12 Things To Do With $20,000 (Instead Of Taking Out A Loan For Grad School)


After finishing my undergraduate degree I was lucky enough to get a job… as a waitress at a new restaurant… because I had move back home with my mom since I couldn’t afford the college lifestyle (shout out to student aid!) after I completed my degree. I spent a year wandering the streets of Florida until my boss, who also became somewhat of a mentor, talked me into going to grad school. “You’re a smart girl,” he said; “You have potential and a masters degree will help you reach it,” he said.

Fast forward through the year of margarita and taco monotony and I am only a few months away from moving ten states away to attend graduate school in Massachusetts. I remember the thrill of the application process, the high of clicking the submit button and the euphoria of opportunity that came with getting that acceptance letter. All that was months ago, however, and the excitement has turned into an extreme anxiety of HOW THE HELL AM I GOING TO PAY FOR THIS?!

Oh, student loans, you say? That sounds great, but is this even the masters degree that I want to pursue? Will I enjoy doing this for the rest of my life? Is another liberal arts degree even worth it? Did I have to pick a freaking out of state school? Am I going to even be able to afford to live in Boston? Will I be able to get a job to supplement the little amount of money I have saved up from waiting tables? I don’t know. I have no freaking clue. None.

$20,000 is a lot of money, and at this point in my life I’m not sure if I want to spend it (before I really even have it) to go to school again. But what other options do I have? Well, here are 20 ideas I have for what I could use the money on besides paying back a student loan.

1. Travel. Obviously. Because that’s all anyone ever wants to do anyways. Do you know the exchange rate in Uganda these days? I do, and it’s cheap as crap to hang out there. You could spend the rest of your life there on twenty grand and at this point it doesn’t sound like that bad of an idea.

2. Take time off to write that great American novel. You know it’s in there somewhere. It’s totally is. It’s just having trouble surfacing between the 13 hour doubles and day off drinking binges.

3. Start your own business. That crochet cat hat store you’ve always wished was there could become a reality. Name it something simple but clever like “The Cat Hat Store”. Self made millionaire right there.

4. Put a down payment on a house. Decorate the crap out of it and be able to look at yourself pleasingly in the mirror, as you realize that you’re settling down. Let me husband and kids and minivan commence.

5. Get plastic surgery. I mean, you were always pretty of course, but those double D’s and that new ass you have are sure to catch the eye of some really wealthy man who is going to support you for the rest of your life. Beauty requires no degree in this scenario.

6. Go south and become a drug lord. Who doesn’t want to be Alex from Orange is The New Black? She’s a badass, and $20,000 could get you there.

7. Get another bachelors degree. Double majoring is a thing right? And you could live those four years of beer bonging glory all over again.

8. Donate it to a charity. Zuccotti Park may be your only option of places to live after that, but you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that someone somewhere is better because of you.

9. Gamble. You may lose everything. You may become a millionaire, but either way you’ll enjoy a shit load of free rooms and buffets in the mean time.

10. Invest in the stock market. Similar to the previous option, but with less free food.

11. Buy a new car. You can drive across the country and sleep in it every night. No obligations, nothing to do, except drive and look and look and drive.

12. Buy $20,000 worth of alcohol to cope with the fact that you’ll never go anywhere in life without that graduate degree.