July 16, 2017 BY COSMO MORABBI, THE GF PEACH GUY
The six months after graduating college are some of the most turbulent in your life. You enter the job market. You change your view of yourself, your position in life, and your next big goal.
Right when you’re getting your footing, your grace period expires and you have to start making student loan payments. When the message from birth is “Go to college or you’ll never live a good life”, why do so many graduates feel like losers?
Today, college is worth less on the job market and debts are higher than ever. In many ways, the promises of a college education are no more than lies.
Trust us, we started with over $180,000 in student loan debt
Before 1980, going to college actually did guarantee a better life. College graduates could command better salaries, had more opportunities, and could avoid hard labor.
Even if that college degree never paid off, the pre-1980’s student was taking on a lot less risk. A graduate who never used her degree could pursue other options. Today, they are afraid to leave a career path they no longer love. They're afraid of turning their diploma into an expensive piece of paper.
Part of the problem is that debt is much easier to get into now. It’s not only that schools have raised tuition, it’s that they’re offering different aid packages.
As recently as 1990, students who needed help to pay tuition had loans as only 20% of their standard aid packages. Today, 50% of a typical aid package is loans according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
What everyone’s wondering is, of course, is why today’s lazy college students won’t get a job. The issue isn’t that students don’t work, but that their wages don’t have the buying power they used to.
A full summer (480 hours of full time work) of minimum wage in 1979 would easily pay tuition at an average college. In the same situation today, it would take 2,229 hours. This would force a student to work full time all year around, even while attending classes full time. As the Atlantic reports, even the most dedicated students struggle with maintaining this lifestyle.
Once a student graduates college, their promised life is supposed to begin. Except that entry level jobs aren’t available without experience. Experience is gained through internships, and internships are frequently unpaid. The people in debt cannot afford to take on unpaid internships. It just becomes a vicious cycle that is killing entry level jobs, according to Forbes.
The next logical solution of entering graduate school doesn’t always help. While graduate school will open some jobs to you, you still need experience for most. Meanwhile, you’re racking up debt and losing money from lost wages and experience you could have gained from working. 25% of graduate students will borrow more than $100,000, according to a report by New America Federal Education Budget Project.
Of course, knowing that college isn’t the ticket to Easy Street doesn’t help when you’ve already gone. To pay off your debts, focus on side hustles, pick a payment strategy, and slash expenses. You need more money while spending less.
But before we get into money making, we want to make sure that you have a great idea of where your money goes. What we mean is "are you budgeting?" If not...
Now on to Side Hustles
A side hustle is a legitimate business that brings in money that you do in addition to your regular full time job or internship. In order for it to be a true side hustle, you have to make consistent money that’s more than you put in for materials, wear and tear on your property, and so on.
Finding an app-based side hustle is pretty easy. There are many apps now that exist to pay people to do things we previously had to do ourselves. Some of the easiest ad mot convenient are ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft. If you have a clean car in good condition, you can make good money driving shifts when you have the time.
Just know that driving is not necessarily a skill that will increase your income over time. If you want a true side hustle worth the time, consider ones that grow a skill or can turn into future business opportunities.
Saving Money online shopping is easier than it ever. Using Ebates can instantly earn you a $10. You could also look into doubling up your discounts by using Honey and Ebates together. Utilizing other money saving methods like couponing doesn't have to be hard now that we have the power of technology on our side. As a matter of fact we saved over $106 dollars on our last grocery trip (totaled $201 after discounts). That doesn't even include the 6% cash back we get on our credit cards. See how we coupon the simple way.
By far the most straight forward side hustle is a second job. Though you can earn money, steering clear of these jobs, unless transferable to your career is not meaningful to your resume. You’re not exercising your business skills, developing contacts, or investing in your passion. Investing time in developing your skill set in your career field can be far more valuable for your employer or business.
If you’re good at something, don’t do it for free. Freelancers can make a good wage, in part because they don’t get benefits or other compensation. This side hustle is a career in itself, so research before beginning!
Some of the well known freelance platforms are Upwork, Elance, Freelancer, Simplyhired, etc. Check out this comprehensive list of freelance websites.
While riskier than the previous methods mentioned, making money from a blog, Youtube channel, online sales, etc. can be extremely lucrative and idealistic for the financial freedom seeker. The key to being successful is utilizing your talents and skills to stand out while having a relentless drive to succeed while facing failures and challenges head on. As you grow organization skills and management also become key. If you wish to take this journey we can help you started with a website today.
Making more money won’t help if you don’t know how to manage it. Personal budgeting it tricky, and many people get through college without mastering the art. If you’re overwhelmed and don’t know how you’ll turn your income streams into debt relief, don’t panic: BUDGET.
The first step to any budget is finding out where your money is going and where it needs to go. A pen and paper will do, but most people find budgeting apps a great tool. Shop around until you find one that works for you.
You should have a strategy for how you deal with debt. This will involve weighing the different options and creating a plan. It is often suggested for you to tackle your highest interest loan first. On the other hand, paying off one or two thousand dollar loans first could free up their monthly payments. Apply them to another loan, or lean less on your credit cards.
Lastly, if organizing your debt is too stressful or confusing, go to a financial planner. Bring all your information and make it clear that your goal is to leave the session with a plan.
Debt changes how you can live in the here and now. You don’t have to embrace minimalism or austerity to pay off debt, but you do need to assess what’s important. Make cuts where you can, and invest with the rest.
Related: Great Ways To Save Money
Your biggest expense is going to be rent and transportation. You have to live somewhere, and get to and from work. Take a look at your situation and assess what’s realistic. Can you skip the car payments and use public transit to get around? Is it workable to walk or bike more places to cut down on gas consumption?
Rent is trickier. Many cities are expensive, and everyone’s in the same boat. If you live in a city, ask yourself whether the best career opportunities are here. Is there anywhere else you could be that is more affordable, and could still serve your career? It can be heartbreaking to leave a city you love, but it will be better to return in a few years without debt and ready to experience city life to its fullest.
For women, one of the biggest expenses for the workplace is attire. It’s unfair, it’s sexist, but it’s true: how you present yourself matters in any career field. Wearing professional clothes (and makeup) is more expensive for women than it is for men. This is one area of your budget where money is well spent. It’s better to have a few good, professional outfits than many poor quality outfits. Quality over quantity is key.
Don’t assume you’ll never go on vacation again. Instead of trying to find money “left” at the end of the month for fun, set a savings goal for vacations, trips, and fun. As long as you have student loans, you don’t have “extra” money—just money that you need to budget! Budgeting for a trip will help you avoid leaning on your credit cards as well.
College used to be a better bet for students. Today, higher debt, worse financial aid packages, and a lack of entry level jobs put college graduates between a rock and a hard place. The next time an older person wants to know why you didn’t just pay your way through college working, feel free to tell them you didn’t have an extra 2,300 hours a year lying around.