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:
Options of repayment
Loan forgiveness programs
What sources to borrow from
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!