Dave Ramsey says: Don't take out loans for unnecessary college expenses

Published: Tuesday, May 14 2013 1:40 p.m. MDT

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Dear Dave,

Im a stay-at-home mom now, and my husband brings home $2,600 a month. Were trying to get out of debt, but we need more money coming in. I want to go back to work, but emotionally part of me feels like I should stay home with our 2-year-old daughter. What do you think?

Kayla

Dear Kayla,

I understand the feelings involved, especially if youve spent all of your time home with your child. But dont make the mistake of blaming the debt if you simply want to go back to work. Youre not a bad person if you have kids and you work outside the home.

I have several ladies on my team who have young children, and they work 40 hours a week. Guess what? Theyre excellent mothers! Anyone who says a woman cant be a great mom because she works outside the home is full of it. On the other hand, if anyone says youre not fulfilling yourself as a person or youre stunting your intellectual development because youre a stay-at-home mom, theyre full of it too!

Id advise you and your husband to sit down, talk about this a lot, and pray about the situation. Dont worry about what anyone else thinks, because its none of their business. You guys are in charge of your lives and your family. That makes it your job to decide whats best.

If you want to stay at home, and you guys can make it happen financially, thats a great thing. If you cant right now, or you simply want to go back into the workforce, thats fine too. Itll help solve your debt problem. Then after youve got your money under control, you might find you want to come home again. The option will be there.

For now, I think you should go back to work. Why? Because you want to!

—Dave

Dear Dave,

We live in New Jersey, and my wife and I can afford the $10,000 to send our son to a state college. However, we have a younger child who is heading to college in a couple of years, and Im having a hard time justifying room and board when he can commute. My wife doesnt have a problem paying for it, even though it would mean taking out a loan. What do you think?

Andy

Dear Andy,

Im with you on this one. If you had an extra $40,000 lying around, this wouldnt be an issue. But if youre talking about borrowing money just for him to live in a dorm, my answer is a resounding no!

If your son, or your wife, wants the college experience to be part of the equation, then Junior can get a job to pay for the added expense. Anyone can make $10,000 a year delivering pizza while in school, and it would be a great life experience. You might spot him a little something to get him in there and get things going, but Id make it contingent on him working to pay the remainder.

Theres no reason to take out loans for something like this. It sounds like you guys can cash flow the important stuff, but make sure this kid learns what work is and why its important. I worked full time while I was in college and still graduated in four years.

Besides, most college dorm rooms look a lot like prison cells; theyre tiny, with concrete block walls and maybe a window, if youre lucky. Does this really sound like an experience worth going into debt for? I dont think so!

—Dave

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