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Help For Staying Out of Debt

Savvy Confessions: Help Me Stay Out of the Red!

This reader posted in our anonymous Savvy Confessions group, asking how she might live it up on a small income without going into debt. Do you have any advice for her?

I finally found an apartment that I can afford and I'm moving out of my parents' house in about a month. I'm usually pretty good with money, if you look past the occasional dress buying, and have never been in the red. I'm scared that once I move out I will have to cut down on an already-minimal social life to avoid debt. I would like to be able to visit out-of-town friends once in a while and go on small trips and vacations, but how do I do it on a small income (I'm a college student) without ending up in debt?

Pose your own anonymous questions or off-load your work confessions by posting in the Savvy Confessions group, and I'll find the right expert to help you out.

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VanessaJ VanessaJ 5 years
I have a ton of debt, and it sucks. Most of my debt is student loan debt, so there is not much I can say there. If you can stay away from anything too drastic like that, it really will help you. But I am glad that I got my college education, so I look at it like "good debt". Any ways, if you can stay away from credit cards, that is first place. There are some credit cards that are actually helpful. Orchard Bank makes a Master Card with a $300 limit that gets reported to all 3 credit bureaus monthly in attempt to help build credit, or improve bad credit. The interest rate is high, but I use it pretty much interest free because I pay on it twice a month (at least $150 each time). I use mine strictly for gas in my car. If you can have one or 2 credit cards that you are able to pay off monthly, then do it. But don't get sucked into the "free money" pit. I did, and almost had to file bankruptcy! If you are good at budgeting, that is great! Just budget what you need & don't spend what you don't have. It is possible. I worked with a girl who lived on $600 a month (and lived in her own place). She clipped coupons like a mad woman, and bought all of her clothes at Goodwill. I, myself, am not that disciplined. I love shopping & really had to get that under control. Good luck! You will be fine & you don't have to give up your social life.
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