Home Decor Projects for When You’re Snowed In

Sometimes it’s hard to see the upside of harsh winter weather, especially when snow storms leave you stuck inside. However, you can take advantage of a snow day by using the opportunity to improve your home decor. Here are some simple DIY projects for when you’re snowed in. Ask your children to help out (safely) for family fun time that may add a bit of luxury to your living space.

Decorative Lampshade
Add some pizzazz to a lampshade by gluing an inlaid paper cutout on its inner surface. Use a blade to cut a design from paper (either freehand or from a template), making sure to place a rubber mat down first to protect the surface underneath. With a mixture of 50% glue and 50% water, decoupage the paper cutout inside of the lampshade. Once it’s dry, turn the lamp on and admire the glowing design!

Fabric Wall Art
If you have some bold print fabric, use it to create art that pops. All you’ll need to buy are wooden frames of varying sizes and a hot glue gun. Cut the fabric wide enough so that there will be two inches leftover when stretched across a frame. Cover, glue, and voila! Create a gallery wall to display your new pieces.

Hanging Planters
If you have small planters in your indoor garden, consider hanging them for a fun look that will free up surface space. Simply drill two small holes close to the top edge of the planter. Make sure they’re exactly opposite from one another. Knot a thin but sturdy rope or twine inside each of the holes so you can hang them from a hook. Tip: Install the hook near a window so your plant can still get the sunlight it needs.

Memory Table
Memory tables are a great way to personalize your home. You’ll need a deep photo display and a similar sized coffee table. Using a strong wood glue, adhere the back of the photo display to the table. You can now place objects in the display to create a sentimental scene. Try using objects that are cohesive, such as trinkets and photos from a memorable family trip. You may want to glue the objects in place so they are not disturbed when the table is moved.

If you keep one (or more) of these projects in mind for your next snow day, getting snowed in might not seem so bad!

Source: century21.com

Which Student Loan Should You Pay First?

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.

The financial camps are divided between paying off your smallest first vs. your highest interest student loan. So who’s right?

Finance people can agree on a few things. Some debts like payday loans and IRS back taxes are worse than others and ideally, you should get rid of all debt that keeps you from having a positive net worth.

But how do you decide what goes first? This is something I stressed over when we started out. I had a large high-interest student and a small low-interest car loan while my husband had a moderate student loan with moderate interest. A total conundrum.

Also read: Is Being Debt Free Worth it?

So if you’re struggling to figure out where to start here’s a look at my theoretical friend and her theoretical $60,000 of student loan debt. She took out federal and private loans and doesn’t have a career that qualifies her for any student loan forgiveness. (Or this could be a couple’s student loans combined, however you want to look at it.)

Her theoretical student loans are:

a. $20,000 @ 4% interest with minimum payment of $150 p/m
b. $40,000 @ 6.5% interest with minimum payment of $300 p/m

I wanted to keep monthly payments as similar as possible so I adjusted the number of months for payment of the first loan accordingly keeping the total repayment for both at 36 months.

Pay off the Smallest Loan First

a. $1574.60 per month for 13 months. Total interest paid= $469.77
+$300 p/m for the minimum payment of other loan= $1874.60 total monthly payment for first 13 months.

b. After 13 months of minimum payments, the balance is now $38,879.74 with $2,780.72 of interest paid during this time.
The new monthly payment becomes $1,802.44 for 23 months and we end with $2,577.18 more in interest paid.

Total interest paid over 36 months: $5,827.67

Pay off the Highest Interest Loan First

b. $1653.49 per month for 26 months. Total interest paid= $1,803.49
+$150 p/m for the minimum payment of other loan= $1,803.49 total monthly payment for first 26 months.

a. After 26 months of minimum payments, the balance is now $17,763.60 with $1,641.55 of interest paid during this time.
The new monthly payment becomes $1,809.03 for 10 months and we end with $327.28 more in interest paid.

Total interest paid over 36 months: $4,959.65

Difference= $868.02 saved by tackling higher interest loan first.

To compare, I calculated paying both at the same time.
Monthly Payment= $1,816.44 for 36 months
Total Interest Paid= $5,391.83 Less than option 1, more than option 2

I then further calculated to see what the difference would be if my friend paid off her loans in 5 or 10 years:

5 years= $9,058.59 in interest paid (There’s that car she just financed)

10 years= $18,801.86 in interest paid (There’s that down payment on a house she said she couldn’t afford!)

The moral of the story is that if $800 keeps you up at night you should pay off higher interest loans first, especially if they’re big behemoths.

But if $18,000 keeps you up at night you need to get out of bed and start hustling.

Paying $1800 a month on student loans looks like a big number but maybe your loan is smaller, maybe you have the means to move in with more roommates or cut the cable and eating out.

Also Read: How to Make Paying off Debt not Suck

If you have smaller loans within your student loan pay those off in order of smallest to largest or break it down into milestones. Rewarding yourself with attainable benchmarks will help keep you motivated.

Whatever it is it’s time to start looking into the future and think about what you want to be doing with your money instead of giving it to the bank. Because the one thing everyone in the world can agree on is that it’s not fun to give away your money to banks when you don’t have to.

<img data-attachment-id="1309" data-permalink="https://www.modernfrugality.com/smallest-amount-or-highest-interest-student-loan/which-loan-first/" data-orig-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Which-Loan-First-e1501605428219.png?fit=400%2C693&ssl=1" data-orig-size="400,693" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="Which debt should I pay off first?" data-image-description="

Which debt should I pay off first?

” data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Which-Loan-First-e1501605428219.png?fit=173%2C300&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Which-Loan-First-e1501605428219.png?fit=346%2C600&ssl=1″ loading=”lazy” data-pin-description=”If you are in the midst of paying off a ton of student loans, read this. All of the inoformation on the debt snowball and the debt avalanche so you can decide which way works for you! #debtpayofftips #debtsnowballtips #debtavalanchetips #moneytipsformillennials” data-pin-title=”Should you go debt snowball or debt avalanche for student loans?” class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-1309 jetpack-lazy-image” src=”https://bariatrx.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/which-student-loan-should-you-pay-first.png” alt=”Choosing which debt to pay off first was so stressful! This article really put it into perspective.” width=”400″ height=”693″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ srcset=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7″>

<img data-attachment-id="1309" data-permalink="https://www.modernfrugality.com/smallest-amount-or-highest-interest-student-loan/which-loan-first/" data-orig-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Which-Loan-First-e1501605428219.png?fit=400%2C693&ssl=1" data-orig-size="400,693" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="Which debt should I pay off first?" data-image-description="

Which debt should I pay off first?

” data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Which-Loan-First-e1501605428219.png?fit=173%2C300&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Which-Loan-First-e1501605428219.png?fit=346%2C600&ssl=1″ loading=”lazy” data-pin-description=”If you are in the midst of paying off a ton of student loans, read this. All of the inoformation on the debt snowball and the debt avalanche so you can decide which way works for you! #debtpayofftips #debtsnowballtips #debtavalanchetips #moneytipsformillennials” data-pin-title=”Should you go debt snowball or debt avalanche for student loans?” class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-1309″ src=”https://bariatrx.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/which-student-loan-should-you-pay-first.png” alt=”Choosing which debt to pay off first was so stressful! This article really put it into perspective.” width=”400″ height=”693″ data-recalc-dims=”1″>

<img data-attachment-id="4998" data-permalink="https://www.modernfrugality.com/smallest-amount-or-highest-interest-student-loan/mf-which-student-loan-should-you-payoff-first_-highest-interest-rate-or-largest-balance__/" data-orig-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/MF-Which-Student-Loan-Should-You-Payoff-First_-Highest-Interest-Rate-or-Largest-Balance__.jpg?fit=735%2C1102&ssl=1" data-orig-size="735,1102" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="Should you go debt snowball or debt avalanche for student loans?" data-image-description="

If you are in the midst of paying off a ton of student loans, read this. All of the inoformation on the debt snowball and the debt avalanche so you can decide which way works for you! #debtpayofftips #debtsnowballtips #debtavalanchetips #moneytipsformillennials

” data-medium-file=”https://i2.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/MF-Which-Student-Loan-Should-You-Payoff-First_-Highest-Interest-Rate-or-Largest-Balance__.jpg?fit=200%2C300&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i2.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/MF-Which-Student-Loan-Should-You-Payoff-First_-Highest-Interest-Rate-or-Largest-Balance__.jpg?fit=400%2C600&ssl=1″ loading=”lazy” width=”400″ height=”600″ data-pin-title=”Should you go debt snowball or debt avalanche for student loans?” data-pin-description=”If you are in the midst of paying off a ton of student loans, read this. All of the inoformation on the debt snowball and the debt avalanche so you can decide which way works for you! #debtpayofftips #debtsnowballtips #debtavalanchetips #moneytipsformillennials” src=”https://bariatrx.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/which-student-loan-should-you-pay-first.jpg” alt class=”wp-image-4998″ srcset=”https://bariatrx.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/which-student-loan-should-you-pay-first.jpg 400w, https://i2.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/MF-Which-Student-Loan-Should-You-Payoff-First_-Highest-Interest-Rate-or-Largest-Balance__.jpg?resize=200%2C300&ssl=1 200w, https://i2.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/MF-Which-Student-Loan-Should-You-Payoff-First_-Highest-Interest-Rate-or-Largest-Balance__.jpg?w=735&ssl=1 735w” sizes=”(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>

Jen Smith is a personal finance expert, founder of Modern Frugality and co-host of the Frugal Friends Podcast. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Lifehacker, Money Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, Business Insider, and more. She’s passionate about helping people gain control of their spending.

Source: modernfrugality.com

How We Paid Off Over $45K of Debt in 11 Months

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.

It seems pretty normal to me now but people still drop their jaws when I tell them we’ve paid over $45K on our loans in less than a year.

We still have a year to go and most days I have mixed emotions of accomplishment for what we’ve done vs. annoyance for how far we have to go.

UPDATE: As of August 31, 2017, Travis and I are STUDENT LOAN FREE! We paid off $77,646.54 in 23 months!

We’ve made conscious decisions to hold off on things like buying a house, going on trips, and even getting a couch that’s not covered in stains (all attempts to clean only make it worse.)

I didn’t agree to this at first but over time I’ve learned it’s necessary for our journey to get out of debt as quickly as possible. Don’t feel like you have to go vegan straight from an all McDonald’s diet.

Wade into it with these foundational practices and build your thriftiness over time. Make the commitment and I promise you will reap the rewards, and they will be sweet comfy industrial style brown leather rewards.

1. Read

Or listen to Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover. Regardless of what you think about Dave’s philosophies the man has the market nailed on the psychology of spending.

Travis and I read this as part of our premarital counseling and it was a game changer.

I was in way too over my head to figure out where my money should go based on interest, investments, credit scores, etc. I needed a simple plan I could follow and he offered that simplicity. The baby steps are the map we’re using and they do work if you commit to them.

2. Budget

He must be using his favorite budgeting app!

I won’t harp too much on budgets but it’s the most important thing to getting out of debt and winning with money. None of these good intentioned suggestions are worth anything without a plan for telling your money where to go.

If budget sounds too negative you can refer to it as something else, like a Monthly Cash Flow Plan. It doesn’t matter what you call it just make one and stick to it.

You won’t be perfect and you’ll never have the perfect budget so make it as easy as possible for yourself by downloading an app like Mint to track card purchases in real time or EveryDollar if you’re a cash-only spender.

3. Buy Secondhand

You know how I feel about the amazing wallet and environmental benefits of buying clothes secondhand, but we buy just about everything else used as well. I love ThredUp for clothes and we’re avid pawn shop browsers. They’re always willing to negotiate on price. We recently got a $100 indestructible Bluetooth speaker for $30!

We got all our furniture from Craigslist and OfferUp and we browse Goodwill whenever we have free time to see what goodies they have.

We even do it with food. My mom works in cafeterias and catering and will offer us leftovers whenever they’re available. This obviously isn’t an option for everyone but if you know someone with extra food don’t be shy to ask and offer to pick it up on site. It prevents waste and cuts down your grocery bill.

4. Eat at Home

me in the kitchen.

We have a $50 grocery budget per week and we live very comfortably off that. I plan my meals, make a strict grocery list, and we switched to shopping at Aldi.

We budget ourselves a few meals per month to eat out with friends. We hate to pay full price anywhere so a few places we use to save on food include:

  • Sites like Restaurant.com for dining deals.
  • Groupon and LivingSocial for deals on dining and activities.
  • Apps like ibotta and Checkout51 to save at grocery stores and other big box retailers.
  • Mystery shops at bars and restaurants.
  • Shopping through Rakuten when grocery shopping online. (I also never get a Groupon without getting Ebates cash back!)

Spoiler alert: It’s much easier to get to know people at home over a crockpot dinner and a bottle of wine than a crowded restaurant with a live band. Married or single, eating at home is not as time-consuming and boring as I thought it’d be.

These are just a few of the money saving tactics we used. I actually have a list of 200 frugal living tips to spark your imagination on how to live a more frugal life!

5. Side Hustle

Sometimes there’s just nothing left to squeeze out of the budget to pay down debt. The quickest way out of debt is increasing your income. I know that it seems impossible to squeeze more into your already busy life and it is no picnic, it’s exhausting.

But the more you make now, the quicker you go from rice and beans to steak dinners (I’m vegetarian though so I’ll stick with the beans.)

I don’t recommend minimum wage soul-sucking side jobs (unless it’s over the holidays when you can make bank) I mean hustles. Drive Uber during peak hours, deliver pizzas on nights and weekends and rent your house/room out on Airbnb.

Use the talents you already have to freelance some work (try Facebook or fiverr to advertise.) Bringing in an extra $1000 a month now will change the rest of your life.

They paid of $45K of debt in 11 months! Holy wow! Me next please!

They paid of $45K of debt in 11 months! Holy wow! Me next please!

<img data-attachment-id="4826" data-permalink="https://www.modernfrugality.com/paid-off-45000-debt-11-months/mf-how-this-family-paid-off-45000-in-11-months-on-average-incomes/" data-orig-file="https://i0.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/MF-How-This-Family-Paid-off-45000-in-11-Months-on-Average-Incomes.jpg?fit=600%2C900&ssl=1" data-orig-size="600,900" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="Want to pay off debt quickly?" data-image-description="

If you want to pay off your debt quickly, read this. This family paid off over $45,000 in just under 11 months and show you how to do it in your life. #payingoffdebtquickly #payingoffdebtfast #payingoffatonofdebt #payingoffstudentloandebt

” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/MF-How-This-Family-Paid-off-45000-in-11-Months-on-Average-Incomes.jpg?fit=200%2C300&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/MF-How-This-Family-Paid-off-45000-in-11-Months-on-Average-Incomes.jpg?fit=400%2C600&ssl=1″ loading=”lazy” width=”400″ height=”600″ data-pin-title=”Want to pay off debt quickly?” data-pin-description=”If you want to pay off your debt quickly, read this. This family paid off over $45,000 in just under 11 months and show you how to do it in your life. #payingoffdebtquickly #payingoffdebtfast #payingoffatonofdebt #payingoffstudentloandebt” src=”https://bariatrx.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/how-we-paid-off-over-45k-of-debt-in-11-months.jpg” alt class=”wp-image-4826″ srcset=”https://bariatrx.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/how-we-paid-off-over-45k-of-debt-in-11-months.jpg 400w, https://i0.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/MF-How-This-Family-Paid-off-45000-in-11-Months-on-Average-Incomes.jpg?resize=200%2C300&ssl=1 200w, https://i0.wp.com/www.modernfrugality.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/MF-How-This-Family-Paid-off-45000-in-11-Months-on-Average-Incomes.jpg?w=600&ssl=1 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>

Jen Smith is a personal finance expert, founder of Modern Frugality and co-host of the Frugal Friends Podcast. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Lifehacker, Money Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, Business Insider, and more. She’s passionate about helping people gain control of their spending.

Source: modernfrugality.com

Personal Finances: Prioritizing and Paying off Debt

This page may include affiliate links. Please see the disclosure page for more information.

When the calendar says it’s the first of the month, do you get excited about the opportunities that may arrive with the new month, or do you have panic attacks on how you are going to survive another month living in debt? 

If it’s the latter, read on. We’ll share tips on how you should prioritize debts to get your personal finances in the best shape possible.

In This Article

Pay Down Your Debts

There are two key successful methods for paying off debt and getting your personal finances in order:

1. Start With Your Lowest Balance First

First, review your debt – all of it! This includes credit cards, medical bills, and student loans. Organize your debt from the lowest to highest balance. Start with your lowest balance debt first, disregarding the interest rate. Once the lowest balance debt is paid, select the second-lowest balance debt, and so on until all your debt is paid off. 

Financial experts call this the “snowball method.” According to research, people struggling with debt have made significant strides in eliminating their debt using this method. Paying off your smaller debts is more achievable and inspires you to keep paying off the rest of your debt. Small successes can equal big payoffs on the road to becoming debt-free.

2. Pay The Highest Interest Rate First

With this method, you will organize your debts from highest to lowest interest rates and concentrate on paying off the highest interest rate debt first. When that debt is paid off, tackle the second-highest interest rate debt, and so on. 

What’s the purpose of this method? By paying off the highest interest rate debt, you help keep the debt from ballooning into the stratosphere to where it becomes harder to pay off the debt. Also, paying off the high-interest debt first keeps you from owing more overall on the debt. If you pay off the highest interest debts first, you reduce the total amount that you will owe on your way to becoming debt-free. From a total debt owed standpoint, this method is the most logical.

Caveat: If you continue to add to your debt while trying to pay it off, your efforts will be futile. Your first goal is to stop adding debt to the pile!

Which Debt is a High Priority?

If you are beyond the point of no return with managing your debt, the two methods above will not be enough. In fact, these methods may not be doable at all. Instead, here’s what you need to do immediately – start with your high priority expenses first. These are:

1. Food and Medicine

Are you familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? The ability to take care of your basic needs matters first, above all else in personal finances. These expenses are at the top of the list. So please earmark your income to buy food for you and your family. This also applies if you take medicine or need medical care (the type that requires pre-payment). This doesn’t include medical bills. 

2. Mortgage or Rent

You need to live somewhere practical, where you can keep paying your mortgage or rent payments. Real estate taxes and homeowner’s insurance falls within this priority if it’s not already included in the mortgage. Likewise, homeowner association fees should be deemed a high priority. If you don’t pay these expenses, you could lose your house and/or have a lien put on your mortgage.  

3. Utilities: Electricity, Oil, Gas, Water

Pay your utility bills, even if it’s the minimum payment to avoid disconnection. You should call the utility companies to see if they offer budget billing or if you qualify for hardship assistance. You don’t want to be left in the cold or the dark.

4. Auto Loans/Lease and Insurance

Pay these expenses if you live in the suburbs or country and need a car to get to work. Make sure you stay current with your insurance payments. If not, the creditor could purchase expensive insurance at your expense that may give you less protection. Also, in most states, it’s illegal not to have auto liability coverage.

5. Income Tax

In a letter, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Regardless of your debt situation, you must pay any income taxes you owe. This includes filing a federal income tax return, even if you are unable to pay any tax due.

6. Child Support Payments

If you are obligated to pay child support, this debt is a must-pay. If you don’t pay it, your wages could be garnished, and you may even get prison time for non-payment. We’re certain you don’t want that to happen!

Which Debt is a Low Priority?

The following debt is considered a lower priority when you are in debt up to your eyeballs.

Credit Cards and Medical Bills

Debt considered low priority is credit borrowed without collateral. This includes credit card debts and medical (doctor/hospital) bills. These types of debt don’t require collateral, such as a house or car, to acquire these loans and are considered unsecured debt. 

Tip! Creditors have little recourse in the short term if you don’t pay your bill. Consider credit counseling, debt consolidation, or even debt settlement. 

Loans with only Household Items as Collateral

This type of debt is also a low priority, as they are unlikely to affect your personal finances significantly. A creditor may ask you to use some of your household items as insurance on a loan. However, you should consider this loan the same as unsecured debt. The odds of a creditor taking your household items in exchange for monetary compensation are rare. Most household items have little resell value, and creditors would need to obtain a court order to seize them. Their time is not worth the expense.

Tip! Don’t feel threatened by a debt collector even if they inform you that they will sue in court. Your collateral may even be exempt from seizure. Discuss your options with a debt relief provider. 

What About Student Loans?

Student loans are in a league of their own and can ruin your personal finances if you’re not careful. They are not tied to collateral but cannot be discharged if you file for bankruptcy. Aside from student loan forgiveness, you must pay them. Student loans fall into two camps:

Government Student Loans

Government student loans should be paid before your low-priority debts. Since you acquired these loans with government funding, the law allows the government to pursue collection from you. These collection efforts include paycheck garnishment, tax refunds and liens, and reduction in Social Security benefits. You don’t want to go there. You work hard for your money.

Tip! You may qualify for income-based student loan repayments, deferment, refinancing, and loan consolidation. You may be able to get the debt canceled in a few situations. Contact your loan provider for more information.

Private Student Loans

Private student loans are like other types of unsecured debt and should be paid after your high priority debt and your government student loans, but before your low priority debt.

Tip: Refinance your student loan debt to reduce your monthly payment and interest owed. 

Connie Schlosberg is a highly experienced business content strategist, marketing and public relations leader, and management analyst. Career highlights include: Leading integrated planning teams and reviewing quality processes for performance and contract requirements for Department of Defense programs, analyzing complex program and budgetary obligations for a $2 billion portfolio, and writing dozens of articles for publication in newspapers, magazines, web sites, and blogs. Connie is a knowledgeable navigator of government and nonprofit business environments as well as a proven professional who has created reputable relationships with stakeholders, employees, the media, and the public.

Source: debtdiscipline.com

A Debt Consolidation Loan Will Not Fix Your Bad Money Habits

This page may include affiliate links. Please see the disclosure page for more information.

If you have a lot of debt or different types of debt, then a debt consolidation loan might sound like a good idea. However, if you have low credit, you may not have many options.

The good news is, you can still get a debt consolidation loan, even with bad credit. In this article, you will learn about the ins and outs of a debt consolidation loan, the pros and cons of getting one, and what your alternatives are if you aren’t ready to get a debt consolidation loan.

In This Article

What is a Debt Consolidation Loan?

A debt consolidation loan is a new loan that you take out to cover the balance of your other loans. A debt consolidation loan is a single, larger piece of debt, usually with better payoff terms than your original, smaller debts. When you receive a consolidation loan, your other loan balances are paid off. This allows you to make one monthly payment rather than multiple.

For example, if you had one student loan for each semester of your four-year college degree, then you’d have taken out eight loans. This can be cumbersome to manage, so you could take out a debt consolidation loan to pay off all your eight loans and only make one monthly payment instead.

Get A Debt Consolidation Loan with Bad or Average Credit

If you have poor or average credit, then it might be difficult for you to get approved for a consolidation loan or to get a loan with favorable terms. A bad or average credit score is typically anything under 670. You will need to take steps to get a debt consolidation loan for bad credit.

Step 1: Understand Your Credit Score

The first step toward getting a personal loan or a consolidation loan is to understand your financial standing. Your credit score is one of the main factors that a lender will evaluate when deciding to give you a debt consolidation loan. Therefore, take the time to look up your credit score and what events have caused your score. Sometimes, years of bad habits contribute to a low score.

Continue to monitor your score over time. You can learn what contributes to a good score as well as what causes your score to decline, and act accordingly.

Step 2: Shop Around for a Debt Consolidation Loan

If you have a poor credit score, you might be inclined to take the first loan offered to you. However, you may have multiple options for lenders to work with, so be sure to shop around for a good interest rate and term. You might want to investigate online lenders as well as brick and mortar lenders such as your local credit union.

Be sure to carefully review all the fees associated with taking out a personal loan. This might include an origination fee or a penalty for paying back your loan early. Understanding your fees can save you hundreds of dollars over the life of your loan.

Step 3: Consider a Secured Loan

Most personal loans used for debt consolidation are unsecured loans. This means that they do not require collateral. However, if you’re having a tough time getting approved for a loan, you might want to consider a secured loan.

Forms of collateral include a vehicle, home, or another asset. The collateral must be worth the amount of the loan if you default on the loan. Even if you can qualify for an unsecured loan, you may want to compare the interest rates of a secured loan to see if you can get a better rate.

Step 4: Improve Your Credit Score

Finally, if you can’t get a loan right away, you may want to take some time to evaluate your credit score and see where your areas of opportunity lie. If you have small glitches on your score that caused it to decrease significantly, then you might be able to raise your score quickly.

For example, one missed payment or forgotten bill can cause your score to plummet. If this is the case, you may be able to pay off that small bill and raise your credit score quickly.

How to Qualify for a Debt Consolidation Loan

To get a debt consolidation loan, you must be 18 years or older and a legal U.S. resident. You must also have a bank account and not be in bankruptcy or foreclosure. These are the basics of qualifying for a debt consolidation loan.

In addition to these basics, you’ll want to try to improve your financial standing as much as possible. Borrowers with good or excellent credit and a low debt-to-income ratio typically have no problem getting a debt consolidation loan. However, if you have bad credit, you will want to work to improve your credit score and decrease your debt-to-income ratio.

If you have bad credit and are considering a debt consolidation loan, you might already be in a financial rut. This can make it difficult to improve your financial standing. If this is the case, you can search for lenders that specialize in helping people with bad or average credit and be sure to shop around for the best rates and terms that you can get.

Personal Loans for Debt Consolidation

If you have poor credit and need a personal loan, you may want to check out these providers. They will offer high-interest loans to people with poor credit.

Fiona

Fiona is an online marketplace that connects potential borrowers with multiple lenders. Borrowers simply fill out a quick application, and they are matched with the lenders most likely to approve them. This saves time and money, as you can be matched with a lender without needing to visit a bunch of sites.

Fiona is ideal for borrowers with a 580 credit score or higher, and that doesn’t want to have to waste time filling out a bunch of applications. A nice feature of Fiona is their initial application requires just a soft credit check, so making a quick application won’t hurt your credit score.

Since Fiona is a marketplace and not a direct lender, the terms of offers and the number of offers borrowers receive may vary. Some borrowers report being bombarded with offers, which we feel is potentially a benefit as multiple offers help ensure you get the best deal.

LendingPoint

Lending Point will typically lend up to $25,000 with an interest rate of 15.89% to 35.99% APR and a 36-month term. You can check your rate for free on their website. If you qualify, you can receive your personal loan in as little as 24 hours. LendingPoint takes your credit score, job history, and income into consideration when you apply for a loan.

SoFi

SoFi will lend up to $100,000 with an interest rate of up to 17% on a 24-month term. There are no origination fees or early payment penalties and no overdraft fees. You can apply online for free and will typically receive your funds in a few days.

Upstart

Upstart will lend up to $50,000 with an interest rate of 7% to 35.99% on a 36 or 60-month term. Funds are provided as early as the day after approval, but they have a high origination fee of 8%.

OneMain Financial

OneMain will lend up to $20,000 with an interest rate of between 18% and 35.99% on a 24 to 60-month term. They do have small origination fees and late payment fees, but they typically range up to $30 per payment. You can apply for a loan online and have it funded as early as a day after you apply. The company also has almost 1,500 branches across the country for those who prefer to apply for a loan in-person.

Should I Get A Debt Consolidation Loan?

If you’re in a pinch and need to consolidate your loans to make them more manageable, then your best option may be to get a personal loan or a debt consolidation loan.

Pros

There are plenty of benefits of a debt consolidation loan. Some of them are:

  • Simplified finances. When you consolidate your debt, you will pay off multiple debts and only have one loan. This means you’ll make one monthly payment instead of multiple to keep track of.
  • Lower interest rates. If you have a bunch of credit cards or other high-interest debt, the interest rates might vary and be high. Personal loans typically have lower interest rates depending on your credit score, the loan amount, and term length.
  • Fixed repayment schedule. Instead of having multiple payments each month that vary by amount, interest rate, and term, you will have a fixed schedule each month.
  • Boost your credit. By eliminating the risk of forgetting to make payments or letting your loans get away from you, paying a set amount on a consolidated loan can help you to boost your credit score.

Cons

Debt consolidation isn’t for everyone. Be sure that you understand the risks you take on as well. Some of the things to watch out for include:

  • You need to change your behavior with money. A debt consolidation loan won’t fix your bad habits with money. Often taking out a consolidation loan leads to more debt, because many people don’t fix the underlying overspending behaviors, or start a cash saving for emergencies. Not fixing your money behaviors leads to that same old cycle and could cause you to take on more new debt.
  • Upfront costs. Some personal loans have upfront fees, including an origination fee, closing costs, or annual fees. If you pay a lot of fees over time, it might not be beneficial to consolidate your loans.
  • Higher interest rates. If you have poor credit, you will not get a favorable interest rate on your consolidated loan. Therefore, you may have a higher interest rate on your consolidated loan than on your existing loans. If this is the case, it likely will not make sense to consolidate.

The Bottom Line

Having poor credit does not mean that you can’t get a debt consolidation loan. However, it might be more difficult for you to get a loan right away or to get one at a favorable rate. If you decide to apply for a debt consolidation loan, be sure to shop around for the best rates and do your best to improve your credit.

This post originally appeared on Your Money Geek

   

Source: debtdiscipline.com

What Is Bankruptcy Dismissal?

A bankruptcy dismissal happens when something goes wrong and the court rejects your bankruptcy case. There are many reasons this can happen and many consequences. The word “dismiss” shouldn’t be confused with discharge, which is when certain debts are eliminated.

disappointed woman

Instead, dismissal means that the bankruptcy case has been thrown out. The petition has failed. There is no longer a case. With almost all dismissals, the petitioner has wasted his or her time, although usually, one can try again soon, or after a waiting period.

Why are bankruptcies dismissed?

Filing for bankruptcy is a complicated process with many steps, forms, rules, and criteria for eligibility. The stresses of declaring bankruptcy can contribute to easy mistakes. One single mistake with any aspect of the process can be grounds for dismissal, so there is a lot of room for error.

Also, because bankruptcy provides a much-desired relief, some candidates attempt to misrepresent their situation. This is grounds for a type of dismissal that has more serious consequences than dismissals related to honest mistakes.

Causes of Bankruptcy Dismissal

Here are some specific reasons your bankruptcy case might be dismissed:

  • Failure to comply with court rules
  • Procedural violations
  • Failure to fulfill credit counseling or pass a means test
  • Jurisdiction or residence issues
  • Lack of timeliness in filing documents and forms
  • Insufficient documentation
  • Fraud against creditors, lenders, or courts
  • Failure to make court appearances or attend creditors meetings
  • Failure to pay filing fees or installment payments
  • Prior cases, prior dismissals, and prior discharges
  • Failure to make timely plan payments in a Chapter 13 case

Effects and Consequences

When a bankruptcy petition is dismissed, all the time, money, and effort that went into the filing is lost, including the lawyer’s fees. Your debts are not discharged, or your payments are not restructured.

Filing bankruptcy grants you an automatic stay against creditors, but when your bankruptcy case is dismissed, this is lifted and you’re back where you started. It’s important to note that despite a dismissal, just merely filing for bankruptcy can remain on your credit report and further hurt your credit scores.

After a dismissal, creditors and collection agencies can come after you again with all the power of the law. This could result in lawsuits, foreclosure, repossession of vehicles, wage garnishment, and nagging collections calls.

In addition, depending on the circumstances of your dismissal, you may not be able to file again for half a year, or in the same court.

Types of Bankruptcy Dismissal

There are a number of types of dismissal, each with different consequences. Among them is dismissal with or without prejudice, voluntary dismissal, and dismissal for abuse. In many cases, as long the details of your petition were made honestly and in good faith, you can either reinstate a dismissed petition or file again right away.

Sometimes a voluntary dismissal is sought because one’s circumstances change. Usually, this means you are able to pay back your debts and no longer need bankruptcy relief.

However, a request for voluntary dismissal isn’t always granted. If your bankruptcy case was dismissed and you still wish to file, mistakes are not taken lightly. Anyone wishing to cheat the system could claim it was an accident; therefore, many mistakes will be cause for a dismissal that cannot be reinstated.

Dismissals with or without prejudice imply that cases were either dismissed for a good reason, such as fraud or because of unforeseen circumstances or honest mistakes. A dismissal for abuse or with prejudice means the bankruptcy case can never be filed again.

After a waiting period, however, usually half a year, a new case can be filed. Issues related to types of dismissals can be very different, so a great deal depends on your own particular circumstances.

Taking Action After a Dismissal

In cases of involuntarily dismissal or dismissal without prejudice, you can try to get your bankruptcy case reinstated if you move quickly and proactively. You’ll often have a small window to continue pleading your case before it’s thrown out, so you have to pursue the issue immediately.

An honest mistake, or administrative dismissal, can sometimes be rectified by a “motion to reconsider” the case. This is your first step, combined with ascertaining and resolving the reason for the dismissal.

A reinstatement is always an option, even if your mistake was an accident. There is also sometimes the option of filing an appeal.

If a dismissal is final, sometimes you can immediately file a new one. But any case of dismissal with prejudice, or for abuse, involves a waiting period, usually of 180 days. After that time you can file a new case, but your automatic stay might be limited to one month, making it more difficult to get approved.

Worth repeating a final time is the fact that a bankruptcy filing will be recorded on your credit report as soon as you file it, and it could remain on your report even if your case is dismissed. Filing a second time will drop your credit scores still further.

Source: crediful.com

Different Types of Debt

  • Get Out of Debt

Debt comes in all shapes and sizes. You can owe money to utility companies, banks, credit card providers, and the government. There’s student loan debt, credit card debt, mortgage debt, and much more. But what are the official categories of debt and how do the payoff strategies for these debts differ?

Categories of Debt

Debt is generally categorized into two simple forms: Secured and Unsecured. The former is secured against an asset, such as a car or loan, and means the lender can seize the asset if you fail to meet your obligations. Unsecured is not secured against anything, reducing the creditor’s control and limiting their options if the repayment terms are not met.

A secured debt provides the lender with some assurances and collateral, which means they are often prepared to provide better interest rates and terms. This is one of the reasons you’re charged astronomical rates for credit cards and short-term loans but are generally offered very favorable rates for home loans and car loans.

If the debtor fails to make payments on an unsecured debt, such as a credit card, then the debtor may file a judgment with the courts or sell it to a collection agency. In the first instance, it’s a lot of hassle without any guarantee. In the second, they’re selling the debts for cents on the dollar and losing a lot of money. In either case, it’s not ideal, and to offset this they charge much higher interest rates and these rates climb for debtors with a poorer track record.

There is also something known as revolving debt, which can be both unsecured and secured. Revolving debt is anything that offers a continuous cycle of credit and repayment, such as a credit card or a home equity line of credit. 

Mortgages and federal student loans may also be grouped into separate debts. In the case of mortgages, these are substantial secured loans that use the purchase as collateral. As for federal student loans, they are provided by the government to fund education. They are unsecured and there are many forgiveness programs and options to clear them before the repayment date.

What is a Collection Account?

As discussed above, if payments are missed for several months then the account may be sold to a debt collection agency. This agency will then assume control of the debt, contacting the debtor to try and settle for as much as they can. At this point, the debt can often be settled for a fraction of the amount, as the collection agency likely bought it very cheaply and will make a profit even if it is sold for 30% of its original balance.

Debt collectors are persistent as that’s their job. They will do everything in their power to collect, whether that means contacting you at work or contacting your family. There are cases when they are not allowed to do this, but in the first instance, they can, especially if they’re using these methods to track you down and they don’t discuss your debts with anyone else.

No one wants the debt collectors after them, but generally, you have more power than they do and unless they sue you, there’s very little they can do. If this happens to you, we recommend discussing the debts with them and trying to come to an arrangement. Assuming, that is, the debt has not passed the statute of limitations. If it has, then negotiating with them could invalidate that and make you legally responsible for the debt all over again.

Take a look at our guide to the statute of limitations in your state to learn more.

As scary as it can be to have an account in collections, it’s also common. A few years ago, a study found that there are over 70 million accounts in collections, with an average balance of just over $5,000.

Can Bankruptcy Discharge all Debts?

Bankruptcy can help you if you have more debts than you can repay. But it’s not as all-encompassing as many debtors believe.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy will discharge most of your debts, but it won’t touch child support, alimony or tax debt. It also won’t help you with secured debts as the lender will simply repossess or foreclose, taking back their money by cashing in the collateral. Chapter 13 bankruptcy works a little differently and is geared towards repayment as opposed to discharge. You get to keep more of your assets and in exchange you agree to a payment plan that repays your creditors over 3 to 5 years.

However, as with Chapter 7, you can’t clear tax debts and you will still need to pay child support and alimony. Most debts, including private student loans, credit card debt, and unsecured loan debt will be discharged with bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy can seriously reduce your credit score in the short term and can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years, so it’s not something to be taken lightly. Your case will also be dismissed if you can’t show that you have exhausted all other options.

Differences in Reducing Each Type of Debt

The United States has some of the highest consumer debt in the world. It has become a common part of modern life, but at the same time, we have better options for credit and debt relief, which helps to balance things out a little. Some of the debt relief options at your disposal have been discussed below in relation to each particular type of long-term debt.

The Best Methods for Reducing Loans

If you’re struggling with high-interest loans, debt consolidation can help. A debt consolidation company will provide you with a loan large enough to cover all your debts and in return, they will give you a single long-term debt. This will often have a smaller interest rate and a lower monthly payment, but the term will be much longer, which means you’ll pay much more interest overall.

Debt management works in a similar way, only you work directly with a credit union or credit counseling agency and they do all the work for you, before accepting your money and then distributing it to your creditors.

Both forms of debt relief can also help with other unsecured debts. They bring down your debt-to-income ratio, leave you with more disposable income, and allow you to restructure your finances and get your life back on track.

The Best Methods for Reducing Credit Cards

Debt settlement is the ultimate debt relief option and can help you clear all unsecured debt, with many companies specializing in credit card debt. 

Debt settlement works best when you have lots of derogatory marks and collections, as this is when creditors are more likely to settle. They can negotiate with your creditors for you and clear your debts by an average of 40% to 60%. You just need to pay the full settlement amount and the debt will clear, with the debt settlement company not taking their cut until the entire process has been finalized.

A balance transfer can also help with credit card debt. A balance transfer credit card gives you a 0% APR on all transfers for between 6 and 18 months. Simply move all of your credit card balances into a new balance transfer card and then every cent of your monthly payment will go towards the principal.

The Best Methods for Reducing Secured Debts

Secured debt is a different beast, as your lender can seize the asset if they want to. This makes them much less susceptible to settlement offers and refinancing. However, they will still be keen to avoid the costly foreclosure/repossession process, so contact them as soon as you’re struggling and see if they can offer you anything by way of a grace period or reduced payment.

Most lenders have some form of hardship program and are willing to be flexible if it increases their chances of being repaid in full.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

Here Are The Best Student Loans of 2021

#1: College Ave — Best for Flexibility

College Ave offers private student loans for undergraduate and graduate students as well as parents who want to take out loans to help their kids get through college. Variable APRs as low as 3.70% are available for undergraduate students, but you can also opt for a fixed rate as low as 4.72% if you have excellent credit. College Ave offers some of the most flexible repayment options available today, letting you choose from interest-only payments, flat payments, and deferred payments depending on your needs. College Ave even lets you fill out your entire student loan application online, and they offer an array of helpful tools that can help you figure out how much you can afford to borrow, what your monthly payment will be, and more.

Qualify in Just 3 Minutes with College Ave

#2: Credible — Best Loan Comparison

Credible doesn’t offer its own student loans; instead, it serves as a loan aggregator and comparison site. This means that, when you check out student loans on Credible, you have the benefit of comparing multiple loan options in one place. Not only is this convenient, but comparing rates and terms is the best way to ensure you get a good deal. Credible even lets you get prequalified without a hard inquiry on your credit report, and you can see loan offers from up to nine student lenders at a time. Fixed interest rates start as low as 4.40% for borrowers with excellent credit, and variable rates start at 3.17% APR with autopay.

Compare Dozens of Rates at Once with Credible

#3: Sallie Mae — Best for Low Rates and Fees

Sallie Mae offers its own selection of private student loans for undergraduate students, graduate students, and parents. Interest rates offered can be surprisingly low, starting at 2.87% APR for variable rate loans and 4.74% for fixed-rate loans. Sallie Mae student loans also come without an origination fee or prepayment fees, as well as rate reductions for students who set up autopay. You can choose to start repaying your student loans while you’re in school or wait until you graduate as well. Overall, Sallie Mae offers some of the best “deals” for private student loans, and you can even complete the entire loan process online.

Get Access to Chegg Study FREE with Sallie Mae

#4: Discover — Best for No Fees

While Discover is well known for their excellent rewards credit cards and personal loan offerings, they also offer high-quality student loans with low rates and fees. Not only do Discover student loans come with low variable rates that start at 3.75%, but you won’t pay an application fee, an origination fee, or late fees. Discover student loans are available for undergraduate students, graduate students, professional students, and other lifelong learners. You can even earn rewards for having a 3.0 GPA or better when you apply for your loan, and Discover offers access to U.S. based student loan specialists who can answer all your questions before you apply.

Apply for a Loan with Discover

#5: Citizens Bank — Best Student Loans from a Major Bank

Citizens Bank offers their own flexible student loans for undergraduate students, graduate students, and parent borrowers. Students can borrow with or without a cosigner and multi-year approval is available. With multi-year approval you can apply for student funding one time and secure several years of college funding at once. This saves you from additional paperwork and subsequent hard inquiries on your credit report. Citizens Bank student loans come with variable rates as low as 2.83% APR for students with excellent credit, and you can make full payments or interest-only payments while you’re in school or wait until you graduate to begin repaying your loan. Also keep in mind that, like others on this list, Citizens Bank lets you apply for their student loans online and from the comfort of your home.

#6: Ascent — Best Student Loans with No Cosigner Required

Ascent is another popular lender that offers private student loans to undergraduate and graduate students. Variable interest rates start at 3.31% whether you have a cosigner or not, and there are no application fees required to apply for a student loan either way. Terms are available for 5 to 15 years, and Ascent even offers cash rewards for student borrowers who graduate and meet certain terms. Also note that Ascent lets you earn money for each friend you refer who takes out a new student loan or refinances an existing loan.

Get a Loan in Minutes with Ascent

#7: Earnest — Best for Fair Credit

Earnest is another online lender that offers reasonable student loans for undergraduate and graduate students who need to borrow money for school. They also offer a free application process, a 9-month grace period after graduation, no origination fees or prepayment fees, and a .25% rate discount when you set up autopay. Earnest even lets you skip a payment once per year without a penalty, and there are no late payment fees. Variable rates start as low as 3.35%, and you may be able to qualify for a loan from Earnest with only “fair” credit. For their student loan refinancing products, for example, you need a minimum credit score of 650 to apply.

Learn Your Rate in Minutes with Earnest

#8: LendKey — Best for Comprehensive Comparisons

LendKey is an online lending marketplace that lets you compare student loan options across a broad range of loan providers, including credit unions. LendKey loans come with no application fees and variable APRs as low as 4.05%. They also have excellent reviews on Trustpilot and an easy application process that makes applying for a student loan online a breeze. You can apply for a loan from LendKey as an individual, but it’s possible you’ll get better rates with a cosigner on board. Either way, LendKey lets you see and compare a wide range of loan offers in one place and with only one application submitted.

Pay Zero Application Fees with LendKey!

How to Get the Best Student Loans

The lenders above offer some of the best student loans available today, but there’s more to getting a good loan than just choosing the right student loan company. The following tips can ensure you save money on your education and escape college with the smallest student loan burden possible.

Consider Federal Student Loans First

Like we mentioned already, federal student loans are almost always the best deal for borrowers who can qualify. Not only do federal loans come with low fixed interest rates, but they come with borrower protections like deferment and forbearance. Federal student loans also let you qualify for income-driven repayment plans like Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and Income Based Repayment (IBR) as well as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).

Compare Multiple Lenders

If you have exhausted federal student loans and need to take out a private student loan, the best step you can take is comparing loans across multiple lenders. Some may be able to offer you a lower interest rate based on your credit score or available cosigner, and some lenders may offer payment plans that meet your needs better. If you only want to fill out a loan application once, it can make sense to compare multiple loan offers with a service like Credible.

Improve Your Credit Score

Private student loans are notoriously difficult to qualify for when your credit score is less than stellar or you don’t have a cosigner. With that in mind, you may want to spend some time improving your credit score before you apply. Since your payment history and the amounts you owe in relation to your credit limits are the two most important factors that make up your FICO score, make sure you’re paying all your bills early or on time and try to pay down debt to improve your credit utilization. Most experts say a utilization rate of 30% or less will help you achieve the highest credit score possible with other factors considered.

Check Your Credit Score for Free with Experian

Get a Quality Cosigner

If your credit score isn’t at least “very good,” or 740 or higher, you may want to see about getting a cosigner for your private student loan. A parent, family member, or close family friend who has excellent credit can help you qualify for a student loan with the best rates and terms available today. Just remember that your cosigner will be liable for your loan just as you are, meaning they will have to repay your loan if you default. With that in mind, you should only lean on a cosigner’s help if you plan to repay your loan amount in full.

Consider Variable and Fixed Interest Rates

While private student loans offer insanely low rates for borrowers with good credit, their variable rates tend to be lower. This is why you should always take the time to compare variable and fixed rates across multiple lenders to find the best deal. If you believe you can pay your student loans off in a few short years, a variable interest rate may help you save money. If you need a decade or longer to pay your student loans off, on the other hand, a low fixed interest rate may provide you with more peace of mind.

Check for Discounts

As you compare student loan providers, make sure to check for discounts that might apply to your situation. Many private student loan companies offer discounts if you set your loan up on automatic payments, for example. Some also offer discounts or rewards for good grades or for referring friends. It’s possible you could qualify for other discounts as well depending on the provider, but you’ll never know unless you check.

Beware of Fees

While the interest rate on your student loan plays a huge role in your long-term loan costs, don’t forget to check for additional fees. Some student loan companies charge application fees or prepayment penalties if you pay your loan off early, for example. Others charge origination fees that tack on a few additional percentage points to your loan amount right off the bat. If you can find a student loan with a low interest rate and no additional fees, you’ll be much better off. Since loan fees may not be prominently advertised on student loan provider websites, however, keep in mind that you may need to dig into their fine print to find them.

Make Payments While You’re in School

Finally, no matter which loan you end up with, it makes a lot of sense to make payments while you’re still in school if you’re earning any kind of income. Even if you make interest-only payments while you attend college part-time or full-time, you can save yourself from paying thousands of dollars in additional interest payments later in life. Remember that compound interest can be a blessing or a curse. If you can keep interest at bay by making payments while you’re in school, you can squash compound interest and keep your loan balances from growing. If you let compound interest run its course, on the other hand, you may wind up owing more than you borrowed in the first place by the time you graduate school and start repayment.

What to Watch Out For

A private student loan may be exactly what you need in order to finish your degree and move up to the working world, but there are plenty of “gotchas” to be aware of. Consider all these factors as you apply for a new private student loan or refinance existing loans you have with a private lender.

  • Interest that accrues while you’re in school: Remember that subsidized loans may not accrue interest until you graduate from college and enter repayment mode, but that unsubsidized loans typically start accruing interest right away. Since private student loans are unsubsidized, you’ll need to be especially careful about ballooning interest and long-term loan costs.
  • Getting a cosigner: Make sure you only apply for a private student loan with a cosigner if you’re entirely sure you can repay your loan over the long haul. If you fail to keep up with your end of the bargain, you could destroy trust with that person and their credit score in one fell swoop.
  • You’ll lose out on some protections: Also remember that private student loans come with fewer protections than federal student loans. You won’t have the option for income-driven repayment plans with private loans, nor will you be able to qualify for federal deferment or forbearance. For this reason, private student loans are best for students who are confident in their ability to repay their loans on their chosen timeline.

In Summary: The Best Student Loans

Reader Interactions

goodfinancialcents.com