I Paid Cash for Graduate School and You Can Too!

The following post is by TaNiqua.

I graduated with my undergraduate degree in spring 2013. I took the summer off and began graduate school in fall 2013. I debated on whether or not to further my education. I decided I didn’t have anything better to do and might as well pursue it.

giphy 1

I looked into applying at schools. I only had two schools in mind and only ended up applying to one which was the one I really wanted to go to. I began applying for scholarships and received a full tuition scholarship to a graduate program. Applying for scholarships is fundamental if you want to go to school without accumulating debt. It may seem tedious but any scholarship is better than no scholarship.

giphy 3

The next thing that is important is finding a full time job. Yes, you can work full time and go to school full time if you are motivated and use your time wisely. Even though I had my tuition covered I still had to pay additional fees for school. Those additional fees had to come out of pocket. I had about $2,000 additional fees each semester. Fortunately, I was in a position living with someone so I did not have to pay rent and even though I had a full time job I was not making that much money. I got paid biweekly and would put at least $150 if not more towards my additional school fees with each paycheck. I was on a tight budget but I made it work. I just had to prioritize my expenses. Luckily, school came first for me. I went into debt for my undergraduate degree and was determined not to for my graduate degree.

I also paid for all my books cash or got them as gifts. I would shop around and find the best deal for books. I would either rent books or buy the ones I knew I would need to keep. My parents would always ask me what I wanted for either Christmas or my birthday which is in May. I would always ask for at least one book. Christmas helped me at least get a book for the spring semester and my birthday would help me get a book for my fall semester.

Any extra money I had went straight to my additional fees and I made it a personal goal to always have my additional fees paid off the month before school ended. It is possible to work full time, go to school full time, and graduate within 2 years with a graduate degree…I did it!

Let the awesome come to you. Give me your email and I’ll give you all my new posts -- win, win!

Paying off Credit Card Debt: How it Saved Me

Do you know what they call credit cards in Japan? Loan cards. Because that’s exactly what these deceptive little pieces of plastic are. We don’t actually realize that each time we swipe our credit cards, we are essentially borrowing money at a hefty interest rate. Paying off credit card debt wasn’t a real concern to me when I got my first credit card during junior year of college at the oh-so-smart age of nineteen.

By the time I graduated, I was in deep trouble. I didn’t have to take out a student loan for my undergraduate degree, so I thought I would be debt-free for the rest of my life. I was lucky enough to get a good on campus job that was sufficient at first to pay off several hundred dollars each month in bills. Looking back, I know my problem was that I was financially overconfident. And, like most people, I thought credit cards were a fact of life. My parents and some of my older friends had several credit cards so I thought getting one was simply a part of transitioning into adult life. Oh, how naïve I was.

giphy paying off credit card debt

So in 2011, there I was, a twenty two-year-old fresh out of college with a $10, 000 credit card debt looking for a job in a market shaken by a global recession. I was completely depressed, furious at myself and scared out of my wits. I was struggling to pay rent, utility bills, Internet bills and other essentials on top of the debt. I sincerely didn’t think I was going to survive all that. Then, I received a golden piece of advice that might have very well saved my life.

The Golden Rule to Paying Off Credit Card Debt

Pay more than the minimum requirement. That’s right. It came from my landlady, of all people. I’ve been paying the minimum amount each month on my debt which barely covered the accrued interest. Basically, I was going nowhere near reducing my overall balance with the minimum payment. It turns out no one does. The only way to make any real progress in paying off a debt is to at least double the minimum payment. Otherwise, you will only ever pay off the monthly interest, for years to come.

Once I got that down, it was time for the nitty-gritty aspects of being debt-free. I had to do everything I could to raise my income level to pay double the minimum amount on my debt.  I had a full daytime entry-level job that paid only a pittance. So after getting off from my “proper job” at 5 p.m. every weekday, I did part-time shifts at the local Taco Bell. Trust me, it was a real nightmare in there to get extra shifts, especially for the weekends. So I went from store to store looking for part-time weekend shifts until a local bar took me in to serve drinks on Saturdays. Both these jobs paid only the minimum wage, but it was enough to earn me several hundred dollars each month, all of which went towards paying off credit card debt.

Perhaps, the hardest part was controlling compulsive buying. I fully stopped eating out. I made my entertainment budget zero and stopped shopping for clothes from anywhere other than the Salvation Army. Ramen was largely my food of choice. It may sound extreme to some but I only had to tolerate two years of this and then I was completely, truly debt free. I felt like a bird in the summer. Oh, and now I only use a single debit card.

senator tom paying off credit card debt

What strategies have you used to pay off debt?

How to Make Children Aware about the Importance of Money

Today we have a guest post from Tina Roth. Enjoy! I came across a quote a few days back on a friend’s social media timeline, which kept me thinking for the days that followed. Here’s the quote: “The price of something is different from its … Continue reading...

Saying Goodbye is Such Sweet Sorrow

Hey all! Kayla here. I just wanted to give you an update because this will be my last post on RDS. Although this was not originally my site, I've loved being able to take it, put my own spin on it, and run with it. Erin had an awesome thing … Continue reading...

5 Ways to Save Money on Happy Hour

When I was still working at my job before I quit to work for myself, I used to LOVE going to Happy Hour with my co-workers or other friends after work. This was one way we celebrating making it to the end of another week, especially during … Continue reading...

Why You Should Give Yourself a Weekly Allowance

Today we have a guest post from a reader about how she manages her finances. Enjoy! I have been giving myself a weekly allowance for the past two months. This was my plan with starting my new job. I only get paid at the end of the month so … Continue reading...

Addicted to TV? Here are 5 Cheap Alternatives to Cable

Last summer I finally cut the cord and quit paying for cable. Ok, technically I had satellite TV, not actually cable. That's because satellite TV is actually cheaper in my community than cable. Yep! And it has more channels, which may or may … Continue reading...

Creating a New Normal, Without Debt

The following is a guest post from Harmony at Creating my Kaleidoscope. Enjoy! What seems blasphemous now, felt perfectly normal back then. We married young and bought a small house; so far, so good.  It wasn't long, however, until … Continue reading...

4 Fun Things I’ll Do When I’m Debt Free Someday

Sometimes it's just nice to think fantasize about all the things I'll be able to do with my money when it's really mine someday. You know, after my debts are ALL paid off. It's going to be a while before this happens. I set a goal to be 100% free … Continue reading...

Have a Merry Christmas and a Frugal New Year

Well guys, Christmas is finally (almost) here. It doesn't really feel like it in my neck of the woods because the weather has certainly been warm lately. Yesterday was 50+ degrees and it's predicted to be that warm for the rest of the week. We … Continue reading...