ve got the money now, but no one remembers that you have to pay it back later.

Half the time, college students are going around like they’ve hit the jackpot in Vegas when they get their refund checks. They must have forgotten that while they’re throwin’ paper at new shoes, big TVs, and those fresh-amiz MacBook Pros; that the credit bureau is accruing interest like nobody’s business. 

Later often comes far too quicker than anyone likes. It’s a terrible, evil mind game and we all end up falling into a couple of pits every once in a while. Money is the root of all evil, and yet it’s the one thing that our society runs on. Go figure.

Let’s not talk about the catch-22 with college. You need a job? You need a degree for that job? But wait, you also need to pay for college. Don’t even get me started on the post-grad situation. You have a degree? But you don’t have experience?

Sorry, you can’t work here.

So, let’s outline this dilemma. You need a job to live. You need to go to college to get a job. You need to pay for college, to get a degree, so you can get a job. To get a degree, you have to make good grades, but employers won’t hire you without experience. Basically, you need to go to school to work, but you have to work to go to school and you also need to work to work.

    Huh.

 

Here’s some advice from a student that has been run over by the financial aid bus many, many times. TALK TO YOUR FINANCIAL AID ADVISORS. Be sure to look at interest rates when applying for loans, and also look at when you have to start paying them back. Try to avoid taking out huge loans if you’re not good with managing money (like myself) and do your best to keep track of what you’re spending.

There are a ton of scholarships in the world, so take advantage! Don’t be afraid to apply for something, even if you’re not necessarily qualified. Try to keep your debt to a minimum by foregoing credit cards and unnecessary purchases. Put five bucks a week into a savings account—I guarantee that you’ll be surprised by the sum at the end of the year. Take a moment to think twice about buying those new pair of shoes.

Managing money is all about paying attention to those little purchases you make and prioritizing them. Yes, you might have to cut your Starbucks days down to two, but this might also help you save up the $100 bucks you need for your phone bill. Most students have some sort of debt after graduation, but having a financial plan is a huge bonus to being successful.

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