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8 Clever Ways to Save Money on Student Loans

8 Clever Ways to Save Money on Student Loans

Student loans have been weighing heavy on higher education students over the past decade – particularly those who can’t find adequate employment to justify the costs of college.

Politician, Mark Pocan gave one of the best quotes to sum up student loan frustration, stating, “By making college unaffordable and student loans unbearable, we risk deterring our best and brightest from pursuing higher education and securing a good-paying job.”

A study by The Institute for College Access & Success reported that between 2004 and 2014, student loan debt rose by a massive 56% on average – a leap from $18,550 to $28,950. Thus it has become critical for students to understand what they owe, who they owe, and most importantly, how they can owe less.

1. Automatic Payments

One of the easiest ways to immediately save is to sign up for automatic payments to be withdrawn straight from your bank account. Many companies now offer reduced interest rates simple for signing up for a convenient and secure payment method. The reduction rate is typically only a fraction of a percent, but it still keeps some extra cash in your pocket.

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2. Refinance

Refinancing loans is a popular method for reducing sky-high interest rates. High interest rates are particularly discouraging, making it seem as if you’ll never pay off your debt along with the rapidly accruing interest. Luckily, refinancing is a fairly simple process for those with a good credit score and a steady income. Those who are not in the best circumstances may apply for refinancing with a cosigner to increase their chances of acceptance.

3. Loan Forgiveness

While loan forgiveness is only applicable in certain circumstances, it is certainly worth looking into whether those circumstances apply to you or not. You may have access to loan forgiveness, for example, if you have worked in the public service field for several years. Teachers and other professionals can apply for public service loan forgiveness.

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4. Consolidation

Consolidation is one of the most common forms of loan management, but surprisingly, not everyone takes advantage of it. This method is beneficial for a few basic reasons. It allows you to combine payments so that you only have one monthly deadline to remember and one combined interest rate instead of several. In many cases, this will also lead to lower monthly payments. If you’ve yet to consolidate student loans, this is one way to streamline payments and avoid unnecessary late fees in the long run.

5. Program Assistance

Spend a day researching established student loan programs that help graduates in certain professions pay off their loans. A few examples include the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program, programs for the Army, Air Force, National Guard, and Navy, and Teach for America. If you do qualify based on your profession, there is usually a few basic rules that must be followed, like committing to a position for 5 years or working in a particular location. Weigh the pros and cons of these offers to decide if any are right for you.

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6. Automatic Savings

One way to trick yourself into paying student loans off faster – and thus owing less in the long run – is to set up automatic deposits from your paycheck to your savings account. Whether it’s $10 or $200, this method allows you to save effortlessly and immediately deducts the money before you have a change to spend it.

7. Remember Taxes

Each year, student loan companies will send out tax forms showing the amount of interest you paid in the prior year. Don’t ignore or forget about these forms, as they can provide some decent tax deductions (up to $2500). Grad students are often eligible for tax credits, which can save you even more than tax deductions.

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8. Pay Faster

Last but not least this is an option for those who are not over-burdened financially. Just because your loan company asks for a set amount of money each month doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t pay more. Throwing in extra payments here and there or doubling your payments altogether helps to reduce the principle quickly. Use a repayment calculator to determine how much you can save in what amount of time. By tightening your budget in a few minor ways, you may find that you can abolish debt in half the estimated time.

Featured photo credit: eflon via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

Summertime can be a real strain on your wallet. The sun is out, there are people to see, places to be; it’s no wonder you might be short of funds during these sunny months. Not everything has to cost you an arm and a leg.

Take some time to go through this list of 20 cheap summer activities and make some realistic goals to complete as many as you can.

Video Summary

1. Visit a strawberry festival

Summer is prime time for tasting strawberries. More often than not, an area that grows strawberries will have a strawberry festival. Indulge yourself in strawberry pies, jams, cakes and more!

2. Have a picnic

Take your partner or your family to the local park and enjoy a relaxing picnic. Designate each person to bring one food item of their choice to add to the fun.

3. Camp in your back yard

    The summer heat can sometimes make it hard to sleep. Why not enjoy the heat outside in the yard? Pitch a tent or gaze into the night sky.

    4. Take long walks

    Discover something new where you live. Take the afternoon off from your chores and go for a long walk. You may be surprised by what you discover.

    5. Break a world record

    Breaking a world record doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You could even break one on your lunch hour. Give it a go!

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    6. Go on a bike ride

    The number of bike paths on roads in big cities has increased dramatically over the years. Take advantage, and enjoy the summer breeze.

    7. Join a gym class

      The gym is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but why not go with a friend a join a class? Spinning, yoga and step classes are always more fun with friends, and a lot of gyms allow you to pay-as-you-go.

      8. Find a new hobby

      The summer is the perfect time to find a new hobby. Serotonin (our body’s natural “happy” hormone) is produced by the sunshine and will be at a yearly high, which is great for when we want to tackle something new.

      9. Join a sports team

      Not all sports teams are competitive and require huge amounts of your time. Join in the fun with like-minded people, get fit, stay healthy and make some friends along the way.

      10. Make a slip ‘n slide

        Gather your friends, some plastic sheeting, a hose, washing up liquid if desired, and make a huge slip ‘n slide just like these guys. Granted, yours won’t be as big, but you get the idea… it’s fun!

        11. Make a treasure hunt for your kids

        Today’s digital world sees our children more often than not playing inside than outside. Why not create a sense of adventure by making a treasure hunt? Only rule? It has to be outside.

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        12. Visit a free festival

        Towns and cities are awash with free festivals, with themes from film to science. Scout your local area and discover something new.

        13. Visit the zoo

          Let’s face it: we love animals. While browsing news websites and social media networks you’re bound to come across a few pictures of cats. Take a trip to your local zoo for a better experience.

          14. Take a road trip

          Enjoy the open road with a few friends and take a road trip somewhere–anywhere. Just go out and enjoy the sunshine!

          15. Play ultimate frisbee in the park

            Frisbee is always great fun down the park, but why not turn it into more of a competitive sport by playing ultimate frisbee?

            16. Make your own ice cream

            Ice cream is a very versatile dessert. Make a sandwich, enjoy a cone, or simply just enjoy a bowl full. Better yet, making your own ice cream allows you to create any flavor you want.

            17. Invite your neighbors over for a BBQ

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              When was the last time you invited your neighbors over? Do you even know them? Now’s your chance. Just ask each person to bring a food item so costs don’t mount up for you.

              18. Get a summer job

              For many students, summer is the time for relaxation and fun. But who said earning money and being productive isn’t fun? You only get out what you put into a situation.

              19. Attend a charity event

              Attending a charity event is a great way to raise funds and awareness for a cause, meet new people, and generally have a good time. Search for your local charity event today.

              20. Visit a national park

              National parks are a great way to explore nature and learn something new. You could even volunteer and make a difference in helping restore natural habitats.

              21. Visit your local comedy club

                Local comedy clubs are extremely underrated. They are cheap to attend and no doubt you’ll have a barrel of laughs.

                22. Make your own hammock

                  Hammocks are very relaxing, are perfect for summer afternoons and are surprisingly easy to make.

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                  23. Read in your new hammock

                  Now you have your very own hammock, the only thing left to do is enjoy it. Grab your favorite book and read to your heart’s content.

                  24. Watch a movie outside

                  Movies are great. Relaxing outside in the evening is great. Put them together and you’ve got a perfect combination. In D.C, Maryland and Virginia this summer, for example, you can enjoy a huge number of movies outside.

                  25. Take a hike

                    Hikes are a great way to keep fit and see more of Mother Nature. There are countless trails available for you to explore. Why not try some this summer?

                    26. Learn how to fly a kite

                    As a child, you probably had a kite and haven’t touched it since. Why not dust it off and attempt to fly it? It’s tricky, but well worth the challenge.

                    27. Work out at the park

                    American cities are full of parks with ample space for a work out session. No doubt you’ll be happier to work out in the sun rather than a crowded gym.

                    28. Take your dog to the beach

                      One of the many joys of owning a dog is taking him or her for long walks during the summertime. This joy is enhanced when visiting the beach, for both you and your dog.

                      29. Make a summer smoothie

                      Healthy, delicious and perfect for the summer. Not only that, there are countless recipes ready for you to try.

                      30. Attend a free yoga session at the beach

                      No experience needed and all skill levels are welcome. Take yourself and a buddy down to the beach and try some yoga. You’ve got nothing to lose!

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