Last year was our first full year with the Debt-Free Student and we wanted to share with you our most popular posts and resources to help you kick 2018 off right! It’s nearly February and this is usually about the time that cheeseburgers, Netflix, and online shopping start to look way more attractive than they did on the 1st of the year, so hopefully these reminders will inspire you to make February your best month instead of your “rest month.”

#5: Journey to Freedom

I know you probably want 2018 to look different (and better) than 2017. We had that same goal last year and guess what? It does! The only way to get where you want to go is to map out a plan – for a little encouragement and inspiration, read our journey! You can also follow the tag Our Journey. I love reading about other peoples’ journeys for inspiration, so please comment a link to your blog or email me via our contact page (maybe we’ll even feature you in a future Debt-Free student post!)

#4: The Only Way to Pay for College

This blog started because a) I’m a financial aid counselor and I talk with students every day who are making some of the biggest/most impactful decisions of their lives without good information. I wanted to bridge the gap and help those students find the resources, inspiration, and information they needed to make the best choice for them. And b) I paid for both undergrad and grad school with scholarships, even though my family didn’t qualify for grant aid! It can be done! After this post I went on to write a series of posts on making the most of your scholarship applications so you get the best return on your time investment. Don’t miss those practical tips!

#3: How to Not Freak Out

Everybody has bad days (or weeks — or months — or years), but there is something you can do to preempt (or at least mitigate) disaster: Create an emergency fund! Our emergency fund has given us incredible peace of mind as stuff happens. While saving $1-2,000 might seem daunting at the moment, regardless of your current income, it’s not nearly as hard to do as you might think!

#2: $14,000 in 44 Days

On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes you just have a really good day, or week, or month. Last year we were able to pay off $14,000 (out of over $44,000) in just 44 days. For more info on how that happened, read on!

#1: Living Lean When No One Else Does

Sometimes “budget” feels like the death knell of all the fun things in life, but what we learned when we created our spending plan was that it actually freed us to have fun without the guilt! When we knew what we could spend without creating a train wreck in our finances, we actually went on more dates, spent more time with friends, and created some healthy (and fun) rhythms that have strengthened our marriage, all while helping us get out of debt! You’ll also find our own free budget template linked in this post.

We’re in this to eliminate student debt

We believe that there needs to be massive changes in the education industry in America, but in the meantime, we also believe that it’s time for students to rise up and take responsibility for our finances, making wise decisions and working hard to build the life we want. We’re here to help, inspire, encourage, and connect people who are committed to getting and staying debt-free. Will you make the journey with us?