All About the Benjamins: Avoiding Debt As A Young Adult

Be it high school or college,learning financial stewardship can never start too early in life.

Of all the life “lessons” I have learned, being financially responsible is one that was the hardest for me to employ.

By the time I understood what debt was, I was in it. And it started when I was a young adult in college.

I used my ignorance as my excuse for a long time, but eventually, the excuse that “you didn’t know” just doesn’t cut it.

This post isn’t meant to be an in-depth financial how-to but more of a financial how-not.

If you are in debt’s snare, maybe this can help pinpoint where you stumbled. After all, admitting your financial irresponsibility is half the battle. If you are debt free, I pray that this can be a word of encouragement for you to keep yourself out of debt!

1.  Give back what God has blessed.  Tithing is a sticky subject for many of us. I have always struggled with tithing. The money never seemed to be “there” yet I always found ways to go out and eat or buy more stuff.

Regardless of how little it is, remember that everything we have belongs to God.

Get in the habit of tithing early, so as your cash flow increases, you aren’t forgetting to budget that money back into your monthly giving. (2 Corinthians 9:7)

2.  Avoid credit cards like the plague! If you cannot afford it when you purchase it, my guess is that you won’t be able to pay for it when the bill comes in.

70% of cardholders carry a balance with an average interest rate of 18.1%.

If you have credit cards, cut them up. Do you really need an American Eagle and Hollister credit card? Nope.

3.  If you are going to college, don’t take out student loans if at all possible. Student loans caused my debt to snowball out of control. By the time I finished school, I owed more than I was making.

Consider going to a junior college for two years where tuition is lower or possibly free.

In-state college tuition saves a lot. Buy used books. Work a few extra hours a week to pay on tuition. I cannot promise it will be easier, but a few sacrifices now will save the worry later.

 

“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity,

 but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”

Proverbs 21:5

4.  Start budgeting now. Writing your bills down on paper will help you see what you have going out versus coming in. Nothing worse than realizing there’s more weeks left than paycheck.

You can use this PDF to help: BUDGET WORKSHEET FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS

5.  Save up an emergency fund and don’t touch it unless there’s an emergency. A new shoe purchase does not count ladies!

6.  If you get in financial trouble, ask for help. There’s a difference here between people who need a little help and people who want to be carried through life. Most parents will help you out of a tight squeeze but there’s no excuse for you to get back into the financial mess they just so selflessly helped you out of. 

Welcome to the world of adulthood. 

A few resources that are FREE and USEFUL. Two of my favorite things:

www.daveramsey.com

www.mint.com

Do you have anything else to add? Let me hear it!

Don’t forget to follow Heartskeeper on Facebook and sign up for email updates!

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