So college is here and whether you are a parent of a bright young student heading into their first year at college, or YOU are the bright young student heading into that first year, you will surely want to consider some of these hidden costs of college while you budget your way through your first year.

When I went to college, first of all it was cheaper to attend the university that I went to, however some of the costs that you never expected did in fact add up faster than I expected and unfortunately, this led me into my first pile of debt that I certainly wasn’t expecting to get out of going to college.

Keep in mind that college costs vary drastically depending on what college you are attending, whether you are staying on campus and ultimately what kind of lifestyle you are looking to live while you are hitting the books.

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There are times in life where you are forced to get really serious about cutting your budget.  That time was a few years back for me when my company at the time unexpectedly went belly up.   A global firm in 24 countries that I invested many years in went bankrupt in a very short time span, which left every one of us with a week notice and no job.

At the time,  I was in disbelief.    I couldn’t believe this was happening.  I felt a range of emotions about it, knowing that I had 3 young children at home that needed me to have a job and I didn’t have one any longer.    I had a mortgage to pay for and a car payment, plus there needed to be food put on the table.

Now thankfully I started my first day at another company within a fairly short period of time so it could have been much worst, but at the time I thought the world was caving in on me.    I had to make a decision right there and then to either get back up and dust myself off or let life take me down the drain.

So we got real serious about cutting our budget immediately…  Here are some ideas to drastically cut your budget and get serious about becoming financial free.

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In our family, big ticket items are very carefully planned for.  We are not a on a whim kind of family where we just go off a buy something large at random times.   No, it’s well thought out when we are buying something and with what money are we buying it with.    We ask these 10 questions each time before diving into that new big TV purchase or new appliances or a newer car or anything else over $500.

You have to take care when spending your money to make sure that it’s right for you and at this moment in time.

Here are my 10 questions that I ask myself every time

1. Do I really need it?

This is always a well debated question in the house.   The car is on the fritz again, should we consider just getting a newer car instead of fixing this car again.    The refrigerator is not cooling like it should.   Should we get a repair man out here or should we just go get a new refrigerator.

These big ticket items need to have purpose and you must determine for yourself that you absolutely need them or if there is a better alternative.

You have to really dig deep and understand what you are trying to solve.   If there isn’t a legitimate reason why you absolutely need it, then consider not buying it.[Read More…]