I'm a 26 year-old female college student in need of sound financial advice. I did not successfully find work during my undergraduate studies, so I owe for about three years' of tuition in the form of low-interest student loans. I now have a part-time job, substitute teaching, which is only available during fall and spring. During summer, I have to find something else or go without.
Until now, I was using about half of my student loans to cover rent and various expenses. I did manage to buy a mobile home, though, and I've been living here temporarily. I found out that I'm going to have to move it or sell it, though, and that's added stress. Right now, it is parked on a friend's land.
Since I'm not ready to face my student loan debt and have not been able to find a full-time job, I'm still in school pursuing a master's degree, and, unfortunately, using more low-interest student loans to do so. I've borrowed a ridiculous amount already, and I seriously need to find a way to get off of these things and start paying them back before I get into a situation where it is not possible to pay back this debt. I'm pretty sure I've borrowed around $50,000 or more already. I don't want to reach the $100,000 mark, and something tells me I'm not being very frugal, because I attend a small public college and pay in-state tuition. Until this year, I was borrowing from my financial aid to pay for room, board, and work-related expenses. I'm hoping that I've found a way around that this year and, hopefully, for the rest of my college career.
Here are the tips I've received already:
1. Start keeping track of every dime you spend. My paycheck is linked to my debit card, so it is very easy for me to spend money and not have a clue where it went.
2. Deposit most, probably around half or more, of your paycheck into a high yield savings account, or at least another checking account that is not linked to your debit card.
3. Consider giving up the debit card and carrying either a pre-paid card with only a certain amount loaded on it or a gift card for the stores where you shop most often.
4. Only concentrate on necessary expenses; never buy impulsively. Leave yourself only a very small amount of recreational money, probably one percent of your paycheck.
5. Look for a steady summer job.
Does anyone have any more advice?