Welcome to another installment of IonTuition’s Q&A series with personal finance bloggers. Today we have TeensGotCents’ Eva sharing her personal finance tips with us.
Eva founded TeensGotCents in 2013 when she was 16. Her blog talks about saving money for the future, shopping smart, going to college debt free, getting a great part-time job, starting your own business, and DIY projects that will help you save money. In 2016, she also founded The Teenpreneur Conference, and hosted its highly successful first conference in June. She has two cats named Leo and Finn that just turned one year old and she watches way too much Netflix, but she is happy.
What are your best tips for people who have debt?
Only use money you have to budget your spending and put money towards your student loan debt every single time you earn money. It may not seem like much, but even small amounts add up. I would also recommend getting a part-time job or starting some kind of side hustle or small business and taking every dollar you make from that effort to put toward your debt. Basically, work hard and pay it off as fast as possible.
Can you offer some advice for people who carry student loan debt and are working toward repayment and trying to become financially stable?
Make a few sacrifices. Sometimes that means giving up extra comforts or conveniences for the time being. Live with your parents or get a couple of roommates so that you can put extra money towards your student loan debt. Make your own coffee at home. Invite friends over and have everyone bring something instead of going out or ordering food. Small changes you make to your daily habits can increase the money in your pocket.
No matter how much debt you have, be sure to save up an emergency fund. Even if you can only put 10 or 20 dollars a month in, it is better than nothing. That way if an emergency does come up, such as needing urgent car repairs, it won’t have a devastating effect on your budget or the repayment of your student loans.
In your opinion, what are the most important workplace benefits recent graduates should watch for when accepting job offers?
I want to work for a company and people who have integrity, where they treat their customers well and have genuine respect for employees. This matters more to me than how much vacation I get or how much money I make, although those things are (obviously) important. Regardless of what I’m doing, without this type of business paradigm I don’t see myself being able to stick with any company for long.
As far as benefits in the traditional sense I would be interested in competitive pay, health insurance, how much they match on a 401(K), and the amount of vacation/sick time offered.
I know a lot of offices are offering “fun” things too, but frankly I don’t care if I can ride my skateboard in the office. Having my favorite soda in the fridge is great, but that isn’t going to get me through a day of working with people who don’t value me, have a solid work ethic, or care about integrity.
Any other advice to help our readers manage their education or advance their careers?
Have a genuine purpose. You cannot sit around and be mediocre and expect great things to happen to you. Unfortunately, getting a college degree is just not enough to be successful anymore. You have to work hard, be motivated, and stay focused on your goals. Finding a good mentor that will support you and your goals with is also very helpful.
I have three business mentors who have helped me in numerous ways. One is my mom and business partner, who is right there with me and helps me stay on track. The other two have made specific recommendations regarding strategy and the direction of my business. There is no doubt that they have directly impacted my efforts and I know that the success I’ve had is directly tied to following their advice.
Even young people who are in high school or college can benefit greatly from having a mentor that they meet with every month or two. If you do the work to maintain the relationship, you won’t regret it.