How I’m Graduating College Debt-Free
Many of my classmates and friends outside of college have asked me how I’m graduating college debt free, especially when tuition rates have skyrocketed over the past decade and continue to increase.
Honestly, I did not know how big of a deal this was until I learned how detrimental student loans can be. I also noticed that most of my college friends took a loan, received financial aid, or had the funds to afford it.
In this post, I will not tell you the “secret key” to graduate debt-free because there is no such thing. Also, I will not tell you how you can graduate college debt-free because your situation might be different from mine. However, I will tell you how I’m doing it and perhaps give you an idea of what to do.
My Freshman year was covered by Financial Aid.
My Freshman year in college was the only time I received financial assistance from the government. During that time, I was living with my parents (and my enormous family) with only one income coming in.
Due to that reason and the amount of money coming in, the financial aid office and the city’s program determined they’d cover that year. This saved me over $10,000! So it was a major factor in helping me graduate college debt-free.
My husband and I were saving money for the years to come.
I got married to my soulmate! That’s a different story. My husband also graduated from college debt-free and wanted me to do the same.
As we planned ahead, we decided to set aside at least 10% of the paycheck and save it towards my education because we knew that our income was going to disqualify me from getting financial aid for the following years.
We started our own business.
We created our marketing and advertising business. This brought in the income we needed. Besides saving 10% from the normal 8-5 paycheck (not 9-5), we saved 15% from our business’ income.
This was not easy! It took time, dedication, and a large amount of money upfront. We took a risk that paid off, and also taught me a lot about marketing, SEO, and advertising.
Starting your own business is helpful to graduate college debt-free.
I started another business by myself.
If you navigated elennyfrometa.com, you know that my goal is to promote independence, freedom, and great finances among women to close the financial gap between men and women.
You can get the 10 Steps to Manage Your Money Like a pro here!
My business was in the marketing and advertising niches. However, it was different because its main focus was to help women by promoting health-related news, finances, beauty, etc.
This business also brought in a good income which went towards my education, business expenses, and those little pleasures that satisfied my closet.
We became better at saving money.
This one is a no-brainer, but many fail. Saving money is not about setting money aside that you will not touch unless an emergency arises. It is about creating a budget that specifies what percentage of your income goes where.
Each month, we spent the same percentage on groceries, utilities, transportation, books, personal development, shopping, etc. Since we are imperfect humans, we had temptations but never went broke.
Did not have a wedding.
We did not have a wedding when we got married! I know you have heard that cliché of a big wedding being every girl’s dream. Well, not mine.
We never believed in the idea of spending thousands of dollars on a huge wedding party that involved food, chairs, tables, decorations, flowers, etc. It simply never interested me nor him.
Instead of spending money on all that, we got married wearing Uggs, jeans, and went to McDonald’s to grab salads. Then, when we got home, we played monopoly and I won.
I did not go away for College.
Many college students go away because they want to experience a different life or they simply want to get away from their parents.
Either way, you will spend much more than those who decide to stay home, which is what I did. It saved me room and boarding costs, food, and the lifestyle costs associated with being away from home. You can read about how a student graduated college debt-free here.
Saved money on books with online PDFs.
There are many legal websites that contain college books for free. Also, my friends and I used to exchange our books, sell them when we were done using them, and used that money to buy more.
Did some side gigs on my free time.
Yes, I was running two businesses and I did not need to do side gigs, but I wanted to. I used to write for websites, transcribe, test websites and apps. However, I used that money to invest it in myself.
This is how I’m able to graduate college debt-free.