Don’t do it. Don’t get sucked into stupid debt. Don’t be sitting where I am 10 years from today looking at a mountain of debt so high that you can’t see the peak. If you can’t afford to pay cash for college and are taking out student loans listen up:
- Student loan debt is to pay for tuition, books, accommodations, food, clothing, electricity/heat/water. It should not be used to go to the movies, eat out, go on trips, buy gas, buy a car, and heaven forbid buy alcohol. Why? Because I used my money for these things and not one of them was worth it. The VHS tapes (yes, that long ago) are extinct, the car was traded/junked before kids, I can’t remember the movies, and the reality is that these things are transient, fleeting, and worthless later. They had no value then and they have no value now. I regret every dumb purchase.
- Get a job. And work. As much as you can. Don’t think of it as something you can do on the side “if you want to.” It’s a necessity. Earn as much as you can to pay for those extras and to pay as much of your schooling in cash as possible.
- Do not fall into the credit card trap. It’s not a necessity. It is not for emergencies. It’s a loan. With a high rate of interest. Any money you believe you are “saving” by using an in store credit card is lost in interest and fees. They are not there to help you. They are there to make money. And the are really really really good at it. Proverbs 22:7 states “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” Do you want to be a banks slave? Are reward points worth that? Emphatically NO!
- Have a real savings account. With cash in it. That way
ifwhen your car breaks down, you have the money in the bank. I repeat a credit card is not for emergencies.
- Stop thinking you need or deserve it all. You don’t. You are 17, or 18, or 19. You do not need the best car, the best clothes, and a personal stylist at Liv Aveda. You can live in a studio apartment. You can buy clothes from Plato’s Closet. You can own a used car with 2 doors. You can wear boots that cost only $30 instead of $60. Your parents have all these things because they scrimped and saved or they have so much debt that they are still paying for it too.
- Remember that stuff does not buy happiness, nor will it get you the greatest friends or the best spouse.
- Tithe (give 10% to your church). Do so with a thankful heart and see if God does not honor your faithfulness. Malachi 3:10: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
- BUDGET!!!!!!!! Seriously, it’s not a dirty word. It’s not horrible. It won’t kill you. It gives you CONTROL over your money instead of letting it and your desires rule over you. Panic is when you have 2 weeks/a month left before your next paycheck or tuition disbursement and you have no money for rent, or food, or whatever because you spent all of it on dumb. Dave Ramsey has a great and easy budgeting system.
Our student loan debt is huge. Somedays it seems insurmountable and impossible to overcome. It is stopping us from pursuing adoption, going on missions, vacations, and more. It’s a noose that is uncomfortable, rubs us raw and at times leaves us short of breath. Student loans are not free money. They are not something you are entitled to. They are another way that we become a slave to a lender. Except for paying them off or dying, they never disappear.