The prospect of a college education is something that most people now dread. Not only is it nearly impossible to land a good job without a degree, college tuition also necessitates taking out student loans. While student loans are now a very unfortunate fact of life—that does not mean that it is something that you have to live with forever.
Student debt is something that you can stay on top of! Here are a few tied and tested tips on how to handle your student debt the right way:
Fully Research Your Loan
The key to knowing how to handle is by fully understanding the loan that you got. Ideally, you do this before you take out the loan. However, if that ship has sailed, it’s still not too late to really get to know it. It is crucial that you find out the:
If you don’t know who your lender is, it’s important to know about them now. You need to determine if your loan is non-federal or other forms. Doing so will enable you to narrow down your options and the issues that you should concern yourself about.
If you didn’t read this part previously, it is important to do so now. Finding out the terms can help you out down the line. There will be guidelines there on what you can do to stretch out payment periods or you can even find out your grace period—if you have one. Not all student loans are allowed a grace period after graduation.
When you’re borrowing money, it’s important to know how much you’re going to pay back eventually. It’s not something to shelve and only think about when graduation is looming. Knowing the balance will also open up the way to finding out your interest rates.
Utilize Student Debt Tools
There are a lot of tools that you can make use of! Here are some of them:
Student loan calculators come in various forms now. They can come in apps and it’s something that’s fairly available online as well. Online calculators can help you keep track of your progress (or lack thereof). You can use a loan calculator to see how long it will realistically take you to pay off your loan basing it off on critical things like your balance or interest rates.
There are several forms of loan calculators that you can choose from as well. You can check the official website of the Department of Education to use their Estimator. If your loan isn’t a federal one, you can check out the website of your lender. Chances are, they’ll have their own version of the loan calculator.
Otherwise known as the “Student Loan Hero” this free to use profile keeps track of all your loan concerns. You can sign up and keep all your loan information in one place—pretty handy if you’ve gone more than one loan running. It will keep you updated on when a payment is due and how much it’ll be depending on the date that you input.
Loan Hero also has a pretty significant resource pool for additional tips, tricks, and information that’s relevant to anyone dealing with a student loan.
Don’t Ignore Your Debt
This is the number one root of most, if not all, student debt problems. A lot of students—freshmen usually—tend to feel easy about the debt as its something that won’t be pressing until a few years from now. However, if you’re smart about it, you can knock off a significant amount of your debt by starting off on the interest payments while you’re still in school.
Instead spending your time ignoring something that’s not going to go away magically, consider using the resource you have while in school to better deal with your student loan in the future.
Never Lose Contact with Your Lender
One thing that’s important is to keep all your information current. If you find yourself changing addresses or contact numbers, it is important that you let your lender know at the soonest possible opportunity. This will show them that you’re acting in good faith and have no plans defaulting on your debt.
If they ever send you any emails, don’t ignore those. You never know if any of those contained any updates or special deals that you can take advantage of.
Avoid Debt Relief Services as Much as You Can
There are a lot of firms that pop up all over the country that offer reduced premiums or bartered down interest rates. They often charge exorbitant services fees for information that you can find yourself if you actually bothered to.
There are also a unscrupulous scam companies that imply or outright light about their capabilities regarding your debt. The worst that they do is to take your monthly payments and keep them without ever having contacted your lender to begin with.
While there are debt relief companies that are above board, you’re ultimately better off getting finance literacy discussions with trusted financial advisors.
Make Use of an Auto-Debit Deal with Your Bank
Auto-debit is pretty much like an automatic transfer for savings. Only this one has your money going straight to your lender. It’s pretty handy since with it in place, the chances of you missing a payment are pretty much slim.
Also, there are more and more lending institutions that provide a discount on the principal or interest if payments are made through auto-debit. Not only will you not have to worry about handling the payment processes personally but you’ll never have to worry about accidentally spending your loan repayment money on something else. Out of sight, out of mind works!
Try to Pay More than the Necessary Monthly Amount
Doing this can help to lessen the amount of the interest over the entire duration of the payment period! What’s important is that you let your lender know that you’ve made payments that are larger on purpose otherwise they might be credited for next month’s bill mistakenly.
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