Sacrifices are defined as to surrender or give up, for the sake of something else. From the time we are born, we are given the ability to make choices that define who we become. We sacrifice time to make money, we sacrifice sleep to be there for people we love, and we sacrifice our health for success. It is like that game would you rather – In life we make the choice to go to college. We were told you need a college education to get a good job. We were told not to worry about taking out student loans, as we would be able to pay them back with no issues. For 4 years, you signed on a dotted line accepting responsibilities for the money you took out. The dream job never happened. The degree was never finished. Life happened and getting right side up, as Millennial has been impossible due to the 2009 market crash, the Boomers staying in jobs longer, or the housing market increasing. We can make up all the excuses in the book but at the end of the day we made these choices. Now, what defines you is what you do next.
TAKE ACTION: You have a mountain of student loan debt, so the first step is to take action! Stop allowing life to just happen. Sit down and figure out every single student loan you have along with interest rates and list them from smallest to largest. This will give you focus as well as a reality check of that mountain you are about to climb.
CREATE A BUDGET: This includes all your necessary expenses and all your income. Your expenses include your 4 walls – shelter, transportation, food, and clothing. Everything else is a want not a need. If your expenses are exceeding your income it is time to trim the fat your expenses as well as pick-up a second job as those loans will never go down if you are only paying the minimum.
REMOVE UNNECESSARY EXPENSES: The multiple streaming services or going out to eat are wants. Anything that is not part of the four walls should be deleted from your life. Keep in mind this is not a permanent deletion but a temporary one. When you focus you can succeed. Cut the noise in your life.
LEARN TO SAY NO: If you don’t want to be broke anymore you need to learn to say NO. With social media now a day we can see all the good parts of someone’s life. If you saw my social media you would think I travelled 24/7. I wish I did, but those are most of the things I post. It easy to hide the 60-hour work weeks or the fact that I live with 4 roommates in Los Angeles, CA. Learning to say no to going out to eat with friends or taking a trip is hard, but remember that there is an end.
SET GOALS: Antoine De Saint-Exupery said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish”. You need to set financial and life goals if you are going to dig yourself out this hole. What is a dream you have that isn’t materialistic?
Your $30,000+ in student loan debt is not a death sentence. There is a way out, but that means there needs to be sacrifice. In the Disney movie Up Carl and Ellie were constantly saving change in a jar for their next adventure, but life would always get in the way of them taking that trip to Paradise Falls. Don’t let life get in the way. Plan for your next adventure and do everything humanly possibly to get there. Remember that your student loans are just an obstacle, but it isn’t something that is impossible.