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Financial Literacy

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Pursuing a degree in higher education comes with many costs, namely a financial cost. It is inevitable that through this journey we will most likely incur debt, but it’s vital that we be committed to understanding financial literacy, engage in active financial planning, and live frugally in order to keep our student loan debt to a minimum.

Having an understanding of financial literacy is the first step to keeping debt low. How well a person manages their money, whether borrowed or earned, is a reflection of their understanding of financial literacy. As students, we have many resources available to us at our respective university’s Financial Aid Department. We can learn many things from them, including, but not limited to the following:

Managing debt

Options of repayment

Loan forgiveness programs

What sources to borrow from

Refinancing loans

Efficiently budget

It is important to financially plan and have an economic mindset. Active financial planning includes taking out minimum loans and budgeting accordingly. For me that has included taking out enough money for my education, cost of living, and a little extra to cover groceries, gas, books, and miscellaneous costs. Since this is the first time in my life where I have not worked or received financial help from my family, I have been forced to live frugally. Eating out weekly has been cut down to monthly treats. Concerts have become free events in the community and on campus. Trips to the movie theater have become trips to Red Box. Gym memberships have morphed into using the Recreation Center.

Between classes, studying, and extracurricular meetings and events, I quite honestly don’t have much time where I could be spending money. Being a part of clubs that I am passionate about gives me something to put my time and energy towards, and I never thought about it until now: it’s also free!

Learning to budget wisely now will translate to better money management in the future. Despite the financial burdens of dental school, this is the best investment we will ever make!