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-In this video, one woman gives us her account of the money and life decisions that paid off in the long run, from choosing an income-based student loan repayment plan to avoiding lifestyle inflation.

This video is sponsored by Chipper. Click here to register and link your loans with Chipper to navigate your student loans and get out of debt faster:$3p=a_custom_1049769472056432984

Through weekly video essays, "Making It Work" showcases how *real* people have upgraded their personal or financial lives in some meaningful way. Making your life work for you doesn't mean getting rich just for the sake of it. It means making the most of what you have to build a life you love, both in your present and in your future. And while managing money is a crucial life skill for everyone, there's no one "right way" to go about it — you have to figure out what works best for *you,* full stop.

Video by Grace Lee

Written by Heather P.

00:25 Living with roommates
01:09 Choosing the right student loan repayment plan
01:38 Chipper app
02:12 Getting rejected for an internship
03:03 Turning down a graduate program
04:00 Learning how to cook

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Making It Work is sponsored by Chipper.

Click the link in our description to navigate your student loans and get out of debt faster. There were many mistakes I made in my early 20s with my money and otherwise.

But today, I'm going to be talking about some of the financial and personal decisions I'm glad I made. Here are five things I did or started doing at 22 that I'm still benefiting from at 30. Number one, lived with roommates for several years after college.

Growing up, I always had this very Carrie Bradshaw image of myself as an independent grown woman in a big city, an image that never included communal living. But in college, I started to understand just how expensive life could be and how rare it would be for a twenty-something without generational wealth to live on their own in the city I wanted to live in. I ended up having roommates for five years, which was a lot longer than I originally would have liked.

But it meant that my rent was at least half of what I would have paid to live in my own studio or one bedroom, if not even less than that. I think this move ultimately kept me out of a really steep credit card debt and also made me much more appreciative when I was able to move out on my own. I also got really good at not overspending on material items because I simply didn't have the space for them.

Number two, went on an income-based student loan repayment plan. When I started paying back my student loans, I eventually realized I was lucky on my loans with federal because it meant I was eligible for an income-based repayment plan. So when I wasn't making very much money, my monthly payment was really low.

It got higher as I earned more and had a budget that could manage bigger payments. This means I didn't necessarily pay my loans back as quickly as I could have, but it allowed me to make room in my early 20s budget for other important things like saving up a real emergency fund. And if you're looking to stay on top of your own student loan debt in the most painless way possible, I highly recommend checking out the Chipper app.

Chipper helps you optimize and pay off student loan debt faster than traditional repayment methods. It will connect with all of your student loan providers, both public and private loans, while its algorithm identifies options for repayment management and loan forgiveness tailored to your individual circumstances. Plus, with Chipper roundups and Chipper rewards features, you can chip away at your debt even more quickly, such as through rounding up spare change from your purchases to go towards paying down debt.

Just connect your credit cards, spend like normal, and you're good to go. Click the link in our description to get started with Chipper and get out of debt faster. Number three, got rejected for a low-paying internship.

It seems counterintuitive to be happy about a rejection, but I ultimately am. I got to the final round of interviews with a big name corporation who had an internship/apprenticeship program I'd been dreaming about getting to be a part of after which I got a simple impersonal form email telling me that I hadn't been accepted. I was so heartbroken for so long because I truly thought that one program was going to be the most important stepping stone in my career.

I instead got a temp job that paid $15 an hour, which wasn't that much in my city, but still ultimately paid me 50% more than the internship would have. I now know that working in corporate America just isn't for me and that most people who go through the program that rejected me ultimately don't work for that company long term. It took me a little while to make connections and really establish myself in my field, but starting my post-college career at a higher hourly rate really didn't hurt.

Number four, turned down a graduate program I'd gotten accepted into. About six months after graduating, I was feeling really lost and confused about what I actually wanted to do with my life. So I applied to some graduate programs that would ultimately lead to a career in adult education or teaching at a community college.

While that might be a great path for some people, it was just a backup plan for me and one I am now really glad I didn't go with because it would have involved accruing even more student debt. I essentially turned down my acceptance into a program that accepted me because it would have involved a cross-country move that I simply couldn't afford. And that alone should tell you how truly invested I was in that plan.

Ultimately, I don't think anyone should make major decisions simply because they feel like the natural next step. Graduate school is a huge time and money commitment with no real career guarantees depending on the program. And it's the right decision for many people.

But for me, it would have just been a way to put off real life a little longer without being super strategic or even helpful in terms of what I actually wanted to do. Number five, I actually learned how to cook. I grew up in a non-cooking household.

The fanciest we ever got was heating shrimp on the stove and steaming broccoli in the microwave. My roommate eventually taught me how to cook. And as a person who loves food, I had the embarrassingly late realization that good food doesn't necessitate going to a restaurant.

I go out to eat a lot more now than I did in my early 20s, but I'm so glad I can easily cook for myself at home because whenever I want to save more money, putting a pause on dining out is the first thing I turn to. That wouldn't be the case if I didn't take the time to learn my way around a kitchen earlier in life. Of course, none of the choices I made were groundbreaking when it comes to money advice, but the cumulative impact of all of these choices has made me more considerate and intentional when it comes to my personal finances.