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Getting balance right between college and finances

Dave Ramsey

Dear Dave,

I’m in college full-time right now, and my parents have been generous enough to pay for some of my school expenses. In addition, they let me live at home while I complete my degree. I work some nights and most weekends so I can go to school debt-free, but I’m trying to figure out how to move out on my own and continue working, while remaining a full-time student and attending career-related campus events. The cost of living is high, so I’m having trouble figuring out how to make it all work. Do you have some advice?

– Will

Dear Will,

You sound like a very driven and mature young man. Congratulations on everything you’ve been able to accomplish so far. I’m glad you’re working hard in school with an eye towards the future.

First off, out of the three considerations you mentioned – school, work and cost of living – I think you need to decide which is your number one priority. If I were in your shoes, school would come first.

Now, to go to school without borrowing money, you’re going to have to keep working. But finishing school on time, while attending some of the extracurricular events that will move you towards your career, might pre-empt work.

You’ll have to work enough to pay for things, but if you can finish school and hit your academic and graduation goals while staying at home just a little bit longer? That sounds like a winner to me.

It’s a pretty nice deal your parents are offering, but I can understand your desire to be out on your own, too.

I want you to be out on your own as soon as you can, as well. But if you do that right now, you’re going to have extra bills and be forced to work even more. That’s going to throw your entire school process out of whack.

Guess what your number one priority was in that scenario? Right, moving out. If it’s the tail that’s wagging the dog, it has become the number one priority.

If it’s disrupting work, and thereby disrupting your academics, then in my mind you’ve put your focus on the wrong thing.

Your number one goal should be finishing school on time, while attending as many connected events as possible.

Meanwhile, keep working enough so that you’re able to continue doing all this debt-free. If that means you’re staying at home a little bit longer to pull it off, I’d do it!

– Dave

Dave Ramsey is an eight-times national bestselling author, personal finance expert and host of The Ramsey Show. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth, and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO of Ramsey Solutions

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Published May 18, 2024 at 7:58 am (Updated May 18, 2024 at 7:31 am)

Getting balance right between college and finances

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