Simone's Blog: Money Magnet

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

4 ways to avoid needing student loans

Student loans may be viewed as a necessary evil, but here are ways to avoid them.

Public v. Private institutions. The top schools in the country are typically private, which often come with a hefty price tag - an average $8,000 more per year than public universities. The average student loan debt is $30,000. Choosing a public university over a private one would save a student about $24,000 over a four year term. You do the math.


Community College. There is a stigma surrounding community colleges, and it’s typically short sighted and completely inaccurate. The average community college costs around $4,000 per year - compare that to an average $16,000 each year for public universities. Spending your first two years at a community college before transferring to a major university for the remaining two years (make sure all your credits will transfer) can save you $24,000 (on top of the $24k you’ve already saved by not going to a private university).


Live off campus or at home. Living expenses are a big chunk of our student loan debt, an expense that can be minimized. As much as we may not want to, determining a workable solution to achieve freedom and minimize expenses will pay off immensely. Besides, it’s surprising how much fun you can have once you start working, earning your own money, and doing with it as you please because you have no other debts to worry about.


Scholarships. This should really be number 1 as scholarships can be used at all types of colleges, and aren’t necessarily based on grades or socio-economic status. You can start applying for college scholarships as early as 9th grade (some may even go earlier). Many require nothing more than an essay -- easy money.


Now that you’ve graduated and already have the loans…
Many companies and public sector entities offer student loan forgiveness as part of their benefits package; your skills are definitely needed and will be appreciated there. But before you join their team, make sure you understand the terms.


Higher education is a requirement these days so being very conscious about using any money you receive for your highest and best good is critical. Money is made off the backs of those that don’t know, and now you do.


And so it is.