It’s not just Canada where most students are finding themselves under water before they even graduate,it’s happening all over the world. Read this guest post by my mate Michael Edmondstone in the UK who had the wake up call of a lifetime. Mr.CBB
Guest Post By: Michael Edmondstone
A degree, a wealth of memories and… thousands of pounds of debt; that’s what I left University with, and I’d wager that plenty of other students have the same outcome. With the job market tight and the realisation that I’d overspent during my three years, it was a scary time trying to understand how I’d be able to get out of this sticky patch.
Sticky patch may well have been an underestimation considering the two credit cards I’d managed to max out – not to mention the tuition fees and student loans. Low interest was a great deceiver in more naïve times but they’d gone and I had to face up to £3,500 credit card debt I had. And, since I have, I thought I’d share it with everyone else.
So, here it goes:
- Understand where you’re at – The first thing to do is to ensure that you know exactly what you owe, from where and why. This will be a painful task but one that has to be done properly. It will take you to your worst point, and will start you on the road to recovery because now you can try to solve the problems.
- Control spending – Once I knew what I was working towards, it was time to trawl through the money saving experts and seek all the things to could save money on – mobile phone bills, insurance, utility prices, mortgage rates – these could all be looked at with a view to saving. Budget planning is essential, and don’t forget that impulse purchases have to go – no matter how hard that sounds. I found that my habits of a morning coffee, lunch out with friends, mid-afternoon snack, my three cans of coke a day and rattling through a 10-pack of cigarettes was causing a dire problem – not to mention that gym membership I had which was underused and, ultimately, unnecessary.
- Figure out a payment plan – You’ve figured out a budget but are you sure you couldn’t be paying less back? Using a website to search through the best credit cards enabled me to move my debts into a lower interest rate account and pay this off quicker. If that’s not a possibility then always be sure that you are paying off the highest interest rate first because that brings the finishing date a hell of a lot closer.
- Don’t give up – When I look back at my time at University I still think that it was the best time of my life but, ultimately, I was naïve. Stupid even – I was taken in by the bright lights. It was hard at first to understand how I’d managed to create such a problem but no matter how long it takes, never give up on paying this off because it will feel so good at the end – trust me.
The integral parts to my success, I feel, were recording my spending and using the internet to get great deals. From selling books I no longer needed to comparing credit card rates and knowing how much I spent on petrol each month to whether I bought too much Pepsi - it was a tough journey but one that is easier than it first appears. I was going to have a coffee now, but on second thoughts, I think I’ll leave it.
Michael Edmondstone is a trained journalist who has written for a variety of print and digital publications in the UK and Tanzania. He’s addicted to the internet, which is a good way to stop him spending money.
He’s been a fool with his finances in the past but feels his former stupidity has only served to increase his resolve to save for the future. He loves football but only watches it from home – the stadium fees are just so darn expensive!
- Canadian Credit Cards Can Provide Some Great Perks! What’s your cup of Tea? (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- Why the word Budget Hurts Our Ears
Photos Courtesy of:Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>