Here’s a great story about Ken Ilgunas, a young man who dug himself out of two years of undergrad student debt. How did he do it? By moving to Alaska, getting a job, and not spending. In two years, he had paid down his whole $32,000 student debt.

The moral of the story: if you want to make a lot of money quickly, go to work somewhere where labor is in high demand and others don’t want to go. Alaska: check. Then don’t spend.

It reminds me of my less dramatic story about how I followed the same principles at an earlier age. I’ve posted about it here and here.

I wasn’t in debt when I decided to work in a nickel mine in northern Canada. My net worth was about $20. But my goal was not to get into debt and to make enough money in 3 months to pay for my whole last year of college: tuition, room and board, and books.

I’ve told most of the story in the above-noted posts but one part I didn’t tell much about was on the spending side. I was in a mining camp 40 miles south of Thompson, Manitoba with 300 men. Single guys who spent money spent it on three main things: cigarettes, booze, and prostitutes. I did none of those. Out of about $2,000 I made that summer (in 1969 dollars), I definitely spent under $100.

Oh, and I made my goal. In fact I quit on August 15 with an extra $350 that I used to fly down to Chicago, attend an Intercollegiate Studies Institute conference at Rockford College, and then travel across eastern United States and tour Philadelphia and New York.

HT to Tom G. Palmer.