In Their Own Words

By Arkansas NEXT: Money on Friday, May 14, 2021

Young Arkansans share lessons they’ve learned and their go-to advice.

Jessi James
Age: 25
Hometown: Corning
Attended: ASU–Newport, cosmetology major
Currently: Assistant manager at SportClips in Jonesboro

"One piece of advice I wish someone had given me before jumping into the real world would be teaching me how to actually budget and factor in saving money. You hear the basics of budgeting, but I never felt as if it was really explained to me, so when I first started making money, I would still find myself living paycheck to paycheck.”

Meredith Martin
Age: 20
Hometown: Sheridan
Attending: University of Arkansas, kinesiology major
Currently: Preparing for a medical internship and applying to medical school

“There’s nothing wrong with taking out student loans. However, if you can avoid it, I would say to do so. Apply for scholarships, both local and through your university, and apply for grants that you won’t have to pay back.”

Kelli Roy
Age: 29
Hometown: Little Rock
Attended: University of Arkansas, retail major
Currently: Marketing and events lead at Arkansas Business Publishing Group

“I wish I knew more about subsidized vs unsubsidized loans. People need to really understand how deferment affects your interest rates and how loans in general will affect their life. Only take out what you need."

Pierce Teeuwen
Age: 23
Hometown: Grapevine, Texas
Attending: University of Arkansas School of Law
Currently: Graduating in 2023

“A personal lesson for me was learning to be patient. To make your money go farther, spend it on quality products. A lot of companies shill out products to compete with name brands, and some are not bad, and, in fact, can save you money. But overall, you should spend money on something that will last. Some people get caught up in material things, but for me, I’d much rather spend money on a shared experience with people I care about.”

Gracie Nowlin
Age: 21
Hometown: Redfield
Attending: University of Arkansas at Little Rock, computer science major
Currently: Graduating debt-free in 2021

“My advice would be to try to only take out subsidized loans so they don’t gain interest until you’re out of college and to only take out what you need. Just because they offer it doesn’t mean you need to take it all. Also, save while you’re in college if you can to help pay them off.”

Nicholas Herring
Age: 21
Hometown:  Lexington, Ky.
Attended: Arkansas State University, biology major
Currently: Lab technician for Solaris Diagnostics

“When I was younger, everyone told me time management was key to a successful academic and professional career. No one told me how to manage any of my time though. My advice is to take care of everything immediately as it comes to you. It would have saved me a lot of headaches if I simply did my taxes as soon as they were available. It would have saved me a lot of headaches if I did my school applications and assignments immediately when received. Life is sometimes hard, but it can be made easier and simpler by not procrastinating.”

Sarah Friedman
Age: 21
Hometown:  Sherwood
Attending: University of Central Arkansas, chemistry major
Currently: On-campus job at UCA

“I would start saving as soon as possible. I sock away  20% of my paycheck for any unexpected expenses—which will come! Also, you need credit cards to build credit, but you also need to pay them off each month. Otherwise, you will be paying high interest rates.”