How to Save $2,820 per Year on Your Student Loan Payments

student loan payments

Millions of Americans (44 million, to be exact) are tackling student debt right now, one payment at a time. Many have been dealing with monthly student loan payments for years, so long they’ve become a bill as normal as any other. Send in the monthly payment, check it off, onto the next one. But even the most financially stable of people can find themselves struck by hard financial times and unforeseen circumstances, whether it’s unemployment, underemployment (although unemployment is on the decline, underemployment is still over 12%), medical bills, or emergency expenses. Suddenly, routine payments feel oppressive and student loan debt becomes completely unmanageable. Luckily, it is possible to reduce your monthly payment. While it’s wise to pay off debt as quickly as possible, it’s also not always the best option for your current circumstances. If you have more pressing debt (read: debt with a higher interest rate) to attend to than your student loan debt, or simply can no longer afford your monthly payments as they are, consider switching to a different repayment plan. Paying less is always better than just not paying your student loans at all. The Student Debt Challenge Earlier in 2016, the White House announced


4 Must-Do Actions To Stop Being Harassed By Debt Collectors

Debt Collectors

Maybe a job loss, medical condition, or expensive divorce has landed you in a financial mess. Maybe it was poor money management. No matter the reason, being unable to pay your bills is a super stressful situation, and the worry and strain usually bleeds over into your work life, personal relationships, and sometimes even impacts your health. If some of your debt obligations have gone to collections, you know the pain of being contacted frequently, and may have even received threats from them. These types of letters and calls make a bad situation worse. Even consumers in the most dire financial circumstances can make moves to better themselves, and dig their way out of hole they are in. It begins with understanding you DO have control over the harassing phone calls, messages, and other correspondence from aggressive debt collection agencies. Here are four actions to take to stop debt collectors from harassing you: 1. Face reality. Throwing away collection notices and hitting “silent” every time you get a call are not solving the problem, and will only make it worse. Yes, financial issues are overwhelming. No, you can’t wish them away. Over time, debts can add enormous amounts of late


10 Tips On Escaping The Student Loan Prison

Student Loan Prison

Student loans are hard to live with and for many, hard to live without. Millions think a post-secondary education is worth the time and money if it helps assure a better, fuller life as well as more income. This article will help you get the benefits you seek, by understanding ten simple facts you may not have considered. For more details on the programs mentioned below, click here. 1. Student loans have an outsized impact on your credit report. You expect that if you have a loan, it will be reported on your credit report…once. Student loans are an exception. What you think of as one student loan may be considered and reported to the credit bureaus as a new loan each semester. That’s two per year over a four or five year period. The result: Ten times the good news or ten times the bad for your credit! 2. Each loan may have a different grace period. Your grace period is the time you have from leaving school to when you must begin payments. Before you can become delinquent or default on your student loan, you have to have used up your grace period. However, figuring out when you’ve


8 Ways To Get Into More Debt When You Have Bad Credit

More Debt

Having bad credit is like having a perpetual black cloud hanging over your financial life. Your interest rates are likely to be sky high and as far as getting new credit goes--fuhgeddaboudit. So, what do you when your credit’s bad? Well, you could spend time cleaning up past credit mistakes and paying down your balances, both of which could improve your score. That’s the smart, albeit somewhat boring, thing to do. The alternative is to throw caution to the wind and plunge even deeper in debt. If you need a roadmap for what not to do when you’ve got bad credit, we’ve got you covered. Here are eight ways to add even more to what you owe. 1. Persuade someone to add you as an authorized user Bad credit isn't an obstacle to more debt if you can piggyback off of someone else’s good credit habits. Asking a friend or family member to add you to one of their credit card accounts as an authorized user is a relatively easy way to up your debt quotient. You can charge to your heart’s delight and the best part? Because they’re the primary cardholder, they’re legally responsible for all the debt you


10 Worst Ways to Pay Off Debt

Worst Ways to Pay off Debt

You’ve had enough! The credit card bills, which are well over $1,000 each month, have gotten out of hand and you’ve finally decided to do something about it. But where do you start? Not all progress is good progress, especially if you implement a debt-repayment plan that will backfire. And there’s nothing worse than working your rear end off to pay off debt, only to notice that the outstanding balances appear to be at a standstill. Beyond only making the minimum payment each month, here are some of the worst ways to pay off debt: 1. Raiding your Emergency Fund If you wipe out your rainy day fund to eliminate debt, what will you do the next time financial emergency arises? In most instances, you’ll rely on that same credit card you just paid off to remedy the issue. A better option: instead of touching your emergency fund, ax unnecessary expenses and use these proceeds and any other financial windfalls to accelerate debt-repayment efforts. 2. Credit Card Cash Advances Thinking you can avoid interest by taking out a cash advance to wipe out your outstanding balance? Think again! Not only will you be hit with a cash advance fee, but


How To Get Out Of Debt When You Live Paycheck To Paycheck

Paycheck to Paycheck

If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you may find it difficult to get ahead. With so many bills and other life expenses, it can be hard to break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. Fortunately, there are things you can do to break the cycle and get out of debt. First, you’ll need to acknowledge the situation you’re in. Then you can follow the steps in this article to get out of debt when you live paycheck to paycheck. Be Honest About Your Circumstances The first step in getting out of debt when you live paycheck to paycheck is being honest about circumstances. It’s time to acknowledge the fact that your debt may be holding you back from reaching other financial goals and spending as comfortably as you’d like. Once you acknowledge this, you’re ready to take the steps necessary to get out of debt. You’ll need to be clear about how much debt you have. Write down each lender you owe money to and how much you owe. Then write down the interest rate next to the remaining balance. If your debt has any terms - such as a car loan for 36 months - write that down


5 Ways To Overcome The Shame Of Debt

Shame of Debt

Credit card debt is a huge issue in the United States. The average household has $15,675 in credit card debt according to a survey conducted by NerdWallet. Credit card debt holds people back from their financial goals and what they want to accomplish in life. And, there is also a lot of shame associated with having too much credit card debt. According to surveys of Credit Simple readers, 45% say that they are worried about their debt all the time. Worrying about your debt limits what you can do. It paralyzes people with fear and creates a sense of hopelessness. They don’t know where to turn or what to do next. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can take back control of your finances and ultimately take back control over your life by letting go of the shame of credit card debt. Getting over the shame is not easy. It takes a lot of work and resilience. But, most importantly, you have to want to end the cycle of debt and get back your life. How to Overcome the Shame of Debt Here are five ways that you can overcome the shame of debt and take back


The Ultimate Guide to Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Student Loans Pin

People with student loan debt don’t dream about sugar plums and gumdrops or falling in love with their soul mate. They dream about tying the knot with a filthy rich trust fund baby or self-made millionaire who’s charmed enough to throw some scraps to Sallie Mae and pay off all that debt. Not paying isn't exactly an option, after all. Before you go combing through the classifieds and dating apps, you should know that there’s someone else who might pay your loans off for you: the government. There are a number of different student loan forgiveness programs offered by the government that will pay your debt off in part or in full, as long as you meet their requirement. Many of them do require you to forgo career opportunities that might net you more income than the amount you’re saving through the loan forgiveness program. And, if you’ve ever defaulted on your loans, you do not qualify for federal loan forgiveness. Still, it could be the best way for you to salvage your credit. Read through our student loan forgiveness guide to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of each program to find out. Public Service Loan Forgiveness After ten


What Happens When You Stop Paying Student Loans?

Running Away from Debt

Raise your hands and say “help, I’ve fallen under an insurmountable pile of student loans and I can’t get up” if you’re currently struggling with student loan debt. Statistically speaking, about 70% of you recent grads just raised your hands. More than 40% of you loan-havers did so enthusiastically, because you’ve fallen behind on your payments. Around 7-8 million of you are in a situation so severe, you’ve defaulted. You’ll find out later in this article what that means for your credit. A handful of you have gone so far as to relocate abroad to avoid debt collectors. Chances are your fantasies are mostly consumed not by vacationing in far-off destinations or getting saucy with the cute neighbor, but by cathartic dreams of running away and never paying a student loan bill again. So, what if you did? What if tomorrow you just woke up and decided to stop putting money toward paying off the $1.2 trillion in collective student loan debt we hold as a nation? Here’s exactly what would happen. Fleeing the Country to Avoid Student Debt Exile is usually reserved for people avoiding punishment for crimes far more violent, but student loan debt has gotten so dire


7 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Taking Out Student Loans

Student Loans Pin

Student loan debt is an albatross around the necks of many college grads these days. Total student loan debt in the U.S. has ballooned to more than $1.2 trillion and the average debtor owes just shy of $29,000, according to The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS). As one of the estimated 40 million Americans that owes student loans, I know how much of a burden this kind of debt can be, both financially and mentally. Looking back on my experience with borrowing and paying off student loans, there are a few things that would have been helpful to know ahead of time. If you’re the parent of a child who’s headed off to college soon or you’re going back to school to get a degree, here’s some 20/20 hindsight on what it’s like to deal with student loans from someone who’s already done it. 1. Student loans aren’t the only way to finance a degree I went to college twice, once for a bachelor’s degree and the second time for a master’s. Both times I took out student loans because I assumed that was what you did if you wanted to get an education but you didn’t have