The one piece of advice that I wish I would have listened to is “Don’t take all of the money!
Student loan debt is no joke. I worked all through college and had 3 children. It took me 6 years to graduate. I was going to school to be an occupational therapist and my husband going to school to be a photographer. Although I worked as a waitress, he did not and we took all the loans that were provided to us along with the FREE money we did not have to pay back. You don’t think about it much when you are in life and taking the money offered to you to live and go to school, but now looking back I think about how much smarter it would have been to only take what we needed. I remember several counselors and mentors telling me this.
Although my husband is very talented, he is an artist, and while I did know right away that he was not ever going to be a nine to five kind of guy I did dream he would be successful. I was always a busy person and needed to keep busy, so I was pregnant, worked and went to school… it was too much for him to do so as well. Eventually it was too much for me to get my degree in occupational therapy and I went down the media path to help his career take off. We started a web design and photography business. $20, 000 in debt later I graduated and got a position working for a development company. $20,000 dollars in debt mind you, was not student loan debt, NO. That was CC, and loan debt from owning our own business for 7 years. Our student loan debt combined is about $150,000 on top of that. 4 years later I am just getting back on my feet again and money is not controlling how we live and what we can do at a rate that is depressing. Although I learned a lot from owning my own business and being an entrepreneur the student debt has not gone away or subsided. I remember looking at one of my husband’s loans a couple of years ago (as I did not have to repay mine back yet) and seeing that as we had been paying the minimum and it had gone up by two thousand dollars in a short amount of time. I have just started to look into what is the best way to handle it now that I have an income that we can start to do anything about it. I will need to consolidate pay at least $5-$600 a month. I think we probably took about 50,000 more than we needed and it has inflated over the years. You will need to be smart about spending while in college and saving early is smart. We can all say eat smart don’t eat out, buy used books and items, always look for a deal and always budget. Those things are day to day and don’t go away. THE ONE THING TO DO AND REMEMBER IS HOW MUCH OF THIS FREE BUT NOT REALLY FREE MONEY DO I NEED AND WHAT CAN EARN ON MY OWN AND GET BY. STRUGGLE FOR SUCCESS, IT’S THE ONLY WAY!!!!!