One of the biggest things that holds people back from living their dreams is debt. It doesn’t even matter what kind of debt it is. If you are trying to craft a life on your own terms, then being too deep into debt is a driver for bad decisions that don’t help you much later in life.
And that includes student debt. You may think that it’s an investment in your future, but the reality is that the debt can be so great that you end up delaying your dreams. Things like buying a house can be delayed. You may also have to delay taking that dream job because you had to take a job you didn’t really want right out of college because you needed to start paying that debt right away.
The best route forward is to avoid taking on that student debt. There are ways to pay for college so you don’t need to get in over your head. It will take hard work and planning but given enough time, you can graduate debt free. In this article, I will give you some ideas on how to do this.
A great way to pay for things short term is to make investments. Think of investing as making your money work for you. Instead of taking on an extra job, your money is out there doing the job and bringing home a paycheck.
Don’t be intimidated by investing if you don’t know much about it as how to buy stocks online without a broker is not that difficult. There are stocks called ETFs that essentially let you do trading without actually doing it yourself. These are great for short term gains. If you only have a few years to make as much as possible before starting college then these are ideal.
The yields generally are high so you can usually beat the average when it comes to other types of stocks like index funds or some types of mutual fund. In a few years you may be able to pay for a semester with your dividends and then let the principal keep plugging away so every year you get a nice payout.
The best part is that you don’t even have to lift a finger and if the returns are high enough then you could get away with keeping your stocks even after you’ve graduated. Especially if you are using other means in conjunction with the dividends.
If you are in high school and studying you probably think that you don’t have much time to study and work at the same time. Luckily, there are a lot of things that you can do in your spare time to make extra money. And in a few years this can really add up. So much so that you can then use those savings to do things like invest to make even more money.
Some of the things are very low effort. For example, you can do things like furniture flipping where you buy cheap furniture like kitchen tables and sofas at auction and then sell them for a big margin on things like Facebook Marketplace. You can easily double what you paid and only put in a few hours per week to make a few hundred at a time.
Then there is starting a blog which can make you a full time income if you put in the work early on. It works through a system called affiliate marketing and many people make a lot of money doing this.
To make money this way you simply start a site about a topic you know something about and write articles that people are asking. So, if you are a rock climber then you would give advice to people looking to get into the sport. Within the articles is advertising that pays you an income but also affiliate links. These links will direct people to a product that if they buy you get a commission.
There are a lot of other types of ways to make money without really that much effort and in your spare time so you aren’t interfering with your studies.
Hack your college degree
This may seem like I’m suggesting something shady, but in reality it is something totally legitimate. You can reduce the cost of your degree quite a bit so the first couple of years of your studies are not going to cost much which makes it affordable to pay on your own.
The idea is that you go to a community college for the first two years. Many community colleges cost only a few thousand dollars per year which can easily be paid in cash. You may even qualify for some small scholarships that will pay it completely since it is not much money to begin with.
During this time you can take all of the required courses that a four year degree makes you take regardless so you aren’t paying a high tuition for ordinary classes. After those two years, you then transfer to your college of choice and get your bachelor’s degree there.
Then, you have two more years to put money together to pay the higher tuition when you start the four year college of your choice. Which, incidentally, will be cheaper if you go to a state college where you are a resident.
Stick to a budget
Make sure that when you get to college you are not out spending money like crazy. You will likely be under pressure to go out drinking with your new friends, but try to resist and only go once in a while. You need to be making money while you are there and socking all of the extra money you have to put towards your tuition.
You may also have to take extra time to finish your degree and there is nothing wrong with that. If you only take as many classes as you have cash for then you may end up taking five or six years to complete but you will be glad you did if it can be done debt free.