The best way to manage your debts is to have no debts at all. However, very few people can boast high net worth and no debts, especially in tight economy today. When it comes to funding your education, becoming increasingly expensive year after year, it is impossible for most people to move towards a degree without acquiring student debt.
The most common mistake made by people struggling with debt payments today is that they did not plan debt repayment ahead. This is especially true with students, who have very little or no borrowing experience at all. A lot of students do not consider student loan repayment up until graduation, with many not even having a clear picture of what they owe and how much they have to repay. Below are some helpful tips that may help you to deal with your student debt more responsibly.
Perform a Research
Not all student loans are the same. They all differ in amounts, allowances, repayment terms, rates, and incentives. Some loan repayments may be postponed, while others may not. Certain loans offer incentives in form of reduced interest rates that kick in once timely repayment history is established. Others allow repayment in form of payroll deduction with repayment amounts tied to your income. As you may see, there are significant differences among various student loan programs. It is of your best interest to do some legwork and find the ones that offer the most benefit in your individual case.
Check Your Mail
Students get tons of correspondence regarding financial aid and student loans. While most of your mail is useless advertising, it is important to go through it to ensure that you have not missed any information regarding you loans, financial aid modifications, and important changes and deadlines. Should you get such important notifications requiring your attention, make sure you act promptly.
Get Organized With Paperwork
Students are not the best when it comes to organizing personal financial matters. It does not mean, however, that it is smart to repeat mistakes that other people have already made. You may be surprised that by the end of a four-year college term many students have no clue who they borrowed from, how much, what their monthly payments are going to be, and when the loan repayment would start. To avoid becoming such a wreck, establish a record-keeping system that is convenient to you, whether it is going to be old-school envelopes and binders, or hi-tech software. Make sure you have easy access to all of your student loan documents, notices, and contact information of your lenders. Always know the important terms of your loan agreements, such as the amounts owed, estimated monthly payments, and timelines for repayment.
Attend Entrance and Exit Sessions
If you consider help of student loans to fund your education, you will have to attend student loan counseling sessions. While they do not take much of your time, they provide you with useful information about the way student lending works and effective tools to manage your debts. Most schools conduct these sessions online, making it even easier for students.
Thoughtful Budgeting is the Key to Successful Debt Management
Many students enjoy an expensive lifestyle while in college only to discover they would have to struggle financially after graduation. Student loans are granted to fund your education, not after-school beer parties. Living a modest lifestyle in college may reduce your future monthly payments in times where other important expenses would kick in, such as getting married, having a mortgage, and raising kids. It is vital to prepare realistic budgets and go by them. In no way you should limit yourself to the edge of survival; however, throwing student loan money at useless things is not wise either.
Cut your expenses without significantly limiting a comfort of living while in college. Very often, such a compromise is way easier to achieve than many think. If you find it difficult to combine a comfortable lifestyle while limiting your loaning activities, find a part-time job. It will not only help you to get extra cash to fund your life activities, but also help you to gain great time management experience for your adult life, and even allow for putting some money aside.
Make Sure Your Enrollment Complies With Financial Aid Requirements
In case you are thinking about part-time enrollment, make sure you will remain eligible for an in-school deferment. Schools usually consider a load of six credit hours per semester to be sufficient for such eligibility. However, always check with your college specific requirements regarding part-time standing in advance to avoid unpleasant issues.
Prepare Your Tax Returns Right
Most student loan recipients qualify for tax deductions. If your accounting skills are really bad, it is better to seek help of a professional tax consultant. Depending on the amount of student debt, repayment plan, and your lending terms tax savings may vary. For most students, however, they are appealing enough to take advantage of. It is also a good idea to allocate your tax savings toward paying down your student debt or any other debts you may have.
Get Your Wallet Ready
Once school is over, it is time to tighten your belt and get ready to cover monthly student loan bills. Depending on the type of student loans you have taken out, repayments may start right after graduation or may be postponed a bit. Regardless, they have to be paid, sooner or later. To ensure problem-free debt repayment, keep on top of things. Submit loan payments before the due date, regardless of whether you received your monthly bill or not. Always update your lender with any changes of your status, name, contact information, and so forth. Ensure immediate response to any inquiries your lender may make.
If you have or anticipate any difficulties with your finances that may prevent you from making timely payments on your student loans, address those immediately. There are many deferment and consolidation programs in place to assist people with financial difficulties, whether those are just temporary or long term.