May 3, 2014
I say this often, but it is to do your homework. Do you homework before you even consider getting a student loan, student loans can be a huge mistake. Do you homework before you pick a student loan, don't just go with the company that approves your loan first. Do you homework when you are in repayment, put together a long term plan that works, not one that just gets you through the current month.
June 1, 2014
True, Sherpa! Getting your basics squared away is essential. That said, there's so much more you can do!
To spread my best advice for student loans, I started the topic "finding cheap fun, AKA how to pay your loans while not becoming a social hermit:"
I'm assuming you guys already know the basics. Extended payment plan options. Private loans are worse than the plague. Use your grace period for good and start paying those loans now. Easy! If you're being aggressive about paying down your loans, the REAL challenge is figuring out how to knock out your student loans fast without having people in your social circle, even friends who also have loans themselves, disown you as too cheap to do anything fun. It's all about balance.
It’s very helpful become the "cruise director" of your social circle and be the one to come up with frugal, fun things to do. I know in my town, for example, meeting for brunch is a standard default activity friends will suggest. The thing is, “let’s do brunch!” is usually just city-speak for “you're cool and I want to hang out, but my apartment is embarrassingly messy and/or microscopically small, so let’s meet somewhere else.” It's fine to occasionally splash out, but if you want to have friends yet not go into debt for weekly helpings of overpriced carbs swimming in butter, it helps to have cool (and inexpensive) alternate activity ideas to offer. I’m on a bunch of “cultural outing” listservs for my city, and have found that it’s much more fun to be thought of as “the friend who always knows which museum exhibits are opening and where the best hikes are” than it is to be “the friend who has to be pried out of her apartment because she’s so cheap."
It also helps to find support in communities like this one for the Student Loan Sherpa. Mr. Money Mustache (no affiliation, just a fan), is also a good general resource for frugal living.
June 20, 2014
Best advice I can offer from working in a financial aid office myself: Only take out the amount of student loans you actually need for the semester you are enrolled in. Many colleges package your financial aid in a manner where you may be receiving money back. Keep in mind, if you are getting money back and are taking out loans, you will have to pay that extra amount back! My advice is to review your award letter thoroughly and if you are receiving extra money back, return it!
June 1, 2014
NitashaS makes an important point. The best way to manage student loans is to keep your loan balance as small as possible from the start. I went to a school like the one NitashaS is describing, where once I was in the system, I was more or less auto-credited with the maximum possible federal student loans each semester unless I took the time to return part of the money. Yes, it's annoying that the burden of filing out that loan reduction paperwork is the student's responsibility, but doing so was definitely worth my time, especially when dealing with unsubsidized loans.
June 20, 2014
Doing your homework is right Sherpa! Preparation and doing your research is key! Too many people think loans are "normal", everyone has debt and therefore its ok to take our more and more loans. When you invest in yourself by taking out loans for your education, do is wisely. Side_hustle_Sally, I am glad you can relate! It seems like we are in the same debt drowning boat.
It took me a while to pay off my private loans because of their high interest rate, but I want to share a few things that worked for me.
- I’m a nurse so I looked to take extra shifts with an agency that paired me with an immunization clinic, helped to get some extra cash.
- I used applications to help me get money back.
- I tried to pay off the highest interest loans as quickly as possible by breaking down my finances on a excel spreadsheet and seeing where I could reallocate my money into my loans. Ended up refinancing after I realized that it would ultimately reduce the overall payback amount. It isn't right for everyone though, so do you're homework.
Hope this helps!
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