Advice From a President – Work Hard, Live Free

The following words from great American President Calvin Coolidge represent a profound truth: Freedom is being able to enjoy the rewards your work produces.

Continue reading

Posted in Just for Fun, Motivation | Leave a comment

Cost Sharing Myths That Keep You in Debt

Everyone can enjoy the benefits of sharing costs and reducing risk and waste. Taking a few cues from economics shows us that reducing the amount of money we tie up in stagnant resources is good for our finances. Read on to find out how you can save serious money by sharing a little every now and then.

Continue reading

Posted in Debt, Saving, Spending | Comments Off on Cost Sharing Myths That Keep You in Debt

The Bridge Principle – Pay Ahead, Reduce Risk

Risk reduction is something we are all familiar with, as is getting a “jump start” on a project. I’d like to show you what I did to reduce the risks of paying for college while getting ahead financially. This principle is at the heart of a successful strategy to graduating debt free and it puts you in direct control of your money and your future – I like it! I call it the Bridge Principle. Read on to see how it works

Continue reading

Posted in Motivation, Students, Tools | Leave a comment

10 Tips to Debt-Proof Your Degree

This list is a collection of effective things I have personally done or observed that will help you graduate college with zero debt. Your goal is to get fired up and motivated to slash spending, boost income, and make decisions that will allow you to graduate without debt as well. It’s seriously the way to go. I’ve  included my own insight about why these things are beneficial and how they will contribute to your bottom line. The focus is on students getting ready for college, but most of this is great info for all students that I’ve picked up after years of researching and experiencing this industry firsthand.
Ready? Let’s do this! Continue reading

Posted in Motivation, Students, Tools | Leave a comment

What If We Started Speaking Honestly About Borrowed Money?

I’m a big proponent of telling it how it is. That’s why you can count on Debt Freeks to give you the truth when it comes to your money and your freedom. So what if the rest of the world started telling it like it is regarding borrowed money?

Continue reading

Posted in Just for Fun | Leave a comment

4 Things You Should Never Do With Student Loan Money

From the desk of the Debt Freeks, May 1, 2016.
Subject: Student Loan Mistakes

By now you probably know that the best way to get a college education is to do it debt free.
But if you are in the process of implementing your debt solution and still have loan disbursements coming up for this term, here are a few of the worst uses of student loan funds (or any borrowed money for that matter) that you should avoid at all costs:

Continue reading

Posted in Debt, Students | Leave a comment

Don’t Pay Your Student Loans After You Graduate

Yes, you read that right. It is crazy to pay your loans off after graduation.

But why? According to the Oregon Tech website, 88% of their graduates are employed within six months, raking in an average salary of $54K per year, and the average loan debt is a mere $30K. Seems totally doable. “With figures like that I could pay my loans off in, like, two years!”

OK, then. Why does it take between ten and twenty years for most graduates to pay off their loans, according to the latest figures from US News?

I’m not saying you shouldn’t pay your loans off at all, that would be irresponsible and immoral. It’s gotta be done, so what’s the best way to do it?

  • Debt forgiveness programs available to teachers, health workers, etc.?
  • Join the military?
  • Loan consolidation?
  • Hide under a rock?

The problem with these “solutions” is twofold:
1. The behaviors and choices that caused the debt are not altered
2. People who take these routes are still not free – they still owe someone else their time and they’re still locked in

The key point here is after graduation. The very best time to pay off your student loans in while you’re still in school!

You’re in a supremely unique position while attending college to maximize your income, cut costs, and make small incremental steps to actually beat your debt from the inside.

Slash expenses, increase income, and have some fun being creative about your money are the top three ways to debt-proof your degree.

Take these actions right now to get started:

  1. Create a Skeleton Budget – how much do you suppose you spend for the bare essentials right now (rent, food, transportation, utilities, tuition and fees) each month? Tally this up on one side of a page. Add up your wages, scholarships, and other income (but not loans) on the other side.
  2. Discover how much you’re borrowing – Look at your financial aid award letter or go online, check the loan amount for the year, and divide by 12 to get the monthly amount.
  3. Adjust your Skeleton Budget to reflect a decrease in borrowing by 34% – what can be changed to make it happen? The average student borrows about $500 a month, so 34% of this is only $175. Get creative, I know you can eliminate $175. Decreasing monthly borrowing by just 34%  will decrease the average student’s post-graduation loan burden by over $10,000!
  4. Create a little extra income and send a payment toward your student loans this month. Even $25 per month will keep interest from eating up your post-graduation earnings. Getting into the habit of attacking your debt from both sides each month will get you fired up! Start with just one thing – mow one lawn, clean one house, babysit for one night – and send that money right to your loan. You’ll be surprised how little things can add up.

Small strokes fell great oaks.

Let me know how you do in the comments.

Until next time,
Do Brave Deeds and Endure
– Ben at Debt Freeks

Posted in Motivation, Students | Comments Off on Don’t Pay Your Student Loans After You Graduate

Confessions of a (Reformed) Cheapskate

My personal money journey has been one of extremes. As a kid growing up, my family was pretty thrifty and a lot of that rubbed off on me. I distinctly remember cautioning myself as an 11 year-old to not use too much detergent in the dishwasher because we couldn’t afford to waste it.

Skip ahead to my first year in college and the opposite was true – I was a spending maniac! I chose a super expensive school, ate out quite a bit despite having great dining hall food, bought expensive items like cashmere lined leather gloves (seriously), and went nuts with the detergent. Late teenage rebellion, maybe. In any case, I was in deep.

Once I came to my senses, I did an exaggerated pendulum swing in the opposite direction – overcompensating like a boss. That is the trap I want to help you avoid as you start making decisions to take more control of your money, because the life of a cheapskate tightwad is not a rich life, no matter how much money you have.

Continue reading

Posted in Just for Fun, Students | Leave a comment

Money Management – Why Bother

There’s a power struggle taking place in this country right now.  I’m not talking about the election or politics at all. Regardless of your political leanings, there are entities that want to shift the power over your money from your control to theirs. Banks, advertising agencies, credit card companies, and other people who do not hold your best interest are in a constant struggle to convince you that you don’t have to be master of your own money or your own destiny.

There is a solution. There is a way to regain control of your life and make your own financial decisions.

The way to take back the control of your money and future is to start managing your money, and stop letting it manage you.

You might be wondering, “isn’t money management for old people? Won’t it take forever every month and prevent me from doing the things I actually want to do?”

I’ll tell you the main reason to take control of your money in this post – the reason big banks, political entities, and other institutions don’t want to you to know.

Full speed ahead, on Debt Freeks!

Continue reading

Posted in Debt, Saving, Spending | Comments Off on Money Management – Why Bother