It is important to keep a close track of your money. We don’t know what the economy is going to do in the short run. The two things we want you to consider; “Be wise”, and “Be Prepared”.
Stay out of Debt. Consider working your way through college and not taking any school loans. The New York Times reported that today, “student loan debt has risen to its highest level ever, with starting balances averaging $24,000 among two-thirds of graduates who borrowed for their degree.” The article continues by stating “there is a real risk that some graduates with $24,000 of debt will face unmanageable monthly payments particularly in the early years of their careers. The monthly payment at 6.8% interest is $276 a month for 10 years! One needs to make about $33,000 annual income in order to comfortably manage this debt.”
Here’s the bad part, “the default rate on Student loans is now 7% and the government is aggressively suing those in default, garnishing wages and placing liens against homes. Bankruptcy does not erase student loans, it is not dischargeable.”
Here is a book written from a non-Christian perspective, which has excellent advice on paying for college without debt. We encourage you to pick up a copy.
Check out what Dave Ramsey has to say: http://tinyurl.com/Ask-DaveR
Come up with a spending plan using cash envelopes and your checkbook. On several envelopes, label each one with one of the following budget categories: “Food”, “Entertainment”, “Clothes”, “Gas” and “Gifts”. Each month go to the bank, take out the amount in cash you have allocated according to your spending plan for each category and put the money in each envelope accordingly. Once that envelope runs out, you’re done. You can move cash between envelopes but you won’t overspend as long as you don’t pull out a credit or debit card when the cash is gone. Most people have found it best to go get cash and put it in the envelopes twice a month – so just take out 1/2 your budgeted amount each time. You’re guaranteed to spend less money and save more for college. Use your checkbook to pay your rent, utilities, giving, tuition and any other monthly items that you need to be able to prove you paid. On those categories be sure and record the amounts down on your tracking sheet.
Here’s a sample spending-plan (but not specifically geared for students).
There is so much more that can be said, but if you do your homework and check information on Dave Ramsey’s website and the book “Debt-Free U”, you’ll be a long way toward financial stability and freedom.
 Mark Grissom, staff with Campus Crusade for Christ, May 10, 2011.