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Susan Tompor: Millennials buried in debt can't buy into American Dream

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Amanda Hill, 27, deals with big student loan debt by doing everything she can to keep her other bills small.

"I have cut out all the things that aren't absolutely necessary," Hill said.

She eats out maybe once a month. She limits her driving to control how much she spends on gas. She lives in an apartment in Southfield, Mich., near her job as a community outreach coordinator for the Better Business Bureau.

She avoids getting her nails done or shopping as a form of entertainment. She buys clothes about two times a year. "Whatever you have, just make it work until the next season," Hill said.

Hill -- who is juggling $90,000 in student loan debt after graduating in 2015 from Hampton University in Virginia -- figured she didn't need a car payment on top of her monthly student loan payments.

So she bought a 2005 Saturn Ion last year from a woman at her church.

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She paid $500 for her car.

"And I was surprised it actually worked," she said. "But I had to learn how to drive a stick shift."

Dreaming of buying a new car when you get that first job out of college? Or maybe buying your first house? It used to be a rite of passage. Not so much any more.

"It's not going to be you're 30 and you're married and you're going to have kids," said Hill.

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