Tag: student


The Solution to The Student Loan Crisis All Posts / Saving Money / Student Loan Debt

The average college student now finishes school with nearly $40,000 in student loan debt.  Those with advanced degrees, such as master’s, doctorates, or professional fields (medicine, law) often graduate with six figure debt.

Many articles have been written about the student loan crisis, and some have predicted that student loans will be the next “bubble” to burst.  Others have argued that the student loan crisis is not a “real” crisis.

*This post may contain affiliate links.  Read our full disclosure policy here.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that my husband and I started with a combined total of $117,000 of student loan debt that we are trying to pay off as quickly as possible.  You can probably imagine how I feel when someone diminishes the struggles of millions of Americans by claiming that student loans aren’t that big of a deal.

People who think that the crisis is “exaggerated” typically say that the reason for this “exaggeration” is to encourage “free tuition” political policies.  Student loans are a hot topic and a politically charged issue.  On the far left, politicians advocate for student loan forgiveness and making college tuition free in the future.  In contrast, those on the other end of the spectrum call for personal responsibility.

I’ve read quite a few of the comments on articles about the student loan crisis.  Of course, it’s typically the people with the most extreme viewpoints who are the most vocal.  Some say college is a “right” that should be provided for free.

Others say things like “No one put a gun to your head and forced you to take on student loan debt.  You’re a f$@$#&! idiot for taking on that much debt for a useless major”.  Then, the person typically boasts about how smart and financially successful they are because they didn’t go to college and didn’t take out student loans.  Interestingly, these comments are often riddled with poor grammar and awful spelling.

Odd, right?  How is it possible that people who can’t even construct a basic sentence are somehow making smarter financial choices than brilliant students who have earned doctorate degrees?  Clearly, intelligence isn’t the issue here.  So what is the issue?  What differentiates those who succeed financially from those who end up buried in debt?

Financial Education

From my own observations, there is one factor that seems to determine, better than any other factor, whether or not someone will succeed financially.  That factor is financial education.

Those who have avoided debt or have built wealth in their twenties often have one thing in common: their parents taught them how to manage money.  It is a privilege to be raised by parents who encourage you to avoid student loans, to build an emergency fund, and to pay cash for everything.

Some parents teach their kids about money from a young age (with things such as Dave Ramsey’s class Financial Peace Junior), and these early money lessons typically stick.

For those who didn’t grow up with money-smart parents, financial education still plays an important role in determining their financial fate.  As a personal finance blogger, I’ve read hundreds of PF blogs.  For bloggers who started off in debt, the story is almost always the same.

Some type of financial education sparked an “aha” moment for them – it may have been reading PF blogs, discovering an inspiring book such as Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover, taking a personal finance class, or learning from a money-savvy friend.  Whatever it may have been, there is usually some type of financial education that inspired the person to start getting out of debt and building wealth.

In our society, debt is normal, excessive consumerism is rampant, and the idea of paying cash for everything is practically taboo.  Without any kind of financial education, we often do what society expects us to do.

We listen to our parents (who didn’t have student loan debt and have no idea what it’s like) – even if they’re terrible with money.  We listen to our teachers and advisers who tell us that a four year degree is the only path to success.

We take out student loans for impractical majors.  We don’t want to flip burgers for the rest of our lives (as if that’s the only way to avoid student loans).  We do what we think is “normal”.  We believe that our “investment” will pay off when we’re “successful”.

If we want to solve the student loan crisis, we need to stop doing what we’re doing.  Relying on politicians to forgive our debt or to make college free probably won’t help.  Calling people idiots (when they’re already buried in massive debt) definitely isn’t going to help.

We need to start educating high school students about student loan debt.  Personal finance classes should be a requirement in high school.  It’s time to stop teaching students that a 4 year degree is the ONLY path to success.  For many, community college or vocational school may be a better (and more affordable) option.

We need to understand that being book smart without being money smart is a dangerous combination that often leads to mortgage-level student loan debt.  In addition to teaching kids how to be book smart, we need to teach them how to manage money and avoid debt.

What do you think is the solution to the student loan crisis?

Other stuff you might like:

My Personal Finance “Aha” Moment
How to Start a Blog in 5 Easy Steps
5 Dumb Things We Did With Our Student Loans
How to Ditch Your Student Loans with the Debt Snowball
Which Debt Payoff Method is Better – The Snowball or The Avalanche?

Personal Finance Resources:

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
YOLO: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life by Jason Vitug
Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach
It’s Only Money and It Does Grow on Trees by Cara MacMillan

Blogging Resources:

How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup
365 Blog Topic Ideas for the Lifestyle Blogger Who Has Nothing to Write About by Dana Fox
Secrets to Blogging Your Way to a Six Figure Income by ProBlogger


5 Reasons to Become a Tutor All Posts / Career / Making Money

If you’re proficient in a subject and know how to dissect and explain complex information, you might make an exceptional tutor. A tutor is a private teacher who instructs others in some branch of learning either one-on-one or within a group setting.

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5 Dumb Things We Did With Our Student Loans All Posts / Saving Money / Student Loan Debt

*This post may contain affiliate links.

I have two main goals with this blog.  The first is to inspire those who have student loans or other forms of debt to live below their means so that they can pay off their debt as quickly as possible.

The second goal is to reach those who are currently in college or will be heading to college soon.  Many young people believe that attending college immediately after high school is the only path to success.  If their parents can’t afford to help them pay for college, they often think student loans are their only option.

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We Bought a Tiny Car + Other Winter Updates All Posts / Life / More

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  I only promote products that I truly believe in.

Winter has arrived here in Minnesota…I spent 20 minutes digging my car out of the snow this morning and it’s going to be -4 for the high one day next week!  Brrr!  Hopefully most of you readers are enjoying somewhat less chilly weather.  How are you doing on your financial goals so far this season?  Share in the comments!

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The 10 Best Career Lifestyle Blogs for Millennial Women All Posts / Making Money / Millennials

There are many negative stereotypes about millennials.  We’re often classified as lazy, entitled, and immature.  I don’t agree with these stereotypes.  Of course, there are a few millennials out there who fit these stereotypes, but there are more who don’t.

Many millennials are working their asses off, paying off debt, starting their own businesses, and building wealth.  Here are 10 inspiring career and lifestyle blogs for millennial women.  These incredible ladies are killing it!

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5 Strange Things That Happen When You Blog About Personal Finance All Posts / Making Money / Side Hustles

I love blogging.  It’s interesting, rewarding, and often opens my mind to new and different perspectives that I hadn’t considered in the past.  I also enjoy feeling like I’m making a difference in other millennials’ lives.  Reading personal finance blogs inspired me to pay off my massive debt as quickly as possible and to start making better financial choices.  I hope to inspire others to make smarter choices too.

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Month in Review: July 2016 All Posts / Life / More

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  I only promote products that I truly believe in.

Here is my Month in Review: July 2016

Frugal Successes

-I paid off my first “big” ($6,000+) student loan!  Now that I only have large loans left, the progress feels slow.  This can get a bit demotivating, so I’m excited that I finally paid off a big one – I know now that I can do it!  I had $418.62 left on the loan I paid off, and I also put $500 toward the next loan I’ll knock out – the current balance on that one is $7,232.

-This has been the summer of unexpected, unusual expenses. We had to dip into our emergency fund a couple times this month, which is never fun, but that’s why we have it!  Without it, we would end up relying on credit cards and digging ourselves further into debt.

Frugal Failures

-I accidentally left our freezer door slightly open and didn’t realize it for a couple days.  Everything in the freezer went bad.  Lesson learned!  I will definitely be extremely careful about this from now on.

-I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve been having a lot of pain in my neck lately, and I went to the chiropractor to find out what’s going on.  Thanks to years of bad habits (like spending too much time on my smartphone and laptop), my spine is curved forward in the neck area, which is called forward head posture (aka “text neck”).

Treating this issue is not going to be cheap.  If you’re constantly bent over your smartphone, please please please start spending less time on your phone.  “Text neck” is becoming increasingly common and it’s not fun – it’s incredibly painful, and it can lead to serious health problems if it’s left untreated.  Here are some ways to prevent or correct forward head posture.

Highlights of the Month

-I played giant outdoor Jenga for the first time at my nephew’s grad party.  My nephew just finished high school – it’s hard to believe that I have a nephew who is that old!  We look like we’re the same age. (My brothers are quite a bit older than I am).  This was the first time that all of the nieces and nephews met Herbie (our new puppy) and it was so much fun!

-I had a puppy play date with a few of my girlfriends, and Herbie met Max, Hank, and Luna (and some other dogs) at the dog park!

-I bought Financial Peace University for the hubby and myself.  We’ll be starting it in September and I’m so excited!

What I Read

I borrowed Smart Women Finish Rich from a friend, and it’s great so far!  Financial advisor David Bach (author of The Automatic Millionaire) walks readers through a nine-step program for spending wisely, establishing security, and aligning money with one’s values.  What I love most about this book is that it provides specific advice and actionable tips.

Bach mentions that we should never put all of our eggs in one basket and instead recommends that we put our “eggs” in three separate baskets: the security basket, the retirement basket, and the dream basket.

The book includes detailed information about how to choose between different retirement options and life insurance plans.  This info is particularly useful for millennials who may not have started investing yet and might not be familiar with life insurance options.

What I Watched

I watched Limitless and finished the last season of Scandal.  Limitless was okay but it wasn’t my favorite, and Scandal is as excellent as always.  The plot is a bit ridiculous, but it’s fun and addicting.

In Case You Missed It

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4 Ridiculous Wedding Etiquette Rules that Need to Change


Which Debt Payoff Method is Better – The Snowball or The Avalanche? All Posts / Saving Money / Student Loan Debt

If you don’t know who Dave Ramsey is, you might not be familiar with the concept of the “debt snowball.”  So, what the heck does that even mean?

A “debt snowball” means paying off your smallest debts first, while making the minimum payments on your larger debts.  Once the smallest debt is paid off, you then move on to the next smallest debt, and proceed with this process until all of your debts are paid off.

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Month in Review: June 2016 All Posts / Life / More

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Overall, June was an AMAZING month!  It’s been hectic and crazy, but it has also been SO worth it.  Two wonderful things happened: this blog earned triple digits in income for the first time, and the hubby and I adopted a sweet little pug puppy named Herbie.  Here’s a breakdown of our successes, failures, and highlights for the month of June!

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