Strategic Approaches to Minimizing Long-Term Student Debt

Strategic Approaches to Minimizing Long-Term Student Debt

To achieve financial freedom, you need some strategic approaches to minimizing long-term student debt.

Welcome to the 12th FLA Guest Blog Post! Today, we provide some insight on reducing long-term debt for young adults. Thank you to Chelsea from Business POP for sharing this helpful article.

Chelsea is an experienced Marketing and Advertising professional with a demonstrated history of working in the media industry. Chelsea is especially skilled in Digital Media advertising, Events, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Microsoft Suite, Data Analytics, Adobe products, and Marketing Strategy.

The digital age has unquestionably arrived. Incorporating new technologies into business procedures will be critical for owners who want to grow their businesses.

Business POP will show you how to grow your business through innovation. It is aimed at small and medium-sized business owners and will offer advice on what digital enhancements to consider and how such changes can help them grow.

The issue of student debt is a growing concern that affects millions of people nationwide. With the rising costs of education, the financial burden of student loans often lingers for years, or even decades, after graduation.

Therefore, it’s crucial to adopt smart strategies aimed at minimizing long-term student loan debt. Courtesy of Fresh Life Advice, we will examine various approaches that can make a significant impact on your financial future.

Look Into Scholarships and Grants

Seeking scholarships and grants is a pivotal first step for students looking to reduce the burden of educational costs. These forms of financial aid don’t require repayment, setting them apart as superior ways to fund your education. Universities, private organizations, and government programs all offer a variety of scholarships for different types of students and different fields of study.

When looking for scholarships, it’s important to cast a wide net. Apply for as many scholarships as you can, even those with smaller award amounts; these smaller scholarships can add up and make a significant difference in your overall financial situation. The key is to not overlook any opportunity, no matter how insignificant it may seem at first.

In addition to scholarships, grants are another often-overlooked resource for free educational funding. Contrary to popular belief, grants are not always automatically awarded to eligible students. Many grants require a separate application process, distinct from that of the general financial aid application.

This means you should be proactive in conducting detailed research and consult with your school’s financial aid office to identify all grant opportunities for which you might be eligible. A well-informed approach to securing grants can help you tap into institutional or specialized program offerings that can significantly reduce your overall tuition and fees.

Start Your Journey at a Community College

Starting at a community college and then transferring to a four-year institution can be a strategic way to reduce your overall education costs.

Community colleges typically offer lower tuition rates, allowing you to complete general education courses at a fraction of the cost. By doing so, you can save tens of thousands of dollars on tuition fees.

However, it’s important to ensure that the credits you earn will transfer to your desired four-year institution. Consult academic advisors at both schools to map out a clear transfer pathway.

This approach not only reduces tuition costs but also offers the possibility of adapting to college-level work in a less financially risky environment.

Saving Through Online Programs

Enrolling in an online degree program offers a cost-effective way to obtain a quality education; this may be helpful for those balancing other commitments like work or family. Online programs often have lower tuition rates and eliminate additional expenses such as on-campus housing. 

Moreover, the flexibility of online courses allows you to work part-time or even full-time, thereby reducing your dependence on loans for living expenses. This provides a dual benefit: gaining work experience while studying, which can make you more marketable upon graduation.

Part-Time Work During School

Part-time work, while challenging, is a valuable strategy for managing living expenses as a student. Securing jobs on or near the campus can be particularly beneficial due to their convenient locations and class-friendly schedules.

By covering daily costs through employment, students can reduce the need for larger loans, thus minimizing long-term debt. The goal is to balance work without sacrificing academic performance.

To help students maintain this balance, many colleges offer work-study programs tailored to class schedules. These programs provide an opportunity for students to earn while they learn.

Beyond the financial benefits, these roles can also offer invaluable experience, especially if they’re related to a student’s field of study. Prioritizing such opportunities can lead to both immediate financial relief and long-term career benefits.

Student Debt
Image Source: zinkevych via FreePik

Creating and Adhering to a Realistic Budget

Creating a budget specifically designed for student life is a crucial part of managing your finances effectively. The first step is to identify all your sources of income and itemize your expenses.

By understanding your financial landscape, you can make informed decisions on where to cut costs—like opting for a more economical meal plan or sharing an apartment to reduce living expenses. A budget is the cornerstone of a solid financial strategy as a student.

To maintain your budget, consistency is vital. Utilizing budgeting apps or software can help you keep a real-time track of your finances.

As your financial circumstances evolve, make sure to adjust your budget accordingly. It’s essential to review your budget regularly and make small, incremental changes, as these can lead to significant long-term savings.

Leveraging FAFSA for Financial Aid

Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is essential for anyone seeking financial assistance for college. Through FAFSA, you gain access to federal grants, work-study opportunities, and subsidized loans. Even if you think you won’t qualify, it’s worth applying—you might be surprised by the aid you’re offered.

Your FAFSA results will outline your eligibility for different types of financial assistance. Subsidized loans, for example, are more favorable than their unsubsidized counterparts, as the government pays the interest while you’re in school. Work-study programs, too, offer a way to earn money for college expenses while potentially gaining experience in your chosen field.

Exploring Alternative Education Options

Traditional four-year college programs aren’t the only pathway to a rewarding career. Alternative options, such as online courses, competency-based education, and vocational programs, can offer quality education at a fraction of the cost. By exploring these paths, you can avoid the trap of believing that a more expensive program is inherently better.

Trade schools, apprenticeships, and certification programs are excellent alternatives that often require less time and money than a traditional four-year degree. These options can lead to high-paying jobs and offer the added advantage of quicker entry into the workforce.

Mitigating long-term student debt requires proactive planning and smart choices. From scholarships and part-time work to budgeting and alternative education paths, various strategies can help minimize the financial burden of obtaining an education. By implementing the approaches outlined in this article, you can pursue your academic and career goals without being shackled by crippling debt.


Minimizing long-term student debt will set you up for success. By chipping away at debt, you’ll be able to build a bigger nest egg for retirement.

Although saving and investing is not easy, it will all be worthwhile in the end. Paying off student debt will relieve an immeasurable burden off your shoulders.

Disclosure: Fresh Life Advice is an opinion-based website. I am not a financial advisor, and the opinions on this site should not be considered financial advice.

Personal Capital: The Ultimate Tool to track your Net Worth, Budget and more.

What are your thoughts on long-term student debt? Let me know in the comments below.

August Side Income Report | 2023

August 2023 Side Income

Welcome to the 2023 August Side Income Report.

Let’s start this post with the obligatory caveat:

FLA’s side hustle income reports are not for the purpose of bragging. This side income amount of money is by no means impressive. The sole purpose of this series is to inspire you to create diversified income streams in order to help you achieve your financial goals faster.

I began this tumultuous F.I.R.E. (Financial Independence – Retire Early) journey almost immediately after graduating from college and shortly realizing it is never ideal to work for someone other than yourself.

After withdrawing from the corporate world, I plan to fully indulge in my mission of helping 10 million people with their own path to financial freedom. I’ve discovered a wonderful community of people with shared mindsets. So I’m currently on a journey to see if we can turn FLA into a little business that supports the mission.

The reason I’ve decided to publish these income reports is because I want you to be a part of the journey.

After aggressively saving 50%+ of my annual income year after year, I’m approximately 35% of the way to retirement with 9 years to go. I’m aware that side hustles may never fully support one’s expenses, but I’m willing to try.

At the very minimum of making $1/month (what one may consider failure), I am ecstatic as I realize this can be considered supplemental income that will be able to be reinvested into this blog to enhance your reading experience on FLA.

Through my arduous journey, I’ve learned to focus on the future value of money. One dollar to you may look like a standard George Washington-faced bill, but to me, I see its potential.  Accounting for 3% inflation, investing that dollar could return 5 times its original value in 25 years. Yes, that’s like putting $1 into an ATM and having it return a $5 bill back to you. How amazing is compound interest?! Hypothetically, you can increase that principal amount, and you’ve got yourself some unbelievable returns.

My hope with these income reports is ultimately to present some transparency for you. By showing it doesn’t take much effort to earn and save, I may motivate you to chase one of your biggest dreams. Dreams may originally sound outlandish, but they all need to start somewhere, right? Without further ado, here is FLA’s August 2023 Side Income Report.



The best way to make money is to have various streams of revenue. The best way to protect yourself in the course of ill-fated events stripping you of some of your main sources of income is to diversify.

We have all heard the pragmatic advice of “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” Well, put this theory into practice. The following is my best attempt to develop additional sources of income. Below are the six ways I attempted to make money from my side hustles in the month of August.



Stocks are my absolute favorite money-making assets. Your money can make money for you with the click of a ‘buy’ button! Sure, there are ups and downs in the stock market, but if you look historically at the S&P 500 Index or the Dow Jones Industrial Average, your investment generally grows over the long term. Remember, investing and gambling are not the same thing.

“If you aren’t willing to own a stock for ten years, don’t even think about owning it for ten minutes.”

-Warren Buffett, American Investor/Business Tycoon/Philanthropist/Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

Investors and analysts contend that conducting research on which stock to buy may be active work, but it is a generally held credence that dividends are passive income.

What are dividends?

Simply, they are distribution of some of a company’s earnings to a class of its shareholders. In this case, you are the shareholder. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but the company you invest in will reward you with bonus money!

Let’s take a look at the aftermath of the stocks that paid out dividends this month:

August Side Income 2023 Stock Dividends

Which stocks have I invested in? I have a few individual stock picks, but the finance community knows this is a loser’s game. I mainly hold VTI, the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund, which allows you to be diversified and capture 3,525 different stocks with a minimal expense ratio, or annual fee, of 0.03%. Index funds will often take you to the promised land in the long run.

Typically, you have 2 choices with dividends. You can either accept the dividend as cold hard cash or you can choose to reinvest the money back into the same stock automatically. It’s as simple as clicking the ‘yes’ button when prompted with the question on whether or not to re-invest dividends.

I strongly recommend you to reinvest your dividends and capital gains. Why? Well, look at this way: you didn’t have the earned dividend money to begin with. Do you really need it at this moment? Why not let your additional money grow even more? Open up an investment account and enjoy the magic of compounding interest by increasing your principal investment.

August Side Income – Stock Dividends / Interest Total: $91.98


In my free time, I participate in paid surveys. It’s one of my other sources of income. The surveys are mindless and allow you to temporarily escape from life’s struggles and reality. Oftentimes, you have a chance to play your part in society and provide meaningful feedback on hot topics that may be decided by top companies and government officials.

The 3 survey programs I use daily are:

  1. Prolific
  2. Pinecone Research
  3. YouGov

I strongly recommend any of these three survey websites because of the higher payouts. Our time on this planet is valuable. Always consider how much time you are trading for money.


Prolific seems to have the highest quantity of surveys available. Each survey also previews an hourly rate to the user. This significantly helps in determining if the survey is worth your time. I’ve seen them range from $3/hour all the way up to $30/hour, but on average are $8/hour.

Pinecone Research

Pinecone Research surveys always reward you with $3 for every survey. Since each survey is typically around 10 minutes long, the site has a pretty standard hourly rate of $12/hour. However, the frequency of surveys is much less than Prolific.


Finally, YouGov’s typical survey lasts for 10 minutes and will pay out $1.50, translating to an hourly rate of $6/hr. Even though it is the lowest payout, it still helps to have supplemental income. Again, always consider the balance between time and money.

YouGov is an eclectic group of the media, nonprofits and companies that congregate to find out what the world thinks. YouGov happens to be one of the most-quoted data sources in the US and across the world.

Prolific, Pinecone Research, and YouGov offer all kinds of rewards, but I normally recommend cash payout via PayPal. The transfer is usually instantaneous. Prolific does pay out in GBP, but the money is translated to USD when conducting a bank transfer in PayPal.

In fact, Prolific does not have a minimum payout, Pinecone’s minimum payout is $5, and YouGov’s minimum cash payout is $50, albeit YouGov offers the option of a $15 Amazon gift card.

August Side Income 2023 Survey Earnings

August Side Income 2023 Pinecone Research Cash Out

August Side Income 2023 Prolific Earnings

August Side Income 2023 Prolific Earnings Conversion

August Side Income – Surveys Total: $289.86


An additional passive income stream is selling your old goods or unused consumer products. Simply list your items with competitive pricing on Amazon and/or eBay, sit back, and let the buyers make you offers.

I often notice friends, family, and even co-workers constantly looking to throw out items that are still in perfectly good condition; it drives me nuts! Why not let someone bid on the product? Worst case will be that it doesn’t sell, and then you can throw out the item. No harm, no foul.

At the very least, donate your stuff. I typically enjoy donating old apparel to the Salvation Army and other charities. It always feels good to know your treasured clothing is not going to waste.

This month, there was a stranger that bought an item of my personal inventory I was looking to discard. After fees and small shipping costs, I usually still walk away with a hefty profit.

August Side Income 2023 Seller Earnings

August Side Income 2023 eBay August 31

August Side Income – Selling Total: $35.51


As a blogger, I would like to keep the user experience as clean as possible. Therefore, I have chosen to keep all Google AdSense ads from my website. I am an avid reader of many other blogs, and I can truthfully admit it retracts from the reading experience. I am very proud of this decision and will continue with this route.

August Side Income – Google AdSense Revenue: $0.00


I published my first eBook titled How I Launched, Marketed, and Promoted a High-Traffic Blog in Under 15 Days last year. I only promoted the book as part of the launch, but several people found their way to the sales page. Again, this is a learning process to convert the views into actual sales. As Robert Kiyosaki alludes to in his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, it’s all about being a best-selling author, not a best-writing author. There is a subtle yet significant difference.

August Side Income – eBook Blog Startup Manual Sales: $0.00


Who would’ve ever thought that spending money would actually earn you money? Well, with cash-back credit cards, now it’s certainly possible. With my Capital One Venture Card, I can now make this dream a reality.

Depending on the card you have, you’ll score 1-2 miles with every dollar you spend. Capital One Miles can be used in a variety of ways and are generally worth between half a cent and one cent apiece.

Earn 50,000 bonus miles (equivalent to $500) once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Although I’m still trying my best to limit opportunities to throw away those hard-earned paychecks, the positive result is that I earn more in cash back from the credit card rewards.

August Side Income 2023 Capital One Credit Card Cash Reward Cash Back

After looking at my monthly expense report, I saw that I earned 1,523 miles, which is equivalent to $15.23.

I now have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card.

Earn 80,000 bonus miles (equivalent to $1,000) once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

June Side Income 2022 Chase Sapphire Credit Card Bonus

When you use points to redeem for cash, each point is worth $.01 (one cent), which means that 100 points equals $1 in redemption value. Each point you redeem for travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards is worth $.0125 (one and a quarter cents), which means that 100 points equals $1.25 in redemption value, and points are worth 25% more than if redeemed for cash. For example, 20,000 points are worth $250 when redeemed for travel purchases, or $200 when redeemed for cash. The cost of travel is based on the rates and fares available through the Ultimate Rewards website and travel center, and may not reflect all rates and fares that are available through other sales channels.

If you choose to use points and your Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card to pay for your purchase, each point will be worth $.0125, but your credit card will be charged the full remaining dollar amount.August Side Income 2023 Chase Sapphire Credit Card Cash Back

After this month, I was able to earn $46.42 this month from the Chase card.

August Side Income – Capital One & Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card Cash-Back Rewards – $61.65


Well, that’s it for this month’s side income report! Hope your 2023 is going well.

In 2022, I was able to max out my Roth IRA and 401k – I highly recommend you do the same in 2023 if you have the option! In January, I immediately transferred the maximum $6,500 limit from my taxable brokerage account to the tax-deferred Roth IRA for the 2023 year, with most of it invested in January. The sooner, the better since time in the market often beats timing the market.

Investing in 2023 is a great time because we were just in a bear market (down over 20% from the highs) in 2022 so stocks are on sale!

Thank you for taking the time to read through my latest August income report and thank you for contributing if you have previously purchased something through one of my affiliate links!

If you wish to support this site, but don’t have a need for any of FLA’s affiliate products, you could simply do your regular Amazon shopping through any of the links on this site that lead to You won’t pay any extra and FLA will receive a small commission. Thanks so much if you do so!

That’s a wrap for this income report! I am looking forward to earning more money on the side in the future. Stay hustlin’, my friends!

August Side Income 2023 Summary

Total August Side Income: $479.00


How was your August 2023 side hustling? Let me know in the comments below.


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