Before you close on your mortgage, consider negotiating closing costs and save yourself some cash.
The post How to Negotiate Mortgage Closing Costs appeared first on The Simple Dollar.
Before you close on your mortgage, consider negotiating closing costs and save yourself some cash.
The post How to Negotiate Mortgage Closing Costs appeared first on The Simple Dollar.
If youâre looking to advance your career or pivot to a new industry, then youâre probably checking out ways you can beef up your resume. Maybe youâre considering an MBA, a bootcamp, or browsing upcoming conferences. Or perhaps youâre considering the DIY route and looking for podcast and book recommendations.Â
While any of these options will help you learn and could boost your resume, the best way to level up your career prospects is to dedicate yourself to becoming a lifelong learner, which is where microlearning comes into play.Â
Conferences and classes are bursting with information, but you may feel limited by the course schedule and teaching style. This works for some people, but it can be expensive and hard to fit into a budget or daily schedule. Microlearning can help you take charge of your education by providing bite-sized lessons. Over time, you can build up your learnings for a more thorough and robust understanding of the subject.Â
The best part is you can apply your specific lessons to your life, career, and goals to build each of these out over time and see what really works and what doesnât. Your consistent growth can improve job satisfaction and career opportunities, putting you in the spotlight for the next raise or promotion. Learn more below or jump to our infographicÂ to get started.
Microlearning has become a popular workplace trend as a learning process that breaks topics into highly specific, concise lessons. This allows the learner to build understanding and confidence at their own pace.
Microlearning is great for tackling new information and closing knowledge gaps. If you already have a foundation of knowledge for a topic, then it can be frustrating to wade through the basics for the few new ideas you were looking for. Khan Academy and TED Talks are a great example of how you may fill in knowledge gaps.Â
The most important part of any lesson plan is that itâs tailored to a learnerâs needs, and that the learner is actually able to retain information. Microlearningâs flexibility for learners is one of its biggest benefits.
Here are some other reasons to consider microlearning:
Microlearning is great for career development, employee training, and specific topics that you could use a refresher on. However, theyâre not a total replacement for other learning systems, and you should keep these in mind when you get started:
You may not realize it, but youâve probably already prioritized microlearning in your day-to-day life. If youâve watched a YouTube video to learn how to change your oil or customize a spreadsheet, then you know exactly how beneficial short, specific, and detailed lessons can be.Â
Here are some ways you can get started using microlearning as part of your professional development:
Gamifying your learning helps make the topic fun and builds a positive relationship with studying. You can get started by setting goals and rewards, or inviting peers to join you with a competitive leaderboard or a trivia night.Â
Videos are designed to be relatively short and engaging, and YouTube has made learning largely accessible from anywhere. While YouTube playlists are a great place to learn, make sure youâve done your research on any channels or personalities youâre watching to ensure your lessons are accurate.Â
Like videos, podcasts are a great way to consume information on the go and from personalities you enjoy and trust. Theyâve become hugely popular because theyâre easy to listen to while driving, working, or exercising, but itâs important that you give your playlist your active attention if you hope to learn effectively.Â
Considering a quiz may bring flashbacks of test anxiety and stressful finals weeks, but in this scenario, quizzing isnât about checking a box that you learned something new. Instead, itâs a means to practice your memory recall and retention so you can count on it when you need it most.Â
Having a team to study with is not only great for motivation, but it can also improve your lesson retention. Active learning is the process of working or chatting through a subject or problem, and studies show this is the best way to learn and practice your skills.Â
Keeping up with your professional development is the best way to impress your employer and expand your job prospects. Whether you want to climb the career ladder or ease your daily workload, How Microlearning Can Level Up Your Knowledge appeared first on MintLife Blog.
The best thing about scouring powder is its abrasive action. The worst is the harsh chemical smell. To get all the benefits without the caustic chemicals, use baking soda instead. In most instances, baking soda will work just as well as scouring powder.
For an easy, natural tile cleaner, mix together ¼ cup baking soda and 1 gallon warm water. Scrub with a sponge or mop, then rinse. For tough stains, wait 10 to 15 before rinsing.
Is there anything more satisfying than nice, clean grout? A simple paste of 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water is all you need. Make a new batch each time you plan to attack the space between your tiles.
To get rid of scuff marks left on vinyl flooring by dark-soled shoes, rub some baking soda into the spot with a wet rag. The marks will disappear.
To clean your cut crystal, mix a teaspoon of baking soda with warm water, then dab it onto the crystal with a soft rag. Rinse with water, and buff with a dry, soft cloth.
To boost the power of your dishwasher detergent, sprinkle a little baking soda in the dishwasher every time you run it. It will also help fight foul odors before they start.
SEE ALSO: Who Knew's 12 Dishwasher Tips and Tricks
The teriyaki chicken you made for dinner was delicious, but the sweet sauce left terrible black burns on the bottom of your frying pan. To clean it, first sprinkle the pan with ¼ to ½ cup baking soda, and fill the pan halfway with water. Bring the water to a boil, and the burned pieces should start to release. When most of the pieces are removed, turn off the heat, dump the water, and wash as usual.
As the water boils, you may want to use a spatula to help the process along.
The secret many of us miss: Make sure you clean your coffee maker regularly. Just add several tablespoons of baking soda to your pot, fill it with water, and run it as usual. Then repeat using only water.
If you haven’t had time to clean up and now there’s dried-on food stuck in the blades of your blender or food processor, bring baking soda to the rescue. Add 1 tablespoon baking soda along with 1 cup warm water to the bowl, put the lid on, and let it blend for 10 to 15 seconds. Wash as usual.
Have plastic storage containers with lingering odors? Wash them with hot water plus 2 tablespoons baking soda.
I can’t even count how many times our boys have left something to fester in a water bottle or thermos! Simply fill the container with hot water and ½ cup baking soda, then let it sit overnight. In the morning, rinse well and it should be as good as new.
White kitchen cabinets can be beautiful, but they can also show grease, dust, and dirt more than their darker counterparts. To keep them looking their best, add water to a small amount of baking soda until it’s a runny paste. Scrub the mixture on the cabinets, and then rinse with warm water.
For a spectacularly shiny finish on a stainless steel or aluminum sink, rub a liberal amount of baking soda in a circular motion all over its surface with a damp sponge.
RELATED: Domestic CEO's How to Clean Your Sink
Instead of throwing away baking soda when it’s finished its 30-day stint in your fridge, dump it down the garbage disposal with running water. It will keep your disposal fresh, too!
Sprinkle rugs, couches, and upholstered chairs with baking soda and let it sit an hour before you vacuum. It will keep them cleaner and fresher over the long haul.
Sprinkle some baking soda into the bag of your vacuum cleaner to keep it smelling fresh.
Use this homemade solution: Dissolve 1 cup baking soda in 1 cup warm water. Add the solution directly to your standard washing machine, or add it to the soap dispenser of a front loader. The baking soda will clean your clothes without harming their delicate fibers.
All-Natural Fabric Softener: Just add ¼ to ½ cup baking soda to the wash cycle.
What’s the easiest way to remove crayon, pencil, ink, and furniture scuffs from painted surfaces? Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge, rub clean, and rinse.
From bird poop to tree sap to standard weather damage, vinyl siding can get very dirty. And while brand-name cleaners will no doubt get the job done, they tend to be costly and loaded with toxic chemicals. Instead, combine baking soda with enough water to form a paste, then scrub into your siding with a damp rag until the stains lift. Rinse off with a hose and, if necessary, repeat on stubborn stains.
Cleaning oil spots off the driveway is difficult, and the cleaners can be quite expensive. Instead, sprinkle baking soda over the stains, then rub with a wet scrub brush soaked with hot water. The baking soda breaks apart oil particles, so with a little elbow grease, you can have your driveway looking new in no time.
If battery acid leaks inside the compartments of your appliances, there’s no need to throw them away. Simply take a few spoonfuls of baking soda and add water until it’s the consistency of toothpaste. Spread it on your battery terminals, let it sit for 15 minutes, and wipe clean. The acid should come off easily.
Place the books in a paper grocery bag with an open box of baking soda. Fold over the bag, staple it shut, and let it sit for a week or two. Your books should smell considerably better when you take them out.
Is your suitcase a bit musty? The night before packing, pour a cup of baking soda in it, close it, and shake. In the morning, vacuum up the baking soda and the smell should be gone.
Sprinkle a little baking soda into each of your latex gloves, and they’ll stick less when you’re putting them on and taking them off.
If you have kids, you’ve had to clean up vomit. Baking soda can make the job a little less gross if you sprinkle some on top as soon as possible. It will soak up some of the mess and make the smell easier to deal with when you have to go at it with the paper towels.
I had a great talk with Millennial Money Man yesterday and my favorite piece of advice he gave me was to âwrite what youâre passionate about.â It took me literally five seconds to think of the one thing Iâm really passionate…
The post Is Being Debt Free Worth it? appeared first on Modern Frugality.
This page may include affiliate links. Please see theÂ disclosure pageÂ for more information. Let’s face it, debt in the United States is a problem. From our national debt, student loan debt, and consumer debt. Debt in the United States is a problem on all levels. Why is that? I’m a firm believer that it starts with…
The post Debt In The United States appeared first on Debt Discipline.
Dealing with credit card debt can be overwhelming. If youâre having trouble making your payments, consolidating your credit card debt may be an effective solution to your problems. The best way to consolidate credit card…
The post The 5 Most Effective Ways to Consolidate Credit Card Debt appeared first on Crediful.
Money doesnât make you happy. Thatâs how the saying goes, and you canât deny that thereâs some truth to it. However, while having lots of money wonât make you happy, having very little is more likely to make you stressed and depressed.Â
The less you have, the more likely you are to stress over the smallest of things, and if debt is forcing that poverty on you, hanging a dark cloud of uncertainty over your head, that stress and that depression will increase.
Psychological Cost of Debt
Debt has a massive psychological cost and a lot of that boils down to shame. Debt stress and debt shame are more common than ever in the United States, as debtors seek to hide their troubles from their families and loved ones. There is an unmistakable link between debt and an increased suicide risk.
A student conducted several years ago looked at the finances of people who had committed suicide and found they were significantly more likely to have massive debts (student loan debt, credit card debt). Similar studies have been conducted on mental health, noting that people are more likely to suffer from debilitating depression, stress, and anxiety when they have problems with debt.
And itâs easy to see why. Not only do many debtors choose to keep their problems to themselves, feeling an immense shame that stops them from telling even their closest friends and family, but debt can also lead to anxieties about debt collectors, foreclosures, repossessions, bankruptcy, and more.Â
How to Overcome the Shame of Debt
To improve your mental health, you need to fight debt stress and shame. Thatâs easier said than done, but there are a few things that you can do:
Understand Where the Shame Comes From
The first step is to understand why you feel the way that you feel. This might not fix your debt shame, but it will help you to understand it more.
There is no single, overriding cause of debt shame. Some debtors feel shame because they see themselves as the breadwinner, the provider, and if they have debt it means they have failed. Others feel shame because they come from frugal backgrounds and have been wasteful or because their debt is the result of a drug, alcohol or gambling problem.
Whatever the reason, you need to find it, address it, and fix it. Get help for that gambling or drug addiction, get advice from that frugal family.
Admit Your Fault
Debt doesnât mean that youâre a bad or useless person. It doesnât mean that you donât care about your family. Itâs not a character flaw tied to your personality, itâs a behavioral issue tied to impulsivity and even mental health issues. Itâs still your fault, but itâs easily fixed and doesnât make you a bad person.
Understanding this can help you to get rid of that shame and deal with your stress and mental health issues.
Improve Your Financial Knowledge
Researchers have found a direct correlation between debt and financial knowledge; the more you have of the former, the less likely you are to be competent in the latter.
Fortunately, it has never been easier to educate yourself. Take a look at the many guides here on Pocket your Dollars, spanning everything from pay off strategies for credit card debt to money-making ideas, recommendations for loans and credit cards, and more.
Get Credit Counseling
Credit counseling exists for a reason and can help you in your time of need. Theyâre not mental health counselors, they canât prescribe you medication and they canât help with your insomnia and anxiety. However, they have worked with countless debtors, many of which have anxiety and depression, and they understand what itâs like to be in your shoes.
They can help you to assess and manage your debts before advising on the right course of action. A financial therapist can also provide assistance with any relationship issues, counseling you on who you should tell, how you should tell them, and what sort of reaction to expect.
The problem that many debtors have is that they think they know everything. They wonât speak to a counsellor because theyâre convinced they know what the counsellor will say. But letâs be honest, if youâre struggling with debt, thereâs a good chance youâre not a financial wizard and even if you are, it always helps to speak with an expert, voicing your concerns out loud and bouncing some ideas around.
We spend when weâre depressed, get depressed because weâre in debt and are in debt because we spend too much. Itâs a cycle thatâs keeping your favorite retailer in profit and doing untold damage to your finances. To get out of debt, you need to accept that this cycle exists and that the only way to escape is to stop that spending immediately.
Anything that isnât an absolute necessity can be left for another day, preferably one when you actually have money to spend. Limit your spending to clothes, food, rent, utility bills, medical bills, and everything else that allows you to continue living comfortably from day to day, but give the alcohol, cigarettes, vacations, and other luxuries a miss.
How to Take Control of Your Debt
The best way to avoid the shame and stress of debt is to get rid of it. Studies on debtors have found that at least 9 out of 10 believe they will be much happier if they didnât have debt. These beliefs have been confirmed by individuals who successfully pay off debt, claiming = they are much happier than they ever were.
There are many ways you can pay off debt and weâll look at a few of these options below, but generally speaking, you need to:
Best Ways to Get out of Debt
There is no debt shame if there is no debt. As discussed above, debt is not something you should be ashamed of, but itâs also not something you should cling onto. It can cause you a great deal of stress, placing strain on your relationships and generally making life very difficult for you.
So, while itâs important to face the truth of the situation and dispel those feelings of shame, itâs just as important to fight your debt and get your head above water. Here are a few debt relief options and debt payoff strategies that can help. For more information, including expensive guides and recommendations on each of these options, take a look at the relevant sections on Pocket Your Dollars.
Snowball and Avalanche Methods
The debt snowball and debt avalanche methods are two of the most popular debt payoff strategies, and ones that we have discussed at great length before (see debt snowball vs debt avalanche). They can make the process more systematic, which, in turn, may provide you with the support and the structure you need to get your debts in order.Â
In both cases, you need to make a list of all your debts, covering things such as Balance, Monthly Payment, and Interest Rate. For debt snowball, sort the list by balance and go from the smallest to the largest. For debt avalanche, focus on the debts that have the highest interest rate and get those out of the way first. With both methods, you need to keep meeting your monthly payment obligations, before putting any extra money you have towards your chosen debt.
Debt avalanche provides the most practical benefits as it clears the problematic debts first, thus reducing the total interest. Debt snowball provides more of a psychological boost, giving you motivation as you steadily clear your debts.
The biggest issue with any debt payoff strategy is that it isnât easy to get the extra money you need to make those additional payments and clear your debts early. However, many debtors are trapped in a cycle of debt not because they canât scrape the cents together no matter how hard they try, but because they struggle to budget properly and make the necessary sacrifices.
The average American debtor spends thousands of dollars every year on uneaten groceries, lottery tickets, and media subscriptions. They drop hundreds of dollars on luxuries they donât really need and spend over $3,500 a year eating out. If debt is dragging you down then itâs imperative that you clear it, which means making some sacrifices and getting your priorities in check.
If you genuinely canât spare a dime and donât waste money on unnecessary expenses, then look into some of the options below.
Debt settlement is tailor-made for unsecured debt and works especially well for clearing credit card debt, as well as private students. Debt settlement companies often request that you stop meeting your monthly payment obligations, which puts the accounts into doubt and means your creditors are more likely to accept a settlement.
This settlement will clear the entirety of the debt for a fraction of the price, often around 50%. This means that a credit card debt of $10,000 would be cleared for $5,000, providing you with some big savings even after the settlement fees have been taken into account.
A consolidation loan is a large loan that pays off all of your debt at a reduced interest rate and for a reduced monthly payment. The loan is often extended by several years, which means you pay more in the long-term, but the reduced monthly payments alleviate some of the burden and make the debt more manageable.
Debt management provides debtors with a debt repayment strategy, with all funds funneled through the debt management plan and then distributed to creditors. This service is often provided by credit counseling agencies and credit unions, who begin the process by negotiating with creditors and then assuming control of all debts.
These companies often ask that the debtors cancel all but one credit card, which can reduce the debtorâs credit score by impacting their credit utilization ratio.
A balance transfer credit card lets you move all your credit card balances onto a single card, one that offers a 0% APR for the first 6, 12 or 18 months, allowing you to pay down debt without interest, thus reducing compounded interest and clearing the debt quickly.
This method works with all credit card debt and you can typically move between 1 and 5 balances onto a new credit card, providing that card isnât offered by the same company.
The Shame of Debt is a post from Pocket Your Dollars.
Refinancing your student loans can make good financial sense, and thatâs especially true if your current loans are stuck at a high-interest rate. With a new loan at a lower APR, you could save a bundle of money on interest each month and ultimately pay your student debt off faster. Consolidating several loans into one new one can also simplify your financial life and make keeping up with bills a lot easier.
College Ave and Earnest topped our list, but since student loan refinancing is an incredibly competitive space, youâll also want to spend time comparing student loan companies to see who offers the best deal. Many lenders in this space offer incredibly low APRs, flexible payment options, borrower incentives, and more. This means itâs more important than ever to shop around so you wind up with the best student loan for your needs.
The lenders on this list can help you consolidate and refinance both federal student loans and private student loans. However, there are a few details to be aware of before you refinance federal loans with a private lender.
Switching federal loans to private means giving up federal protections like deferment and forbearance. You also give up your chance to qualify for income-driven repayment plans like Pay As You Earn (PAYE) or Income Based Repayment (IBR). Income-driven repayment plans let you pay a percentage of your discretionary income for 20 to 25 years before ultimately forgiving your remaining loan balances, so this perk isnât one you should give up without careful thought and consideration.
As you start your search to find the best student loan for your lifestyle, take the time to compare lenders and all they offer their customers. While there are a ton of reputable companies offering high-quality student loan refinancing products on the market today, there are also companies you should probably steer clear of.
To make your search easier, we took the time to compare most of the top lenders in this space in terms of interest rates offered, fees, borrower benefits, and more. The following student loan companies are the cream of the crop, so you should start your search here.
Splash Financial may be a newer company in the student loan refinancing space, but their offerings are competitive. This company lets you check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report, and their variable rates currently start at just 2.25% APR.
Not only are interest rates offered by Splash Financial industry-leading, but the company has a 95% customer satisfaction rate so far. Their cutting-edge technology also lets you apply for your loan and complete the loan process online, meaning less hassle and stress for you as the borrower.
Check Out Splash Financialâs Low Rates
College Ave offers student loan refinancing products that can be tailored to your needs. They offer low fixed and variable interest rates, for example, and youâll never pay an application fee or an origination fee. You can even qualify for a discount if you set your loan up on autopay, and a wide range of repayment schedules are available.
College Ave also offers a wide range of online calculators and tools that can help you figure out how much student loan refinancing could help you save and whether the move would be worth it in the end. Considering their low variable rates start at just 2.74% APR, thereâs a good chance you could save money by refinancing if you have excellent credit or a cosigner with great credit.
Get Started with College Ave
Earnest is another online lender that focuses most of its efforts on offering high-quality student loans. This company lets you consolidate debt at a lower interest rate than you might find elsewhere, and you get the option to pick a monthly payment and repayment period that works with your budget and your lifestyle.
While youâll need excellent credit to qualify for the lowest interest rates, loans from Earnest come with variable APRs starting at 1.81% and low fixed rates starting at just 3.45%. To qualify for student loan refinancing with Earnest, youâll need a minimum credit score of 650 and a strong employment and income history. You also need to be current on all your bills and cannot have a bankruptcy on your credit profile.
Refinance and Save with Earnest
Also make sure to check out student loan refinancing company SoFi as you continue your search. This online lender offers some of the best student loan refinancing products available today, including loans with no application fee, origination fee, or hidden fees.
SoFi lets you apply for and complete the entire loan process online, and they offer live customer support 7 days a week. You can also check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report, which makes it easier to see how much you could save before you commit.
Get Pre-Approved with SoFi in Less than 2 Minutes
Commonbond is another online student lender who lets you check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report. With student loan refinancing from Commonbond, you could easily save thousands of dollars on interest with a new fixed interest rate as low as 3.21%. Repayment terms are offered for 5 to 20 years as well, letting you choose a new monthly payment and repayment timeline that works for your needs.
You can apply for your new loan online and note that these loans donât come with an origination fee or any prepayment penalties. Your loan could also qualify for forbearance, which means having up to 24 months without payments during times of financial hardship.
Apply Online with Commonbond
LendKey offers private student loans and flexible student loan refinancing options to serve a variety of needs. You can repay your loan between 5 and 20 years, and their refinance loans donât charge an origination fee.
You can use this companyâs online interface to check your rate without a hard inquiry on your credit report, and variable APRs start at just 2.01% for graduates with excellent credit. LendKey loans also receive 9.3 out of 10 possible stars in recent reviews, meaning their customers are mostly happy with their decision to go with this company.
Save Thousands by Refinancing with LendKey
While Wells Fargo is mostly popular for their banking products, home mortgage products, and personal loans, this bank also offers student loan refinancing products. These loans let you consolidate student debts into a new loan with a low variable or fixed interest rate, and you can even score a discount for setting your loan up on autopay.
Terms for Wells Fargo loans are available anywhere from 5 to 20 years, meaning you can choose a repayment schedule and monthly payment that suits your needs. Wells Fargo also lets you check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report.
Get Started with Wells Fargo
PenFed Credit Union offers unique student loan products powered by Purefy. You might be able to qualify for a lower interest rate that could lead to enormous interest savings over time, and PenFed lets you choose a repayment term and monthly payment that fits with your budget and lifestyle.
You can apply for student loan refinancing on your own, but PenFed Credit Union also allows cosigners. Low fixed interest rates start at just 3.48% APR, and you can check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report.
Learn More about PenFed Credit Union
If you decide you want to refinance your student loans, youâll be happy to know the refinancing market is more robust than ever. A variety of lenders offer insanely attractive loan options for those who can qualify, although you should know that student loan companies tend to be very finicky about your credit score. Some also wonât let you refinance if you didnât graduate from college, or even if you graduated from an âunapprovedâ school.
While you should be aware of any lender-specific eligibility requirements before you apply with any student loan company, there are plenty of other factors to look out for. Hereâs everything you should look for in a student loan refinancing company before you decide to trust them with your loans.
Obviously, the main reason youâre probably thinking of refinancing your loans is the potential to save money on interest. Lenders who offer the lowest rates available today can potentially help you save more, although itâs important to consider that you may not qualify for the lowest rates available if you donât have excellent credit.
Also consider that most lenders will offer better rates and loan terms if you have a cosigner with better credit than you have. This is especially true if your credit isnât great, so make sure to ask family members if theyâre willing to cosign on your new student loan if you hope to get the best rate. Just remember that your cosigner will be jointly liable for repayment, meaning you could quickly damage your relationship if you default on your loan and leave them holding the bag.
Student loans are like any other loan in the fact that some charge higher fees or more fees than others. Since many student loans come with an application fee or an origination fee, youâll want to look for lenders that donât charge these fees. Also check for hidden fees like prepayment penalties.
Some student loan companies let you qualify for discounts, the most popular of which is a discount for using autopay. If youâre able and willing to set up automatic payments on your credit card, you could save .25% or .50% off your interest rate depending on the lender you go with.
Many of the top student loan refinancing companies on this list make it possible to check your interest rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report. This is a huge benefit since knowing your rate can help you figure out if refinancing is even worth it before you take the time to fill out a full loan application.
Also make sure any lender you go with offers some flexibility in your repayment plan and your monthly payment. Youâll want to make sure refinancing aligns with your long-term financial goals and your monthly budget, and itâs crucial to choose a new loan with a monthly payment you can live with.
Most lenders in this space offer repayment timelines of up to 20 years, which means you could spread your payments over several decades to get a monthly payment that makes sense with your income. Keep in mind, however, that youâll pay more interest over the life of your loan when you take a long time to pay it off, so you may want to consider prioritizing a faster payment plan.
Student loan refinancing may not sound like a lot of fun. However, taking the time to consider all your loan options could easily save you thousands of dollars. This is especially true if you have a lot of debt at a high interest rate. By consolidating all your student loans into a new one with a lower APR, you could make loan repayment easier with a single payment and save a ton of money that would otherwise go to straight to interest without helping you pay off your loans.
The first step of the loan process is the hardest, however, and thatâs choosing a student loan refinancing company that you trust. The lenders on this list are highly rated, but they also offer some of the best loan products on the market today.
Start your search here and youâre bound to wind up with a student loan you can live with. At the very least, you’ll have a better idea of the loans that are available and how much you might save if you decide to refinance later on.
The post The Best Student Loan Companies For Refinancing appeared first on Good Financial CentsÂ®.
The post 10 Ways to Save on CollegeÂ appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.
College is expensive, thereâs no debating that fact. The average amount of money borrowed to obtain a bachelor’s degree was $29,000 in 2017/2018, according to the College Board, Thatâs a whole lotta money (and itâs a number thatâs only likely to go up).
If you want to avoid years and years of debt payoff after graduation then itâs up to you to try and keep your costs down. In an effort to help you do that, weâve compiled a list of 10 ways to save on college.
This might sound like a joke but itâs not. The point is that before you go off and spend thousands and thousands of dollars on your education you need to make sure that college is the right choice for you. Is it what you really want to do? Are you ready?
Although college has become part of the prescribed life plan (high school — college — marriage — house…), itâs not the only option. You can also choose not to go and pursue other opportunities like entrepreneurship, a gap-year, joining the military or enrolling in a technical school. So, the purpose here is not to deter you from getting a college education but instead to ensure that itâs truly the right choice for the work/life you want to pursue.
Nothing exemplifies the college experience more than living at home with your mom and dad…right? I know, this might not sound like the most fun way to âdoâ college. However, if graduating debt-free is a priority then it might be worth it. If you decide to go to a school thatâs close to home (and your parents can stand you for another four years) then living with mom and dad can help you to save thousands of dollars on rent, utilities, laundry, and food.
If living at home is not an option then consider renting with roommates. Yes, having your own space can be glorious however, it also comes at a premium price. If youâre serious about saving on college then having a roommate (or five) will help you save on things like rent, utilities, and even streaming services. It will also teach you how to cope with different personalities, which will serve you well when you graduate and enter the real world.
If you live close to campus then you can probably get by without a car. This means no car payments, no insurance payment, and no gas. As an added bonus, youâll never have to be the designated driver (assuming youâre 21 years old, of course). Instead, take advantage of public transit or bring your bike and get around using your own power.
Being a student is expensive but it also comes with a lot of perks! As a student, youâll often have access to things like free transit passes, free gym memberships, equipment rentals (bike, skis, skates, kayaks), as well as tutoring and counseling services. Your student status might also get you discounted rates to museums, concerts, clothing, car rentals, and technology. To make sure that you donât miss a student discount opportunity check out this list by Deal Hack.
Eating and drinking at a restaurant or bar multiple times a week can get really expensive. Why not learn how to cook (a great life skill!) and save big by eating at home. This is not to say that you should never go out and have fun but if you want to minimize expenses itâs best to avoid multiple nights at the bar and opt for a BYOB potluck at your place.
The last thing you want to do is graduate from school with student loan debt AND credit card debt (a double debt whammy). If youâre going to have a credit card make sure you understand how a credit card works. If youâre not able to pay off your credit card in full each month then itâs probably best to stick to debit or cash.
You donât have to be the best or the brightest to win a scholarship. If youâre willing to put in some time and effort, you probably have a pretty good shot of winning some money. And remember, not all scholarships are based on your GPA. There are scholarships for everything: financial need, athletic ability, minority status, single moms â¦ and so on.
If youâre a high school student — be sure to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Itâs estimated that $2.6 billion in FAFSA went unclaimed by eligible students for the 2018/2019…ouch!
If you can hack it then get a job while youâre going to school. A great way to avoid debt is to have a continual source of income. In addition to the extra money, having a job is good for the resume, it can help you build your professional network (especially if youâre working in the field youâre going to school for), and juggling multiple obligations will teach you how to be organized and efficient.
Both Starbucks and Walmart have programs that allow employees to get online degrees for nearly nothing. Thatâs becoming common at large companies and a surprising number of businesses offer at least some help paying tuition. There are also a number of employers that will help workers pay back their student loans.
You may not want to work at Starbucks, Walmart, or any place else that will pay for college, but it might make sense to suck it up and work for four years or so and come out of it with no debt and some solid employment history.
When it comes to trying to save on college every little thing helps. While college should be fun, donât lose sight of why youâre there â¦ to get an education! When it comes to making tough financial decisions think about the position you want to be in when you graduate. You want to put yourself in a position to graduate debt-free (if at all possible) or at least put yourself in position to have a clear and easy plan to pay it off within a few years.
–By Jessica Martel
The post 10 Ways to Save on CollegeÂ appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.
Austerity policies are nothing new. But talk about them in the news has recently escalated. In response to its ongoing debt crisis, the Greek government is preparing to implement austerity measures aimed at helping the country regain its financial footing. If you didnât major in economics or you have no clue what austerity means, read on to find out how this fiscal program works.
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Austerity: A Definition
Trust us, austerity isnât as complicated as it sounds. Austerity is a type of economic policy that governments use to deal with budget deficits. A country faces a deficit whenever itâs using more money than itâs earning from tax dollars.
By taking on an austerity package, a government hopes to reign in its spending, improve the status of its economy and avoid defaulting on its unpaid debt. Governments usually take on austerity measures in order to appease their creditors. In exchange, these lenders agree to bail out countries and allow them to borrow more money.
If you look up the word austere in the dictionary, youâll see that it means severe, grave, hard, solemn and serious. Indeed, austerity is nothing to joke about.
Austerity plans normally involve increases in different taxes, (property taxes, income taxes, etc.) budget cuts or a push to incorporate both. Government workers could lose their jobs or see their wages and benefits either decline or become stagnant. Hiking up interest rates, adding travel bans and keeping prices at a fixed level could be other strategies put in place to reduce spending.
Naturally, austerity measures typically arenât viewed in the best light because they mean that there might be fewer government programs available to the public. Aid for veterans and low-income families, healthcare coverage and pensions are some of the benefits that normally take a hit when a countryâs using an austerity package. Government services that arenât eliminated might not be as comprehensive or as beneficial as they once were.
As you can see, in an austere environment, conditions are tighter overall. Historically, austerity has been implemented in the US during tough times including World War I, World War II and the Great Recession of 2008.
Greeceâs new austerity package â which government lawmakers finally accepted in July 2015 â will feature less government funding, higher taxes and cuts to pension plans. As a result of this deal, the country was allowed to begin talks with its creditors about a third bailout.
Related Article: All About the Greek Debt Crisis
The Problems With Government Austerity
Experts on the economy tend to go back and forth about how effective austerity can be. Some believe that instead of turning to austerity, the government should pump out more money and borrow as much as possible if an economy is on the rocks.
From a political standpoint, austerity is often controversial and results in riots and demonstrations. Anti-austerity protests erupted in Greece, where quite a few folks say that past austerity programs have only made social and economic conditions worse.
Beyond slowing down the economy, an austerity bill can cause a country to remain in its debt crisis, particularly if itâs in the midst of a recession. As fiscal austerity decreases spending, GDP can go down while unemployment goes up. Consumers can get nervous and stop spending and investing their own money.
In short, austerity policies can make life even more difficult for people who are already struggling. Thatâs why governments tend to turn to them as a last resort if other strategies arenât working.
Why Austerity Might Not Be So Bad
Notable European creditors have argued that austerity can be beneficial to a countryâs long-term economic state. For instance, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has previously reported that austerity has done more damage than anticipated. But the European Central Bank released a paper saying that austerity has been helpful, at least for some of the weaker eurozone countries.
In fact, austerity has helped strengthen the economies in European countries like Latvia and Iceland. Although Spainâs unemployment remains high, its economy is in better shape overall. Ireland has made considerable progress as well toward rebuilding its economy.
Proponents of austerity policies say that they can make investors feel more optimistic when a country is being run more responsibly. Austerity has the potential to bring a shrinking economy back to life as everyday citizens invest in the private sector instead of relying on support from the federal government.
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The US used austerity measures between 2010 and 2014. Not only were our policies harsher than those employed by the governments in the UK and other European nations, but our economy fared better than theirs.
The point of austerity is to tighten the governmentâs belt, bring a countryâs debt back down to a more manageable level and stimulate an economy that has stopped growing. Countries generally try to meet these goals by cutting spending and raising taxes.
The debate over whether austerity works continues but one common theme has emerged. Timing matters. Some critics suggest that cutting too much too quickly during a recession can be painful. When introduced more slowly, however, (or when the economy is doing very well,) austerity measures can turn things around.
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