If you think college is costly, try imaging life after school – with a mountain of school loans and credit card debts to pay off.

According to a new survey from Alliance Bernstein Investments, 34 percent of college graduates say they have sold possessions to make ends meet. Forty-two percent say they live paycheck-to-paycheck, and a full quarter have delayed medical or dental treatment in order to balance their budget.

If you’re not seeing the doctor when you’re sick, you’re probably not contributing to your company-sponsored 401(k), saving for a down payment for your first home, or building an emergency fund.

Instead, you may be adding to your credit card debt.

It’s tough to do, but you can choose to take control of your debts. As soon as you graduate, come up with a plan to limit what you spend and use the “savings” to pay down a significant portion of your debt over 5 years. It may mean taking a second job, or doing without fancy cars or vacations. But the peace of mind and true wealth you’ll start to generate are worth it.

With practical, informative consumer advice, I’m Ilyce Glink, News-Talk 750 WSB