Welcome to another installment of IonTuition’s Q&A series with personal finance bloggers. Today, we have Barbara Friedberg, MBA, MS sharing her personal finance advice with us. Barbara is a former investment portfolio manager, author of Personal Finance; An Encyclopedia of Modern Money Management and How to Get Rich; Without Winning the Lottery. Barbara is a former university Finance and Investments instructor, and publisher of Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance.com and Robo Advisor Pros. Her work has been featured in U.S. News & World Report, Yahoo! Finance, GoBankingRates, and many more publications.

Barbara started out very young saving and investing for the future. This habit allowed her and her family tremendous flexibility. She worked as a Career Counselor at San Diego State University before taking time off to raise her family. After that, she used her Economics degree and passion for investing to serve as a financial portfolio manager for many years. Barbara got her MBA in finance later in life and is currently committed to helping others learn about money and investing through her two websites: Barbara Personal Finance.com and Robo Advisor Pros.com.

What’s the best piece of financial advice you ever received?

I’m going to share 2 pieces of financial advice. They may be ‘old school’ but they work!

  1. If you can’t pay for it in full now, then you don’t need it.
  2. Save part of every dollar that you receive.

What’s your advice for those who already have student loans?

Understand what your payments will be upon graduation. Begin paying off your loans asap (right now if possible). You’re better off working harder to reduce the debt as quickly as possible. Today’s stress is only temporary and the future freedom from debt is worth it. If you have a lot of higher interest rate debt, consider consolidating at a lower interest rate. If you take this path, keep the term short and avoid paying high fees on the debt consolidation loan.

Would you go to a different school if you knew what you know now about student debt?

I went to a low cost state college. Additionally, when I got my bachelors degree, college costs were much lower and student debt was less prevalent than today. When I got my first masters degree, I got a teaching assistantship, which also gave me tuition remission.

My advice for students today:

  1. Don’t rule out community college for a few years in order to keep total educational costs low.
  2. Look for scholarships and work part-time to keep debt levels rock bottom.

Any other financial tips for our readers?

Learn how to be a smart consumer and these skills will last your entire life. For example, think before spending, live a simpler life with fewer ‘things’. Look for low-cost ways to have fun. Practice financial discipline and delaying gratification. Wait before making any larger purchases and learn to enjoy life experiences instead of consumption. Slash FOMO (fear of missing out) and comparing yourself with others from your life! When you get a job – immediately enroll in your workplace retirement (401k) plan.

Read more from Barbara on her sites Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance.com and Robo Advisor Pros, follow her on TwitterGoogle+, and Pinterest.