Starting to Tackle Your Student Loans

Like most recent graduates, I have my fair share of student loan debt. The difference between me and other graduates is that I have parents who really want to help me get out of that debt.

For graduation, while most of my friends were getting cash and cars, my parents gave me a book on finance. It was Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. Although I've always had a job since I was 16, I never really knew much about money besides the fact that I should try to save some, so I sat down and read the book in only three days. It wasn't necessarily the most enjoyable read, but it was easy enough to get through and very informative.

I won't sit here and explain to you what the entire book says (although I do suggest that you go out and read it yourself if you have any sort of debt, not just student debt) but it is a step-by-step process on how to get out of debt, save up money, and then invest that money to become wealthy. I think that what I liked most about the book was that it didn't feel like someone was lecturing me on all of the poor choices I've made, but it just tells you what not to waste your money on. I also liked that it gives you a light at the end of the tunnel. With the student loans that I have right now, if I can find a job with a fairly decent salary and not waste all of my money, I can pay off my loans in around 2.5 years.

My graduation from college was only a week ago, and I've already put over a thousand dollars towards my loans. I am fortunate enough to have a very giving extended family that gifted me that money for graduation, and I immediately turned around and paid off two small loans. It is only the tip of the iceberg, but it makes me feel better to know that two out of my nine loans are paid off already. I'm hoping to continue to put at least $1,000 per month into my loans this summer since I will have a steady income, which should make more of a dent into those loans. However, I do not have a job yet for September, so that may have to pause after this summer internship.

I know very little about personal finance, but it is important for post-grads to understand their debt and to put energy into getting rid of it as soon as possible. I know right now we are all terrified at tackling those loans, especially for those of us who don't have a permanent job yet, but it can be done as long as you make it a real focus in your life.

Liz Cipriani

My name is Liz and I'm a 22 year old with a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation. I love beer and fashion and exploring the outdoors, and am currently figuring out how to do all of the above on a post-grad budget.

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