Do They Offer Debt Management Degrees?

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!

Join Canadian Budget Binder on Facebook HERE or Twitter HERE.. come join in on the conversation. Cheers Mr.CBB

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  1. I never got the chance to go to any kind of secondary school. Partially my fault, partially life. Now whats stopping me is definately life. I wish i could do some kind of schooling, distance would be about the only way I could even consder it now. I will make sure not to get in over my head any furthur than I have. Atempting to dig out now. It will be one of the hardest things I do but looking forward to it.

    1. It’s best to assess your situation and chose what is right for you. Getting in over your head is not a smart idea but if you really want to go to school it’s not a bad investment either. Cheers Mr.CBB

  2. great post! I think the biggest obstacle for most everyone is control spending, and sticking with it and not giving up.

  3. (aka Shelley Chenier)
    I did the whole college experience when i was young…which landed me in debt; both credit card and student loans. As an adult I went back and also earned a BA through distace education as Wendy Ann did (we met during an online class). It is a lot cheaper, but i still ended up owing $17,000, which I’ll be paying off for another 6 or 7 years. Plus some money I had to put on my line of credit when the government wouldn’t loan me any more money because I met and moved into my (future at that time) husband. I’m just glad that i don’t have credit card debt to worry about, that’s the one that scares me the most!! After graduating from university I didn’t find a job in my field but went back to doing the job I earned my college degree in!

  4. Great article! I think this happens to a lot of students. I have two university educated sisters, one went well into debt and the other is paying most of it off while she goes. They’re smart. I was lucky and didn’t have to go into debt for college. I think “control spending” is going to be the most difficult task for me right now!

  5. Thanks for sharing, this goes along great with the previous blog from Mr. CBB with advice to upcoming univerisy/college students. I wonder if a lot of students really realize how much everything really adds up and then has to be paid back as soon as school is done. I know in my case I had trouble finding a job when I first finished school. Luckily I was smart enough to save as much as I could while in high school, and then working when I could while attending university. I also watched my spending the whole time. Because of that I was able to survive O.K. until I found a job, but it sure was tough, some people aren’t that lucky. A mandatory debt management class for all univerisy/college students would be a great idea!

    1. That’s just it, some students believe that there will be the ‘big career’ as soon as they are done. I’m sure there are lots of grads that would be happy to shed some light on that dream. In 2012 we really need to start thinking ahead. Thanks for your comment Joanna. Mr.CBB

      1. Yes, I think a number of students are a little naive as to the realities of the job market when they graduate. Some think that just because they have that diploma that they will get a good paying job quite easily but that is just not how it works.

  6. Education can be expensive. I did my Honors BA through Distance Education which allowed me to keep the costs down compared to going away to school. As an adult learner it didn’t matter to me about getting the “University” experience; I just wanted to get my degree. Distance Learning may help other keep down the costs of higher education.

    Wendy Ann (Hastings)

      1. The costs are much cheaper. I think that mature student may opt for distance education. I have a feeling that younger students will opt for on campus as they are looking for the whole experience no matter what the cost.
        I went on to go to Teacher’s College, this time on campus. I graduated last spring but have not been able to find a job teaching. It is tough to break into teaching right now. The board where I live has not opened their supply list for over a year and there is no sign of it opening up for applicaitons anytime soon. For now I am working in a non-teaching job but still volunteer in the school system in order to keep current.

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