Cutting Back and My College Budgeting

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Even if you’re not in college, perhaps the tips can still help you if you’re trying to save up for a house or these tips can help someone you know who is heading off to college. I graduated quickly and paid off all my loans within a year. I recommend trade schools, and what I enjoyed the most about my career choice was that I could graduate in under two years.  The quicker you get out, the less debt and juggling.  Trade schools are great options because there are usually many job opportunities after graduation. Here are some tips on cutting back.

Like most millennials, I did not have a college fund, and in court reporting, the more you work, the longer you will take in school and the less chance you have of making it out (90% dropout rate). So cutting back bills is the top priority.

I liked living with spending as little as possible because it made me feel like I could make it very comfortably on 2K a month, which is empowering. When I left home at 16 in Hawaii, I lived on my own netting 1200 a month after taxes. I used many of the ways I made it work then while in college.

Here are the ways to cut back your bills as much as possible:

  • Don’t view being poor as a disadvantage, but a challenge in frugality and encouragement toward minimalism. It’s all mindset.
  • Wear as little makeup as possible while in college. I would only wear a swipe of eyeliner and concealer. Makeup is time-consuming and expensive. Don’t worry about hair either. Just tie it back.
  • Make minimalism your passion. Embrace living with as little as possible. Who cares what people think of your mattress on the floor or bare wardrobe. Prioritizing education over vanity is to be commended.
  • Stick to a rotation of 10 recipes. Get really good at cooking them. Use the Crock-Pot for at least a third of them — and all of them if you live in a dorm.
  • Eat with rice at every dinner as a side. Cheap, easy to make, and delicious.
  • Buy store brand everything except Q-tips and mayo.
  • Get a prepaid cell plan. I only spent $10 a month on my phone in college.
  • Make a weekly uniform even if your school does not have one. Make dressing as easy as possible.
  • Pets, travel, and fashion/makeup/hair are the most expensive things to be focusing on, so stay away from all three if at all possible in college.
  • Live as close to your school as you can so you can spend the bare minimum in gasoline and not worry about buying an affordable car off Craigslist. I lived within walking distance from my school.
  • Rent a room, not apartment. You won’t have to pay for electricity, internet, water, and maybe even some food.
  • Drink only water.
  • Do not go to a school that’s accredited or boasts a lot of things that don’t matter:  Many extras are just a way to charge more money.

The most noticeable improvements on coming into good income was that I could furnish my place exactly how I wanted, I could have complete privacy, and I enjoyed having internet on my phone. The other things on this list, I still follow, and sometimes I miss the bare bones simplicity that I’m tempted to sell all my things and live in a studio near the beach. It is not a sacrifice to live minimally; if you embrace this way of living, you will enjoy every phase of your life.

2 thoughts on “Cutting Back and My College Budgeting

  1. Hi Melody, I really enjoy what you’re doing here and at YouTube and try to catch your content regularly. I agree with the points listed here on this post except for the comment about (not) going to an accredited trade school. This seems counter intuitive. Can you explain your rationale? Most equate accreditation with legitimacy and quality. These are two areas many trade schools seem to traditionally have issues with (along with their grads finding good paying jobs upon completion, but those are topics for another post!).
    Thanks for what you’re doing here!

    • Hey Catherine,

      I originally went to an accredited online school and lost over 3,000 for just two months of school. They made promises they could not keep, and so that was the reason I had to quit (thankfully, without racking up 70,000 in student loans). After that I went in real-life to a school that was not accredited and finished school in 15 months and spent only 5,000 total for those 15 months. Also, the school down the street from the school I graduated from was not accredited and did a fantastic job. All that said, I am not saying that accredited schools are a bad idea, but just that no one should pay over a certain amount for court reporting school. In my opinion, I cannot recommend anything more than $500 a month, especially considering the graduation rate of all schools. But the threshold of what is reasonable depends on the person — what they’re looking for and what they have to spend.

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