If you are a student or the parent of a student, you most probably are struggling with the payments of student loans. There are very few graduates who don’t have student debt to be repaid.
Fortunately, there are ways to make your repayments more manageable. The debt will not go away, but you’ll be in a better position to service your loans. We’ve looked at some of the possibilities, and gladly share a summarized version of what we’ve found.
We’ve also had a quick look at ways to help you budget while still a student, enabling you to save money for repayments. Although the information is based on the situation in the U.S., the same principles can be used anywhere in the world, even if all the opportunities are not available in your country.
Make Repayments Easier
We supply you with three possibilities to consider for the student loan so you do not bear the burden for long.
U.S. Department of Education – Income-Based Repayment
If you are a U.S. resident, there is a great possibility that your federal student loan is eligible for one of the U.S. Department of Education income-based repayment plans.
The pros of an income-based solution include the fact that your monthly repayment is immediately lowered, you are not forced to repay more than you can afford, and you might qualify for loan forgiveness after 20 to 25 years.
The plans also have negative aspects. Generally, your repayment will be extended until loan forgiveness. This will lock you in for repayments for 20 to 25 years. The payments will also increase as your income increases.
For more details regarding federal income-based repayment plans, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website.
Consolidate Your Student Loans
If you don’t qualify for an income-based federal repayment plan, the next step should be to look at the possibility to get your student loans consolidated.
With consolidation, your payments could be simplified as you have fewer payments and due dates per month. The idea is to lower your monthly payments to an amount which is less than your original loans’ combined payments.
However, although the immediate repayment is lower, your repayment period will be extended. Thus, you will pay more interest over the life of your loan. For a list of U.S. institutions who are prepared to consider student loan consolidation can be found on U.S News’ appropriate website.
Refinance Your Student Loans
With refinancing you aim to optimize all existing debt by replacing it with one loan that has a lower interest rate. Refinancing differs from consolidation. With consolidation, you try to simplify your payments and get a longer repayment period to lower your monthly payments.
With a refinancing, you are looking for lower interest rates as well. The pros of refinancing include that you get a lower interest rate, pay a lesser monthly payment, and save money over the long term.
Just keep in mind that you will have a longer repayment period. Refinancing of federal loans through a private lender might also eliminate the opportunity for deferral, forbearance and income-based repayment options.
Save as a Student
Whether you have been successful with the rescheduling of your student debt or not, you can save money while you are a student by managing your finances well. As a student, the responsibility of budgeting on your own could be difficult.
Fortunately, there are apps available to assist you. They can help to monitor your bank account, credit cards, and loan payments from a mobile device. These apps offer a manageable and convenient way to make you aware of your day-to-day spending.
For your convenience, we list two apps we think would be able to help with your money management.
Mint is a free app that combines all your financial institutions into one platform. With this app, you create a budget for yourself and manage your spending.
With the free app Digit, you automatically get money to spend every few days and it keeps you from overspending. The app automatically withdraws a small amount of money from your bank account every few days and deposits it into a separate Digit account for you to use.
We hope one or more of the options discussed in this article helps you to manage your student expenses and repayments of student debt.