I'm still a student and am in my last year of school. While hearing about what I can do about budget and credit card debt has been very helpful, I don't really know what I can do now to reduce/eliminate debt as a student on the cusp of starting a new chapter in her life! Any suggestions?
You bet I have some — to see what they are just
I think one of the biggest challenges as a college student is to not rack up too much debt. I watched one of my roommates dig herself into a whole mess of debt — even though it seemed like she was constantly working as a waitress, she was always buying stuff that she didn't need and spending a ton of cash whenever we'd go out. You don't need to spend a lot of money to have a thriving social life in college.
If you've already accumulated heavy debt, or even if you've managed to keep yourself grounded about spending and have a manageable amount of debt, why not start paying it off now? Don't wait until you've graduated and are earning a more sizable paycheck, because you'll have even more expenses once you've moved away from college-town. If you have student loans, those payments will kick in soon after you've graduated, not to mention moving expenses, furniture for an apartment, professional work attire, and rent.
Besides tackling whatever debt you've acquired, since you're a senior you should start putting money aside for the inevitable. By that I mean a security deposit on an apartment, and all of the other expenses that I listed above. Step back and take a look at your spending, maybe record everything you spend money on for a few weeks, and figure out where you can cut back in order to put more into savings and toward debt payments.
I'm assuming that you're graduating in just a few short months, so begin putting together a professional resume and you'll have plenty of time to edit it to perfection. That way, you can immediately apply for eye-catching job listings and avoid missing out on good opportunities. Congrats, soon-to-be-grad, and good luck!