Making a Six-Figure Income Doesn’t Mean You Won’t Have Credit Issues – Lexington Law

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The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

During the 1980’s, when I was growing up, knowing someone who made a six-figure salary was like knowing royalty. It was that number that made you think of owning fancy cars, living in a huge house, and going on lavish vacations. Fast forward to the 21st century and making $100,000 plus does not really seem like all that much money anymore. Still, according to recent Census Bureau data, only a little over 20 percent of American households even break into that six-figure number.

But doesn’t making a six-figure salary pretty much guarantee you will have a good credit rating? Not necessarily. Your salary is not factored into your FICO score, but lenders will consider it when approving you for a loan. Loan and/or credit approval is based on your income and your FICO score. But how can someone who makes over $100,000 a year possibly have credit issues? There are some interesting factors which play into why someone who makes a decent income has bad credit. Let’s see what they are and how these factors affect their credit scores.

Feeling the Pressure to Keep up with the Joneses

This is cliché but true. Let’s say you have graduated from college and landed your first real job. Gone are your grungy pals from college only to be replaced with well dressed, sophisticated work colleagues and/or neighbors. They all drive BMW’s and have a garage full of “toys” and you feel the need to join in the fun. These extravagant purchases require applying for auto loans and/or credit cards and opening new lines of credit all at once. This could be lowering your FICO score. Why?

Two categories used by FICO when calculating your credit score is “New Credit” and “Credit Mix.” In fact, 10% of your FICO score is based opening new credit lines and another 10% is based on the mix of credit you use. According to, FICO’s official website, “Research shows that opening several credit accounts in a short period of time represents a greater risk – especially for people who don’t have a long credit history.” Not only does FICO look at how many new accounts you open, but also what types of credit you apply for. So, trying to keep up with your neighbors by applying for a lot of credit in a short period of time may negatively affect your credit score. In addition, each time you apply for a loan or credit card, an inquiry shows up on your credit score. Each inquiry can ding your score up to 5 points apiece.

Large Student Loans

When you were in high school, I am sure you thought a lot about what you wanted to be when you grew up. Achieving that goal probably meant going to college, which in turn meant taking out student loans to pay for college. After graduating from college, you landed a good paying job but your six-figure salary doesn’t go very far when paying a large monthly student loan payment. Add that payment to your rent/mortgage payment, car payment, food, and utilities and you have the problem of possibly not being able to make your payments on time.

Why is this important? Making on-time payments makes up the largest portion of your credit score, 35 percent to be exact. To quote FICO, “This is one of the most important factors in a FICO® Score.” So, even though you are making a six-figure salary, paying one or more of your bills late may cause your credit score to decrease.

How to Avoid Credit Issues Making a Six-Figure Salary

Touching on a few reasons why someone making over $100,000 is capable of having credit issues is great – but how can one avoid damaging their credit rating? Get yourself on a monthly budget plan and you will see the following improvements:

  • You will pay your bills on time (35% of FICO is based on payment history)
  • You will lower the amounts owed on your outstanding debts (30% of FICO is based on amounts owed)
  • You will lengthen your current credit history by paying these timely (15% of FICO is based on length of credit history)
  • You will curb the need to apply for new credit (20% of FICO is based on new credit and a mix of credit)

Knowing some of the reasons why a person making a six-figure salary can have credit issues can be helpful to the person who is making half of that salary. Living beyond your means and getting into debt can happen to us all, not just the wealthy. We all need to be mindful of what we spend our money on and making a budget is the best way to keep you and your family on track. Teaching your children about money management will help them avoid credit issues when they become a wage earner. Hopefully, they will look back and realize that no matter how much money they make, they can live within their means, have excellent credit, and be able to save money for their future.

If you find yourself having credit issues despite your salary, you can start your credit repair journey here. You can also carry on the conversation on our social media platforms. Like and follow us on Facebook and leave us a tweet on Twitter.


Life Events That Can Affect Credit: Going to College

For many first-time college students, pursing a higher education is a journey that comes with newfound responsibilities. Managing money while simultaneously balancing school, work and social obligations proves difficult for many. When embarking on educational pursuits, don’t forget to keep credit scores at the forefront of financial commitments.

There are many ways to go into debt as a student. While building a future through formal learning, remain vigilant in keeping a solid foundation of good credit. The following six scenarios can impact college students and credit.

1. Obtaining Student Loans

In order to pay for rising college costs, a majority of higher education students now attain student loans. Financing schooling costs does impact credit. Whether the impact is positive or negative depends on how the loan is taken out and how it is managed.

When acquiring the initial loan, a hard credit inquiry may make a minor impact on overall credit score. A credit check done by the potential lender may ding a few points off of the total score. The impact is small and can be recuperated in time.

In order to shop for the loan with the best value, the credit reporting system allows multiple credit inquiries in a short period of time. This gives the borrower anywhere from 14-45 days to research the best interest rates and find a loan that meets their needs and budget.

Once a loan has been selected and balances are due, students should remain rigorous about making timely payments. Staying on-track can impact a credit score for the better. By showing the capacity to payback the student loan debt, the borrower strengthens credit and builds a strong credit score.

Conversely, missing scheduled payments can lead to the slow and steady withering of strong credit. Credit scores can soar when managed properly. If students or graduates feel themselves drowning in large student loan repayment, they can contact the loan servicer. Many times, deferment or other alterations can be arranged to make payments more manageable.

2. Using Cards as Income

For the college students and credit card beginners in the audience, it is important to remember that credit cards are not free money or unlimited cash. Being approved for a credit card with a $5,000 limit is not equivalent to a receiving $5,000 payday. Using a credit card to make any purchase, large or small, comes with the obligation to pay back the card balance.

Furthermore, credit card companies may tack on fees in addition to accrued card balances. Common card fees may include the following:

  • Late payments
  • Charges for foreign transactions
  • Annual membership fees

One of the common pitfalls of student spending is utilizing credit cards as a way to make ends meet until cash comes along. For some college students, carrying a credit balance over from one month to the next is their solution for getting through economic hardship. While this temporary fix may seem to suffice for a time, the long-term impact can be difficult to repair.

Credit card interest rates and card fees vary. The cost of paying credit card interest and carrying a balance can add up in a matter of months and may be more significant than most students realize. Applying for credit cards and spending to the limit is a quick way to get into credit card debt and destroy a credit score.

3. Missing Payment Deadlines

Paying off a card balance or loan increment on time has the most impact of any of the credit decisions a college student makes. Payment history accounts for 35% of the points in a standard credit score. After a single missed payment, a positive overall score is said to drop somewhere between 90 to 110 points.

But according to FICO, a single late payment will not cause irreversible damage to one’s credit score. While the score drop may make an initial dent, getting back on track can rapidly repair the damage done.

Significant harm comes to the score of a borrower who consistently shows negligence overtime. Missing multiple or consecutive payments can impair a once-decent score. As a student with many expenses and little cash to spare, don’t postpone the due date. Aside from the credit impact, many major credit card companies will also inflict late payment fees that only add to the total balance due.

4. Paying the Minimum Balance Due

Making only a minimum payment can also negatively impact a credit score. When done consistently over time, paying the minimum balance can become a trap for college students to fall into. Interest payments will rack up quickly and the total payment will only grow. In order to avoid paying outrageous interest fees altogether, students should strive to completely payoff card balances. This is best done by charging only what one can afford.

5. Applying for Loans and Credit Cards

As aforementioned, applying for a loan can take a small rift out of a growing credit score. Likewise, applying for a new credit card can have the same effect. Each time a new creditor obtains a credit application, they pull the credit information. While it does not impact credit to obtain a copy of a free personal credit score each year, it does leave a mark when checked by a potential lender.

In order to prevent credit checks from significantly bringing down a credit score, students should be prudent in the number of loans and credit cards they apply for. Many students are tempted by credit card rewards programs available to consumers. By sticking to a few manageable credit cards, students can better control their spending and avoid the credit impact of card applications.

6. Maxing Out Cards

According to Time Magazine, student debt is being wracked-up by more than just the cost of college tuition. Extra college expenses include school books, transportation, housing and the use of electronic devices. For first-timers facing the price tag that comes with academic study, maxing out credit cards may seem the obvious solution.

Whether paid-in-full or carrying a balance, a card that meets its credit limit poses a significant threat to a teetering credit record. Weighing in at 30% of a total credit score, a factor called credit utilization is a critical component of credit reporting. Credit utilization refers to the debt to limit ratio.

To calculate the debt to limit ratio, divide the current card balance by the maximum card limit. The higher the percentage, the more negative the impact on credit utilization.

To improve credit, consider spreading out expenses to multiple cards. This lessens the debt to limit ratio. It gives evidence that the full amount of credit is not required by the borrower. Another way to help credit scores improve may be to request a higher credit limit. When possible, payoff balances on time. A higher limit will aid credit utilization and may lead to a more stable credit score.

Monitor Credit Activity

When pursing the path towards higher education, don’t loose sight of long-term financial goals. While going to college can impact credit scores in the long run, the affects don’t have to be negative. Apply for a student credit card that builds credit for students and recent graduates. Sign up for the Credit Report Card from to get advice, credit scores and a free action plan to monitor credit growth and build a strong financial future.

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What to Bring to College—The Ultimate Packing List

After the stress of submitting college applications and waiting for the results, an exciting task for preparing for college comes next: packing.

Of course, figuring out what to bring to college can cause some angst, but it’s also a liberating beginning to a brand-new chapter. Preparing for this new experience doesn’t have to be a struggle.

Here is a breakdown of things that college freshmen should plan on bringing with them.

School Supplies

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the only necessary supplies are a laptop and phone. Additional supplies can help students manage their college courses.

Writing information down can help you remember it better , and it can be less distracting having school information in a physical planner, away from all those social media apps.

When it comes to taking notes, some professors don’t want everyone on their computers during class, and some don’t mind. It’s a good idea to have a notebook for each class just in case, along with pens, pencils, and highlighters.

Check the specific course requirements as well. The syllabus for each class should be available early enough to read through and see if the professor lists any required materials. If you’re taking a math class, for example, a specific type of calculator may be required.

Depending on how many books students have to lug around campus, they may want to invest in a nice backpack or messenger-style bag. The most suitable bag will also depend on students’ schedule, how long they’re on campus, and how many classes they have in a row.

It might be good to wait to choose this item after you’ve selected your courses and can see what each day is going to require.

Shower Supplies

Students who choose to live in the dorms will need to bring shower supplies with them. Sharing a bathroom is going to be another adjustment in starting college. There are a few must-haves for a comfortable experience.

Shower shoes are one of these musts. A cheap pair of flip-flops will do the trick. These are shoes that are worn only while taking a shower. What’s the deal? They help to prevent athlete’s foot, a fungal infection that can result from public showers. Just make sure to rinse and dry off the shoes after each use.

A shower caddy is another essential. Most students will likely be walking from the dorm room to the shower, so they’ll have to bring all shower supplies with them. A portable container makes this much easier.

The caddy will have room for your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and so on, and some of them also come with hangers, so they could potentially be hung up in the shower. In choosing a shower caddy, look for one that is waterproof and has holes in it so it doesn’t fill up with water.

Last, don’t forget the towels. At home, there’s always a stack of clean towels ready to be used. This won’t be the case in the dorms.

In addition to towels, it might be handy to have a robe that can be thrown on while walking from the dorm room to the bathroom and back.


Hopefully, students already have a solid array of clothes to choose from. If they’re moving out of state for college, they definitely should check what the weather will be like all year in their new home. If students are used to living in a place where the weather doesn’t change much, they’ll have to add clothing to their wardrobe that’s appropriate for each season.

Dressing for college is more fun than high school for many because there isn’t a dress code. This is a great time for students to explore how they like to express themselves through clothing.

Some college students opt to be comfortable, rocking sweatpants to lectures. Others who are looking to make a good impression on professors—or romantic interests—may dress accordingly.

Don’t Forget Shoes

College campuses are much bigger than most high schools, so investing in a good pair of walking shoes is important. Classes may end up being a solid 15- to 20-minute walk away from each other.

It’ll take a toll on a student’s mood and physical comfort if they try to handle that walk in heels, unsupported sandals, or ill-fitting shoes.

Shoes take up a lot of space while packing, so trying to bring just the necessary pairs is wise. If your college is in a state that will experience cold or snowy winters, make sure to invest in some warm boots.

Bedding and Room Necessities

What else do students need to bring to a college dorm? Most dorm rooms will come with a bed but not sheets. Pack a couple of sets of sheets and a nice comforter. Some college students also recommend bringing a mattress pad and backrest pillow because you may spend more time in that bed than expected.

here’s a dorm room essentials list to figure out what else to bring. It’s vital to look into the school’s list of restricted items so you know what you should not bring to college. The college may also list the furnishings that come with the room. Check out your school’s website first so you don’t buy something that’s already there.

It can also be helpful for students to contact their roommates ahead of time and see if they’re planning to bring anything that could be shared.

It’s not a bad idea to pack on the light side. Most things you need can be ordered online anyway, so that way students won’t waste money.

Planning how to make the most of the small space provided in a college dorm is going to be great practice for when students are ready to move into apartments.

The Takeaway

The packing list has been made and the shopping trip planned, so what’s next? Paying for everything. There are a lot of options for financing the entire college experience, and students can try to get help from more than one avenue if they need to.

Students seeking financial aid should look into scholarships and grants and then federal aid. If federal student loans do not cover the full need, or if a student is not eligible for federal aid, private loans may be an option.

Private loans are issued by private financial institutions. A co-signer is often necessary. Look for loans that don’t have origination fees and offer extra services like co-signer release and hardship deferment.

To learn more, here is a guide to private student loans. Be aware that all the aid given cannot add up to more than the cost of attendance.

Families that decide that a private loan could be useful can see what SoFi has to offer. SoFi private student loans come with competitive rates, flexible repayment options, and no origination fees, no late fees, and no insufficient-funds fees.

Interested in a SoFi Private Student Loan? Check your rate with ease.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs.
SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Lending Corp. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.



Tips for Taking Online Classes Successfully

A new semester is usually a fresh opportunity to collaborate and hobnob, but 2020 and beyond will be remembered as the time when learning largely went online.

As the coronavirus pandemic caused an increasing number of colleges to abandon or delay plans to open campuses, a scramble to adapt ensued.

But adapt everyone must. Welcome to the epic socially distant epoch of higher education. Can a collegian still thrive? Yes. A student can learn how to be successful in online classes.

Types of Online Classes

When trying to come up with a plan for not just taking but succeeding with online classes, the first step is to determine whether classes will be fully remote or a hybrid.

Hybrid Approach

A hybrid course is a mix of in-person instruction and remote learning. The exact schedule will vary by school, class, and instructor but may include several hours of live or prerecorded virtual learning per week with one in-person session.

For example, a chemistry course could include virtual learning and in-person lab work.

Hybrid courses offer the benefits of remote learning without fully abandoning in-person instruction, making it a prime choice for students concerned that online classes may not meet their needs.

Exclusively Virtual

Classes that are all virtual never meet in person. Instruction is given through live webinars, prerecorded video, and physical or digital material.

Depending on the format of the course, students can fit sessions into their schedule as they see fit, an option not provided by a hybrid or traditional class.

Benefits and Potential Pitfalls of Virtual Courses

While virtual learning is ideal for some students, it may be frustrating for others. Some degrees may not lend themselves to a virtual experience either. But for students who have taken the plunge into online learning, there are several benefits to talk about.

Pros of Online Courses

Flexibility. The ability to learn whenever and wherever is a priceless advantage for a student with a hectic schedule. Though there are still deadlines and due dates to abide by, learning can typically take place around work, social commitments, and personal preferences. While some courses may include live remote sessions, they’re typically recorded and available for preoccupied students to view at a later time.

Real-life experience. Online courses tend to put more responsibility on the student. Learning how to prioritize instruction in a flexible schedule can help prepare students for careers.

Potential savings. If a course was designed to be taught in person but has recently been adapted for online instruction, a discount may not be available.

But for courses originally built for virtual learning, students often find they can save on the average credit cost. An online degree also could have condensed schedules available, allowing a student to get through the courses faster.

There are other savings to consider. With online instruction, students don’t have to worry about paying for parking, gas, or lunch on the go (and there are ways to thrive as a commuter student).

If virtual learners can pursue an education while working full or part time, an option not always available to students bogged down by a schedule of in-person classes, they may be able to curb student loan debt.

Potential Cons of Online Courses

Minimal social benefits. One concern students might have when taking online classes is the lack of personal interaction. While some simply respond better to in-person learning, others worry that questions won’t be addressed as promptly or thoroughly in an online setting. Other students are motivated by interactions with fellow students and find themselves struggling to concentrate when learning virtually.

A lack of professional networking. Students often discover opportunities to build relationships with professors and assistants that can lead to careers. Virtual learning makes these relationships more difficult to find and develop.

Scheduling conflicts. While the flexibility of online classes is appealing to most, it can create scheduling conflicts. If students are challenged by time management, they may find themselves procrastinating and struggling to manage their workload and deadlines.

Tips for Online Classes

Here are some words to the wise for taking online courses, for both newbies and experienced virtual students.

•  Respect the course. Do you suspect that an online course has less value than in-person instruction? The educational value is the same. It’s just being delivered in a different fashion.
•  Think about time management. Even experienced virtual students can improve their time management skills. Review the syllabus at the start of the semester, note major assignments, and look for potential conflicts.
•  Try to avoid distractions. When taking online courses, it might be best not to set up in front of the TV, as tempting as it may be. Consider cobbling together a home office that blocks distractions and creates a productive environment.
•  Participate. While an online class can be an introvert’s dream, there are still opportunities to participate. Many online courses offer a forum for students and instructors to discuss course materials, comment on one another’s work, and ask questions as needed.

Funding the Virtual Voyage

Even though some online classes are more affordable than their in-person variations, tuition costs may cause a bit of sticker shock. Consider the following options when determining how to pay for virtual classes, keeping in mind that certain institutions may have rules limiting payment methods.

Federal Loans

By filling out the FAFSA®, approved students can obtain federal funding for their education. Known for low and fixed rates, federal student loans don’t typically require payments to begin until graduation.

Private Loans

With a good credit rating and a little patience, students can find private student loans through private lenders, if needed. Though they often come with repayment plans that start right away, they are an option for students denied federal aid or whose costs are not completely covered by federal aid.

Federal student loans offer benefits that don’t typically accompany private loans. It’s generally thought that students and parents should exhaust federal student loan options before considering private loans.

Paying à la Carte

Online courses are designed to fit a working student’s schedule (though being employed certainly isn’t a requirement). Many students who enjoy online classes take them as they’re financially able, paying for them with their own money at the time payment is due, either upfront or through a college’s payment plan.

During this time of great adjustment, don’t let finances become another worry. Consider a private student loan from SoFi to jumpstart the virtual college experience.

Many students have found SoFi Private Student Loans to be affordable and convenient, thanks to flexible repayment options and no fees—no origination fees, late fees, or insufficient-funds fees.

A private loan can cover up to 100% of the cost of school-certified attendance, both for in-person and online courses. A SoFi Private Student Loan can help cover additional costs after federal aid or become a lifeline for those denied government assistance.

Interested in a private student loan? Apply for one with SoFi today.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs.
SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Lending Corp. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.



6 Ways I Saved Money On College Costs

Check out this list of ways to save money on college costs. This is a great list!

Check out this list of ways to save money on college costs. This is a great list!How much does college cost? This is a question many wonder. There’s rarely a week that goes by where I don’t receive an email from a student or parents of a student who are looking for ways to cut college costs. That’s why today I want to talk about college costs and how you can create a college budget that works so that you can save money in college.

College is very expensive – there is no doubt about that.

However, I want you to know that it IS possible to get a valuable college degree on a budget!

The average public university is over $20,000 per year and the average private university totals over $45,000 once you account for tuition, room and board, fees, textbooks, living expenses and more.

Even with how expensive college can possibly be, there are many ways to cut college expenses and create a college budget so that you can control rising college costs.

Continue reading below to read about the many different ways I cut college costs. While I was not perfect and still racked up student loan debt, I did earn three college degrees on a reasonable budget.

Related articles:

1. Take classes at a community college to cut college costs.

Whether you are in college already or you haven’t started yet, taking classes at a community college can be a great way to save money.

Earning credits at a community college usually costs just a small fraction of what it would cost at a 4-year college, so you may find yourself being able to save thousands of dollars each semester.

There is a myth out there that your degree is worth less if you go to a community college. That is NOT TRUE at all. When you finally earn your 4-year degree, your degree will only say where you graduated from and it won’t even mention the community college credits at all. So this myth makes no sense because your degree looks the exact same as everyone else’s’ who you went to college with. You might as well save money because it won’t make much of a difference.

I only took classes at a community college during one summer semester where I earned 12 credits, and I still regret not taking more. I probably could have saved around $20,000 by taking more classes at my local community college.

Also, you are most likely just taking general credits at the community college, so it’s not like you would be missing much by taking classes there instead of a college that has a better reputation for the major you are seeking.

If you do decide to go to a community college, always make sure that the 4-year college you plan on attending afterwards will transfer all of the credits. It’s an easy step to take so do not forget! You should do this before you sign up and pay for any classes as well as to make sure that ALL of the classes will transfer succesfully.

2. Take advantage of high school classes to lower your college budget.

Many high schools allow you to take college classes to earn both college and high school credits at the same time.

This is something I highly recommend you look into if you are still in high school, as it saves time and is one of the best ways to save money on college costs.

When I was in my senior year in high school, nearly all of my classes were dual enrollment courses where I was earning college and high school credit at the same time. I took AP classes and classes that earned me direct college credit from nearby private universities. I left high school with around 14-18 credit hours (I can’t remember the exact amount). This way I knocked out a whole semester of college. I could’ve taken more, but I decided to take early release from high school and worked 30-40 hours a week as well.

3. Take all the credits you can to stay within your college budget.

At many universities, you pay a flat fee. So whether you take 12 credit hours or 18 credit hours, you are paying nearly the exact same price.

For this reason, I always recommend that a student take as many classes as they can if they are going to a college that charges a flat fee tuition.

If you think you can still earn good grades and do whatever else you do on the side, definitely get full use of the college tuition you are paying for!

4. Apply for scholarships to lower your college costs.

Before you start your semester, you should always look into scholarships, grants, FAFSA, and more. You usually have to turn in any paperwork around spring time for the following semester, so I highly recommend doing this right now if you are going to college in the fall.

Another myth will be busted right now. Many believe that all scholarships are impossible to have or it means you have to win a contest. That is just a myth.

I received around $16,000 a year in scholarships to the private university I attended. That helped pay for a majority of my college tuition. The scholarships were easy for me to get as they were all just because I earned good grades in high school and scored well on tests. I received scholarships to all of the other colleges I applied for as well just for good grades, so I know they can be found as long as you do well in high school!

There are other ways to find scholarships as well. You can receive scholarships from private organizations, companies in your town, and more. Do a simple Google search and I am sure you will find many free websites that list out possible scholarships for you to apply to.

Tip: Many forget that you usually have to turn in a separate financial aid form directly to your college. Don’t forget to do this by the deadline each year!

5. Search for cheaper textbooks to lower your college budget.

Students usually spend anywhere from around $300 to $1,000 on textbooks each semester, depending on the amount of classes they are taking and their major.

For me, many of my classes required more than one book and each book was usually around $200 brand new. This means if I were to buy all of my college textbooks brand new, I probably would have had to spend over $1,000 each semester.

I saved a decent amount of money on college textbooks by renting them and finding them used. Renting them was nice because I just had to pay one fee and didn’t ever have to worry about what to do with the textbook after the class was done, as I only had to return them. There was no worrying about the book being worthless if a new edition came out, which was nice! Buying books used was nice occasionally as well just because sometimes I could make my money back.

I recommend Campus Book Rentals if you are looking for textbook rentals. Their rentals are affordable and they make getting the textbooks you need easy.

Read: How To Save Money On Textbooks + Campus Book Rentals Review

6. Skip the high price of living on campus to cut your college budget.

To save more money, I decided to live on my own. I didn’t have the option of living at home after high school and living on campus would have cost me a ton of money.

Instead, I found a very cheap rental house (the house was VERY small and probably could have been considered a tiny home) and was able to somewhat easily commute to work and college from it. I probably saved around $500 a month by living on my own instead of on campus, and I learned a lot by living on my own at a young age as well.

If you can live at home though and want to save money, I highly recommend it if it’s an option for you. You can save thousands of dollars a semester by doing this!

I understand that some are against this because it may impact your “college experience,” but I think most people would be fine not living on campus, especially if it’s not in the budget. You could probably save around $40,000 over the years on your degree by living at home.

How did you cut college costs and control your college budget? How much student loan debt did you have when you graduated?

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I Thought I Was Too Good For Community College

4 reasons you should go to community college first

4 reasons you should go to community college firstWhether you are about to head to college (no matter what your age may be), if you have a child who is about to attend college, or if you know someone who is about to experience this, then this article is for you.

When I was around 17, I applied to several different colleges, but one mistake I made was that I didn’t even give community college a thought.

Unfortunately, there is a stigma attached to going to community college, like thinking it is for those that can’t get into a “regular” college, for those that don’t have enough money, or for those that have no other options. When, in fact, these are all far from the truth.

And, sadly, I bought into these myths and thought I was too good for community college. If you want to save money in college, community college is a great way to do that.

The stigma about going to community college is absolutely ridiculous.

And, I was a young kid, so, of course, I let other people’s opinions get to me. And, I thought everyone was right!

It isn’t just kids that believe those myths about community college, as even adults (parents or returning learners) buy into those myths.

Well, that is a big mistake!

For many people, community college should be their first choice.

College costs are increasing, and they’re not going to stop anytime soon.

According to College Board, the average yearly tuition and fees for a:

  • Private four-year college is $32,410.
  • Public four-year college for out-of-state students is $23,890.
  • Public four-year college for in-state students is $9,410.

Community college, on the other hand, is just $3,440.

Those tuition differences are huge, and just look at how much you could save if you did only your first year at community college!

For many people, going to college means taking out loans, and according to a student survey done by Nerdwallet, 48% of undergrad borrowers said they could have borrowed less and still have afforded their educations. And, 27% regretted going to a school that required them to take out loans to afford their tuition.

I know this regret personally.

I only spent one summer semester taking classes at community college, where I earned 12 credits, and I still regret not taking more. I probably could have saved over $20,000 by taking more classes at my local community college.

Yes, I could have saved that much money!

Whether you are in college already or if you haven’t started yet, taking classes at a community college can be a great way to save money.

Today, I want to talk about common myths I hear about community college, so that I can persuade more people to give it a shot. It can save you so much money, and is a great option for a lot of people.

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Here are common myths about attending community college:

But, all of my credits won’t transfer.

This is the top reason (and myth) I hear for not attending community college.

If you take the correct steps, the credits you earn at a community college will transfer.

If you decide to go to a community college first, always make sure that the 4-year college you plan on attending afterwards will accept all of your credits. It’s an easy step to take, so do not forget to look into this! You should take this step before you sign up and pay for any classes at the community college so that you are not wasting your time.

My four-year university made it easy and had a printed list of what transferred from the local community college – it’s seriously that easy! I’m sure many universities do this as well.

When I took classes for college credit in high school and at the community college, I made sure that all of the classes transferred to the university in which I was getting my degree from.

I have heard too many stories about people not checking this ahead of time and wasting years by taking classes that didn’t transfer, which means you are wasting time and money.

Make sure you get it in writing and talk to your college counselor as well about this. They can help you determine which ones will transfer and provide you proof of transferability.

Also, know that by accepting transfer credits, your four-year university is basically saying “these community college credits mean the same thing here.”

Community college won’t actually save me that much money.

I want to repeat, the average yearly tuition and fees for a:

  • Private four-year college is $32,410.
  • Public four-year college for out-of-state students is $23,890.
  • Public four-year college for in-state students is $9,410.

And, community college is $3,440.

As you can see, college tuition is a significant amount of money, and it is a drastic difference between four-year institutions and community college.

Now, the problem here is that many people “afford” college by taking out student loans, so the amount of money you are paying for college isn’t an immediate thing that you “feel” – because it’s all debt!

Note: If you are a parent and you are thinking about taking on debt to put your child through school, please, please, please consider having them attend community college first. Please, also read Should I Ruin My Retirement By Helping My Child Through College?

The classes won’t be as good.

I’ve heard this community college myth over and over again. Many people think that the classes won’t be “good enough” for them. That is usually far from the case, though. Your first two years, no matter where you go, are most likely going to consist of very generic classes or classes that are similar, if not the same, as ones at the four-year college you are thinking about attending.

It’s usually not until the last two years, after you get those beginner classes and electives out of the way, that your classes really begin to matter for your degree.

And, if you’re afraid you really need more of those beginner classes from a four-year college, I recommend at least taking a summer semester or two at your community college for elective classes. There are usually lots of elective options at community college, and you can at least take those at a more affordable rate. That is exactly what I did – one summer while I was attending my four-year college, I enrolled at the community college for a bunch of electives. I was able to easily, and affordably, knock out a bunch of electives.

My degree will be worth less coming from a community college.

When you graduate with a four-year degree, the school name on your diploma will be the name of the college you graduated from. It won’t say, “graduated from here but took some classes at community college.” This is because your community college credits transferred (if you followed the step above).

So, no worries here.

Nowhere on my college degree does it say that I took some classes at the community college.

Did you attend community college? Why or why not?

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9 Ways To Successfully Balance School And Work

Advice For Balancing School And Work #balancingschoolandwork #timemanagementtips

Advice For Balancing School And Work #balancingschoolandwork #timemanagementtipsMore and more people are choosing to attend college and work at the same time. This can be those who are going straight from high school to college or adults going back to college. Whichever applies to you, balancing school and work will be an important part of how successful you will be.

Whether you are working a part-time or full-time job, balancing school and work can be tough. There are many working students in college who are able to manage both, but there are also many who aren’t able to.

If you don’t balance them both well, it may lead to stress, lower grades, low-quality work being produced, and more.

No one wants that and I’m sure you don’t either.

This is supposed to be the time of your life where you are growing and changing, not feeling like you are drowning in everything that is going on around you.

There are ways to many ways to start balancing school and work so that you can graduate college while working a job.

I took a full course load each and every semester (usually 18-24 credits each semester), worked full-time, and took part in extracurricular activities. It was definitely hard and I won’t lie about that. However, sometimes a person doesn’t have a choice and has to do everything at once. Or, you might be choosing to multi-task and are wanting to learn how to better manage your time.

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Working while you are going to college can help you not take out as many student loans, or you may be an adult who has to work to support your family while you are going to college. Either way, time management for college students who are also working will help you succeed at every aspect of your life.

Working while I went to college helped me take out less student loans, and I am so happy I found that balancing school and work was possible.

Related post: How I Graduated From College In 2.5 Years With 2 Degrees AND Saved $37,500

Whatever your reason may be, below are my tips for time management for college students who are also working. The tips below are what helped save me!

My advice for balancing school and work.

Find your motivation for balancing school and work.

There are many reasons for why you are both working and going to school, but sometimes you need to remind yourself why you are working so hard.

It can be really easy to watch others around you who aren’t doing both and feel jealous, stressed, or angry. But, remind yourself why you are working so hard.

Your motivation can be any number of things, like avoiding student loan debt, providing for you family if you are going back as an adult learner, and so on. Your motivation will be what you need when you are struggling to balance both work and school.

Related: 15 Of My Best Working From Home Tips So You Can Succeed

Carefully plan your class and work schedule.

My first tip for working college students is to carefully plan your class and work schedule.

Some students just choose whatever classes are offered. However, it is much wiser to carefully craft your school and work schedule so that everything flows together efficiently with a minimal amount of time being wasted.

To start balancing school and work with a carefully planned out schedule, you should start by researching when the classes you need are offered and start trying to eliminate any gap that may fall between your classes. Having an hour or two break between each class can quickly add up. Also, if you happen to have time off between classes, then using this time to do your homework and/or study can be a great use of your time.

Another time management tip is to try and put as many classes together in one day so that you aren’t constantly driving back and forth between school, work, and home. Balancing school and work can be hard, but it starts with creating a schedule that uses your time efficiently.

Related post: How I’m a Work-Life Balancing Master

Eliminate any time that may be wasted.

There are many time sucks that you may encounter each day, especially as you are balancing school and work and switching back and forth between the two. A minute here and a minute there may add up to a few hours wasted each day.

The time you save could be used towards earning more money at your job, studying, socializing, or whatever else it is that you need or want to do. For working college students, every minute is important.

There are many ways to eliminate the things that are wasting your time, including:

  • Cut down on your commute time. If you can find a job near your college campus then you can eliminate a lot of traveling time.
  • Find a way to work remotely. If you have a job that allows you to work remotely, then this can help you start balancing school and work time even better. You may even be able to work in between class breaks.
  • Prep your meals ahead of time. If you can make your meals in bulk ahead of time instead of individually making each one, you will be able to save a lot of time. Making your own meals is more than just time management for college students, as it means you will probably eat healthier and save money.
  • Be aware of how much time you spend on social media and cutback on TV. The average person wastes many, many hours each day on social media and watching TV. Cutting back on this may save you hours each day without even realizing it. TV and social media can be very distracting too, which is why it is so important to be aware of how it might be negatively impacting how you are balancing school and work.

Related post: 75 Ways To Make Extra Money

Separate yourself from distractions.

Time management for college students is hard, but it is even harder for working college students because there may be even more distractions.

Noise in the background, such as leaving your TV on while you study or a party your roommate may be throwing, can distract you from what you need to be doing. If you are trying to study or do homework then you should try to find a quiet place to get work done.

There are going to be so many distractions while you are working and going to college, and learning to separate yourself from those distractions will be one of the best ways to manage your time. I know it can be hard, trust me, but I also know how eliminating distractions can be a huge help.

You may want to close your bedroom door, hide the remote from yourself (trust me, this works!), go to the library, or something else. Sometimes you will have to force the distractions out, but it will help you save time and focus on what needs to be done.

Related: How To Be More Productive: 17 Tips To Help You Live A Better Life

Have a to-do list and a set schedule.

Having a to-do list is extremely helpful time management for college students, especially those who are working too. That’s because a to-do list will show you exactly what has to be done and when you need to do it by. You will then have your responsibilities sitting in front of you so that you will have to face reality.

You can have a to-do list that lists out your daily, weekly, or monthly tasks. You can use a planner, a notebook, Post-It notes, you can color code things, use stickers, etc. Just find a system that works for you and stick to it.

Balancing school and work will be much easier if you make a to-do list and keep a set schedule. So, write out what needs to be done each day, and knowing your schedule will keep you on task.

I know that when I am stressed out it can be easy to forget things, so having a to-do list eliminates any valuable minutes that I may waste debating about whether or not I forgot to do something.

Be a productive procrastinator.

We all know how bad procrastinating is, but sometimes you can actually waste your time on things that need to be done. I know that sounds strange, but it is actually quite helpful.

Here’s an example of what I mean: If you need to write a paper but find that you are procrastinating, then procrastinate by studying for a test. Now, you will still have to write that paper, but you will have already gotten the studying out of the way.

Balancing school and work is easier if you find tricks like this that make every moment you spend a productive one.

Take a break when you really need one.

Good time management for college students who are working often means that you are using trying to use every moment of your day as efficiently as possible. But, there are times when balancing school and work can feel extremely stressful.

In times like those, when you feel like you need a break, take a short one to help you come back refreshed and focused on what you need to do.

You can go for a walk, read a book, get in a workout, take a nap, etc. Taking a break when you need one will help prevent you from feeling burnt out, which is a danger when you are balancing school and work.

Find other college students who are doing the same.

I know that you aren’t the only one who is balancing school and work, and it might help you stay focused if you are able to find others who are working and going to school like you are.

Finding a friend who is doing the same can motivate you, they can help you stay on task, and you might even find someone to study with.

Working students in college need to be realistic.

While one person may be able to work like crazy and attend college at the same time, not everyone can do that.

If your grades are dropping, then you may want to analyze whether you should drop your hours at work or school. What is more important to you at this time and for your future? We can’t do everything always, and being realistic will help you understand your limitations so that you don’t burn out.

With the tips I’ve listed that help with time management for college students who are also working, you’ll be able to rock both your job and your college classes at the same time. Don’t forget to fit in time for fun as well. Good luck!

Are you one of the many working college students out there? Why or why not? What tips for time management for college students can you share?

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Do You Need to Go to College to Be a Real Estate Investor?

I am asked all the time whether I think it was worth it to go to college as a real estate investor and real estate broker. I got my degree in business with an emphasis in finance. I think the degree helped me and I am glad I went to college but I don’t think I had to go to college to do what I do. I have flipped over 200 houses, own 180k square feet of rentals, own a real estate brokerage, and I have written 9 books. I have done a lot of things and college helped with some of that, but I didn’t have to go to be successful.

What did I get out of college?

I went to the University of Colorado at Boulder. I started out as an engineer and then went into business school when I decided I did not like really high-level math. I was not the most dedicated student and one thing I would do differently if I was to start over again was pay more attention to my classes and take advantage of all the things that college and education can offer. I rarely talked to my professors or advisors to get advice. I figured I needed a degree to make a lot of money and that was my main goal. I wish I would have learned not just from the material taught in the classes but learned much more from the people who taught the classes and the insights they could personally give to me.

My favorite class in college was an entrepreneurial class where we ran a company. I was not a student who studied constantly and took advantage of everything college had to offer but I loved this class. I actually wanted to go to it! In the class, we ran an imaginary company that made widgets or something. We were put in groups and I took over the group making all of the decisions for the company. I loved analyzing the numbers and deciding what the best price points and manufacturing numbers should be. Our group was destroying the rest of the calls when in the end two groups sold all of their inventory and assets and magically leaped ahead of us in value. I tried to explain to the professor that it was impossible for the other companies to be worth so much money when it literally had only cash, no assets, no inventory, no buildings, but she didn’t understand it. I still loved the class!

Besides that one class, I learned about finance, stocks, bonds, loans, accounting, and mostly how to work for someone else. I knew I did not want to work for someone else so I was not thrilled about life after college.

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How did I get started in real estate?

My dad was an agent and he flipped houses once in a while. I could not find a job that paid me what I thought I was worth after college so I decided to go home for a bit and work for him while I figured things out.

I was helping him with manual labor mostly and I lived in an apartment building that my sister managed. I was able to get a deal on rent for being the onsite manager. I did not have a lot of expenses, I was making okay money, and I had a lot of freedom. I say my friends who went to college and most of them went into the corporate world. I saw them really not happy and not making any more money than I was. I decided that real estate was not such a bad career and I committed myself to it for the time being. I got my real estate license, and I sold houses as well as helped my dad on the flips.

Eventually, I bought the business from him and got to where I am today.

Did I need to go to college to do what I do?

Was college necessary for me to be an agent and an investor? No. I did not have to go to do what I do, but I may not be as far along if I had not gone to college. I ended up hiring my best friend from college to work for me in 2013 and he still works for me and has been very important to my business.

I also do not think I would be in real estate if I had not gone to college. I am not sure what I would have done but I wanted nothing to do with real estate in high school and that is why I went into engineering. I am not sure what I would have done but I most likely would have gotten a job of some sort working construction or who knows what. It is possible I would have worked for my parents as I did after college, but I am not so sure. I wanted to have freedom and get away from them. It is also possible I would start in another field and then work myself back to real estate but we will never know!

So while college was not necessary for me to get into real estate I think it helped me.

  • I met some great people who helped my business
  • I learned a lot about finance which helped me run a business
  • I learned about debt, and accounting, and investing which helped me as well
  • It gave me time to mature and figure a few things out in life

Should you go to college to be a real estate investor?

So far all I have done is talk about myself! What about others or you if you happen to be reading this article. Do you need to go to college if you want to be in real estate? First I think it depends on what kind of real estate you want to be in. I wrote another article about going to college if you want to be a real estate agent. I think that question also depends on the person and the situation.

If you want to be a real estate investor it really depends on you. Some people can go straight into investing and kill it while others may not be ready yet. Some might not need the extra education and connections while others won’t. To be honest, no one knows for sure what situation they will run into or what will happen if they do or do not go to college. A lot of life is about luck and how the person who runs into that luck, good or bad, handles it.

What are some tips when you make the decision?

If you decide to go to college remember that you can still learn or even invest in real estate while you are in school. You can learn how to find deals, find other investors in the area, and possibly work for them, or even buy a house as there are special loans for students.

If you go to college I would suggest finding affordable schools that will not keep you in debt for decades. I went to an instate school that had relatively cheap tuition and I worked hard to graduate in four years even after changing majors.

If you decide not to go to college that does not mean you can’t learn while you work! You can take classes in a community college or learn a trade. There are many different options to educate yourself even when you are not in college. There is always the option of going to college at a later time if you decide you need it.


Going to college or not is a huge decision and it should not be taken lightly! Many people just assume college is always the best choice but that isn’t always the case. Many people get into crazy debt with school and are never happy with the career that comes from it. Others skip school and wish they would have gone. This is not a decision I can make for anyone as the person who is making the decision is the only one who can choose.