The Best Ways to Manage Your Student Loan Debt

Here are the best ways to manage your student loan debt.

The Best Ways to manage your student loan debt

The Best Ways to Manage Your Student Loan Debt

If you are struggling to pay your monthly payments, you can stretch your payments out with an Extended Repayment Plan.  You can also apply for a Graduated Repayment Plan and pay less without extending the payoff date.

There’s also options to pay based on your income-known as the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan for Direct Loans, and Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan for Federal Family Education loans.

Your student loans can be forgiven after 10 years if you work for a public or nonprofit agency.

If your student loans are not part of a government program and are held privately, it can be very difficult to get your payments adjusted or deferred. It doesn’t hurt to ask though!

If you would like to combine all of your loans into one payment, look to the Department of Education’s Student Loan Consolidation Program.

If you are unable to make any payment at all due to a financial hardship, or you are enrolled in school at least half time, consider applying for a deferment. Interest will not accrue while the subsidized loan is deferred, however, interest will continue to accrue on deferred unsubsidized loans.

It is very important to pay your student loan debt on time. If you become delinquent,  they can be turned over to a collection agency and your paycheck can be garnished to pay it back. If you are owed any money from the government, like a tax refund, social security, or disability payments, they will be seized to pay back the loan.

So, if you’re struggling to pay your student loan debt, look into some of the above-mentioned programs so you can begin to manage your student loan debt and breathe easier!

If you’d like more info about budgeting and handling your finances, be sure to follow SimpLeigh Organized on Facebook and Pinterest.

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Are You Giving an Interest-Free Loan to the Government?

If you are going to receive more than $500 as a tax refund, you have been giving an interest-free loan to the government.

interest-free loan to the government

Are You Giving an Interest-Free Loan to the Government?

Many people get excited while waiting for their big “windfall” after filing their taxes. They think it is a gift from the government…it’s not!

A tax REFUND means that you overpaid and they are giving it back to you! It’s not extra money that you’ve earned.  It’s the money you have already earned, and gave to them to “hold on to” until you ask for it back. Then they return it to you without paying any interest.

Here’s an example for ya: You’re expecting to receive a big, fat tax refund of $5,000 this year. Woo Hoo! But guess what? This means that you overpaid the government $5,000 or $417 a month.  That is $417 that you could have had in your pocket each month. I hope you’re thinking, “That money could have helped me pay off my debts or fattened up my savings account!” If that’s what you’re thinking, we’re now on the same page. 😉

What can you do to change this? First, calculate how much tax you should be paying each year. You can use the IRS Withholding Calculator to help figure this out.

Once you figure out the amount of taxes you will owe, adjust the allowances on your Form W-4. The IRS Withholding Calculator will tell you how many allowances to take.

Every year you should run the calculators to figure out how much you will owe that year. Then,  you can make the adjustments to your W-4, and begin putting the extra money you will start receiving into your savings or towards paying off your debt.

You’re welcome! 🙂

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Are You Financially Happy?

Are you financially happy? Most people don’t consider themselves to be financially happy unless their money is right. Well, what exactly is “right”? In my mind, it means no or low debt, money in the bank for a rainy day and being able to pay the bills on time.

financially happy

Are You Financially Happy?

If you don’t consider yourself to be financially happy, here are a few steps you can take to get there.

  1. Create and live by your budget. I know, there’s that B word again! Unfortunately, there’s no getting around having a budget if you want to be financially happy. You have to know how much is coming in and how much is going out each month so you can plan accordingly. If you need help getting a budget started, check out my previous post about creating a budget.
  2. Set money goals. Once you have fine tuned your budget you can begin to set financial goals. Write down the ways you’d like your money to work for you. Do you want to save for retirement, vacation,  or college? Having a budget will allow you to see how much you can devote to each area and then you can begin working towards those goals. Be sure to set short term (within a year) and long term (5 years) goals.
  3. Pay your bills on time! Paying your bills on time will increase your credit rating and allow you to receive low-interest loans, if needed. When you create your budget, be sure to allocate money for fun stuff like shopping, eating out, and entertainment. Having these line items in your budget will enable you to use those funds instead of dipping into money allocated for bills. It may take a few months to build those accounts up, which means you will have to reign in spending until you’ve reached a comfortable amount.
  4. Put money away for emergencies. Trust me, they will come. If you begin putting money away you’ll be ready and won’t have to resort to using credit for that emergency. Your budget will be able to tell you how much you can set aside.
  5. Stop comparing what you have to others. Try to find satisfaction and happiness in what you already have, not in the things you think you must have to be happy. I believe happiness is a state of mind and we can learn to be happy in whatever state we are currently in. As Dave Ramsey says, “Stop keeping up with the Joneses. They’re broke!”
  6. Plan for the future. In addition to saving for emergencies, you should also plan for events that will happen in the future. Life insurance, disability insurance, retirement and college are a few examples of things we need to plan and save for. They may not make you financially happy now, but they definitely will in the future!
  7. Stick with the plan. There will be many times when you will want to throw in the towel and hop off the budget train, but trust me, if you stick with the plan, you will see how much farther along you will be in 3 months, then six months and finally one year’s time. Seeing how much you’ve accomplished will inspire you to keep going and you’ll begin to experience that financial happiness you’ve been looking for.

These are just a few tips to increase your financial happiness, but I know there are MANY more! Add any tips you may have in the comments section below. We all could use a little motivation. 🙂

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