How to Graduate Debt Free

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So it’s over. The four (five in my case) “best years of your life” (debatable) have ended as quickly as they began. Now its time to face this job market you’ve heard your parents and news anchors talk about, or whatever is left of it. You may have heard it was bad, or that it was “getting better”, but nothing really matters to our invincible selves until it needs to. Student loans will kick in in T-minus 6 months from the day you walked across the stage, adding on a small mortgage to your monthly expenses. Mom and dad’s house is looking much more appealing because there’s a home cooked meal every night and your childhood bed to jump back into without it costing you a penny.

Without carrying on sarcastic and cynical about the real world college kids are being let into, I’m going to give you insight into a few ways I have been able to come out of 3 universities with NO student loans, the ability to travel freely, and begin a life on my own two feet at 23.

  1. Read books about money.

I was 17 when I was given Rich Dad Poor Dad and little did I know it would single handedly change my life. No one taught me about how money works, how to make it work for you, and how to put yourself in the 5% like this book did. I would be remiss not to share it with everyone I come in contact with. These are lessons they don’t teach you in the classroom, realities you may not know existed. Get educated on money because it does (un)fortunately rule.

Some of my other favorite books are any others by Robert Kiyosaki, The Millionaire Next Door, Think and Grow Rich, The Fire Starter Sessions, The Four Hour Work Week, The 10x Rule.

Fun fact: the richest people in the world also read 300% more than the average person.

  1. Find a mentor.

I have been so blessed to have some of the best mentors on the PLANET and can say so without bias. How I got them was by not only reaching out and placing myself in their presence, but by mimicking their every move. You become the 5 people you hang out with most. You will become successful in what you want by hanging out with successful people in that field or of that skillset. Want to be a great teacher? Shadow teachers who are well known for their job well done. Want to be a personal trainer? Hire one, become trained by them, then pick their brain about their training style and techniques as you develop your own.

Never be the smartest person in the room. Lose any ego you may have and become a sponge to those around you. Take bits and pieces that resonate with you from all types of people. You never know, your passion could be hidden somewhere you may least have expected.

  1. Invest.

Understand the concept of leverage in regards to money- turning a small, initial investment into a large return. Making money work for you. First, read up on mutual funds, stocks, and other places you can put a small amount of money so it can get to work compounding for you. Be aware of risk factors/prevalence.

The best system I was given was the Unfranchise business concept and owning franchises over the internet with Shop.com. This allowed me to create a leveraged stream of income by running a global internet e-commerce website connected to 4,000+ retail stores, which pay me and my customers. I also partnered with an exclusive product brokerage company which also provides me a leveraged income stream (meaning I don’t have to “clock in”). This was the game changer for my life and has given me the ability to live by my own terms. In my experience and opinion, this is your safest, most profitable bet.

  1. Work part time (or full time if you’re an overachiever like myself).

As fun as it would be to party every night of the week, still get good grades, and nap everyday, this will not leave you debt free. Spoiler alert: alcohol costs money 😉 Going to school full time is hard enough, trust me, but if you want to make the most out of the bigger picture, get a part time job. Take classes in the morning and work at night or vise versa, but make it work. Do whatever type of job you have to do to get a paycheck so you can develop saving habits. You need money to make money– I call this disposable income. You need something coming in to not only work on those investments like we just talked about, but also to start putting away or developing a monthly tuition payment plan. We’re young, we bounce back. Working 20-30 hours a week will not kill you. We are invincible, remember 🙂

  1. Spend more time and money on self education.

Speaking of making money during your formal education years (college), here’s where you can utilize it and maximize each dollar you spend. Invest it into yourself. Buy those books about money I laid out for you, attend seminars on leadership, personal development, business, or your interest-related trainings. Become certified in things that will not only boost your resume, but advance your future career and skill set. These are things that will pay you dividends for the rest of your life.

I spent many Saturdays driving up and down the East coast to spend the day with speakers I admired, mentors, business or health moguls that would teach me exactly what I needed to do on a daily basis to get to the place I needed to be. No, it wasn’t the coolest thing to do on beautiful New England summer days. Yes, I may have been hungover once or twice from the night before. (You’re still in college, live a little). But formal education will make you a living while self education will make you a fortune.

  1. Do general education classes at a local community college then transfer to a school to obtain the degree (MAKE SURE THEY TRANSFER****-sincerely, 200+ unnecessary credit undergrad student).

Not much more to say here. I wish 18-year-old Amanda with her eyes on the “big name” would take her head out of the clouds and save $70k on general education classes. Psych 101 is Psych 101 no matter where you take it. Just make sure it transfers or you’ll take them 3 times over…

  1. Say yes to any and all opportunity.

Yes, you’re a full time student. Yes, you’re working part/full time on the side. Yes, you want to maintain a social life. Yes, you’re tired. Yes, you need to volunteer to make your resume look nice. Yes, you have exams and essays up to your eyeballs. Just when you can’t imagine saying “yes” to another thing, you need to do it one more time. Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes. I remember being asked to work a registration table and sign people into a meeting before becoming the youngest person appointed to Shop.com’s leadership council and speaking on a stage in front of 35,000 entrepreneurs. That would have never happened had I not said yes to making name tags.

 

The problem is no one is talking enough about these things- about trying to begin a life in debt, a troubled economy, taxes, leverage, etc. You jump on the hamster wheel and play your role in society as you fall into a state of comfortable misery, chasing paychecks, and wishing you were somewhere on a beach. Know that it doesn’t have to be like this. Invest in yourself and work your little butt off for the next 4 years so you can spend the next 90 how you want to.

Create your life,

Xo Amanda

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8 Responses to "How to Graduate Debt Free"
  1. Beautifully written Amanda. It’s like everything you touch turns to gold, as you stay focused with the help & guidance of your mentors. I’ve only known you about a year +, but what you have accomplished in that time is just amazing! I am so proud & happy to work with you. I only wish someone wrote something like that for me when I was your age ☺️, I hope & pray for the college kids of today to heed your call to a better life!

    ❤️ Jane

  2. Just forwarded this to the world! I am so proud of you Amanda, you inspire me and many others! So looking forward to following you through the amazing adventures in your life about to unfold! Love, Cindy

  3. That was excellent. Wish I had learned that at your age BUT it’s never to late for anyone. There’s nothing like creating your life and your future!!!