Listen weekdays from 1-3pm ET
(No audio? Try our help)
Recent shows | More media

Listen Live: Mon-Fri 1-3pm ET

Posted: 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013

Pay down debt by living in a van?

Man pays down $32,000 in student loans in 2 years

  • comment(2)



Related

  photo
Get more consumer advice on ClarkHoward.com and The Clark Howard Show.

By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


Some people go to great lengths to eliminate their student loan debt.

Such is the case of Ken Ilgunas. Ken was a double major in English and History who got into debt once as an undergrad and learned his lesson when it came time for graduate studies.

Ken graduated from the University of Buffalo as an undergrad with $32,000 in debt, and he was making $8 an hour with his bachelor's degree. So what did he do? He didn't ask his parents for money...He moved to Alaska!

He spent 2 years working under tough conditions and paid back every penny of that $32,000 in 24 months.

Later when he enrolled in Duke for grad school, he voluntarily lived in his van so he had no housing costs and wouldn't have to take out more loans.

Of course, he wrote a book called Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom. It's an amazing story of someone twice imposing hardship on himself to pay down or avoid debt.

I have a simpler idea. It's two words: Community college.

Start your education for 2 years at a community college. Then transfer those credits to a 4-year school where you plan to graduate. That's a surefire way to reduce the overall cost of an education.

Meanwhile, if you're a parent and you're still saving for a young child's college education, The Wall Street Journal shows how even just a little contribution to a 529 account can add up over time.

  • comment(2)