Good morning Loves. Today we have a very special guest joining us, Mel from Broke Girl Rich is here to help our college student and grad readers manage your money and get out of debt. Mel believes in the value of a good education; 3 degrees and over $20k of debt later she lived to tell the story of her money life in college. Please welcome her to Blonde & Balanced, she’ll be checking in so feel free to ask her any questions. Enjoy!
Where did you go to school and what was your degree
I actually went to a lot of school. I attended a state school in NJ for my B.A. and double majored in theatre production and literature. Then I went to Liberty University and got a Masters of Divinity and a few years later I went to the University of Sheffield and got a M.A. in Theater and Performance Studies.
Were you broke in college?
I had two very different college experiences. For my B.A. and the majority of my Masters of Divinity, my parents footed the bill for anything scholarships didn’t cover. So I definitely didn’t feel broke then. I had a credit card from (my parents) for emergencies and a pretty good part time job that covered all of my spending needs.
When I went back to school a few years later for my M.A., I definitely felt broke. I footed that entire bill myself between my savings and loans. I knew I would have to pay back every penny I spent, so I was pretty money conscious the entire time.
I took out one traditional student loan from Sallie Mae for $3,000 and then a $20,000 – 0% interest loan from my grandmother.
What’s the biggest money mistake you ever made in college?
The biggest mistake I made was putting the end of my Masters of Divinity on my credit card. My credit card! For Pete’s sake, the interest rates were RIDICULOUS. I should’ve applied for a traditional student loan for my last semester. I would’ve saved thousands of dollars in interest.
What’s the biggest money mistake you think college students make?
I think the biggest money mistake is picking WHICH college to attend. Really looking into tuition and related costs should be just as much a part of your search as how good the program is and what campus life is like. Making that one big decision in the right way will save you tens of thousands of dollars.
How did you spend most of your money in college?
I spent most of my money eating out. I feel like I lived in the local diner. Honestly, it could’ve been a lot worse though. I went to school in the Pine Barrens in NJ, so there wasn’t a lot immediately around. I spent a fair amount on gas just doing stuff like going bowling or going to the movies.
How should college students budget so they’re not broke?
I think students just need to start any budget and their finances will improve like crazy! I never used one in college and never had any clue where my money was going. It’s so much easier to make informed decisions if you just know all the facts.
Maybe all those diner trips are worth it and you’d rather cut back on gas to the movies from time to time? Or maybe once you see how much all those diner trips cost, you cut back once a week and save that money to start your emergency fund instead.
Photo from Flickr