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7 Tips For Taking Out Student Loans Right

7 Tips For Taking Out Student Loans Right

One of the hot debates in recent years has been over the true value of a college degree. It still remains the most viable way to have a good career with decent compensation, but the rising cost of college tuition has put the cost–benefit question to the forefront.

Students these days are leaving college with a mountain of debt. Student debt is now estimated at over one trillion dollars. Graduates are also heading into a tough job market to boot. Paying back student loans can be easier with some forward thinking. Here are seven tips to keep your student debt manageable:

1. Keep Debt No More Than Your First Job’s Salary

A good rule of thumb when you take out student loans is to have the total amount of debt not exceed your first year’s salary when you get into the workforce. When you decide what to major in you can develop a good idea of what a starting salary will be. Whatever you rack up in college debt should not exceed this.

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Students will eventually be working in the real world. Things like rent, car payments, food and utilities will need to be figured out as part of monthly budgets. College debt will be part of that budget. Having a debt payment you can afford will be essential in your future.

2. Choose Federal Loans Over Private Loans

Federal student loans traditionally have better rates than private ones. The loans are subsidized by the federal  government. Private loans are provided by banks, credit unions and lending institutions. Federal loans have advantages that can help with repayment.

Federal loans allow a grace period of repayment after you graduate. Private loans may not offer this. Federal loans also offer deferments if you are faced with situations that affect your ability to pay. Options like these are at the discretion of individual private lenders.

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3. Choose a Career in Public Service

Some positions in public service have incentives that assist in making student loans easier to deal with. Occupations like teachers, fire fighters, and law enforcement can be subject to these options. One example is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, made effective October 1, 2007. If you make 120 full, on-time, monthly payments to your student loan while working full time in the public service, the balance of your loan will not need to be paid.

4. Go to Community College

Many local community colleges are able to provide quality education at a lower price than private schools. This is another thing to think about when taking out student loans. If you plan on getting a four-year degree, think about going to community college for the first two years. Look at the criteria of transferring to a four-year school before enrolling.

5. Plan Your Course Load

One thing to plan for when taking out student loans is your course load. What will be your status, full time or part time? If part time, you may not be eligible for full or even only partial financial aid. If you work and go to college part time, you may be responsible for more out-of-pocket education costs than a full-time student.

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Know what courses you will be taking and when. Many majors have a course sequence where select courses are only offered in the spring or fall semesters. Make sure your course load is on track with anticipated completion dates so there are no outstanding courses you need to take to finish your program.

6. Cut Costs

For young students starting out, graduating and going into the world of work may seem far off. It’s something they may not give much thought to with college requirements taking up their present mindset. Thinking about student loans that have to be paid after completion of college doesn’t seem like a priority.

College costs are an obligation that must be repaid. It’s only after graduation that the true realization of this may hit. To minimize the size of your debt and the possible shock associated with it, cut costs during your academic career. If you are able to minimize the need for student loans it will serve you well in the future.

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7. Find Work That Works

One of the ways students have found to lessen the need for taking out large student loans is to find work. This can range from regular paid jobs to work-study programs with the school. Money made can help with expenses and even go toward tuition.

Working can be great but find something that works with your schooling. Get something that has flexible hours around class to help with scheduling for class and life. Find employers that have access to cost-effective transport.

College is still arguably the best option for securing and maintaining a successful career. But taking out student loans the smart way can help in the years ahead.

Featured photo credit: Simon Cunningham via lendingmemo.com

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Last Updated on August 20, 2018

30 Fun Things To Do With Your Friends Without Spending Much

30 Fun Things To Do With Your Friends Without Spending Much

Spending time with friends is, in and of itself, a great way to pass the time without spending a lot of money. But if you and your friends are used to going out to clubs, pubs or eateries together as your way of hanging out, then you can change it up a bit and save some money too.

No matter where you live, there are plenty of places to go and do fun things that don’t cost a lot.

If you are having trouble convincing your friends to do things on the cheap, then be upfront with them. Tell them straight out that you can’t spend that kind of money right now — and don’t let them pay for you either. But here are some great alternatives you can offer.

30 Fun Things To Do With Friends Without Spending Much

1. A potluck dinner party. Host a dinner party and ask everyone to bring a dish to share. If you are not comfortable with cooking, maybe try and learn how to cook a new dish together with your friends.

2. Host a spa day. Give each other manicures. Try out new hairstyles. Make some facial masks or exfoliates using natural, at-home ingredients. Then drink mimosas.

3. Movie marathon. Log into Netflix and watch every episode of “Stranger Things” Or do an ’80s movie marathon, watching “Pretty in Pink,” “The Breakfast Club” and all of our old favorites. Don’t have a Netflix membership? Get the free trial just for the marathon!

4. Pinterest party! You know all of those cool Pinterest crafts you say you’re going to do? Do them. At home one night with friends. Then make up some of those bacon-wrapped whatevers you’ve been dying to try!

5. Go to the park. Pack a picnic. Hang out. Watch people. Play on the swings.

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    6. Have an organization party. Set up a day of each weekend where you go to each of your friends’ houses and help them clean out a closet, a room, a garage, whatever. Serve drinks and food and trade stuff among yourselves.

    7. Hold a yard sale. After all of that cleaning, why not hang out together and make some extra cash too?

    8. Concerts in the park. All summer long, many parks host free concerts. Go with your friends. Hang out, bring a picnic dinner. This is a very relaxing way to chill out on a hot summer night after work.

    9. Volunteer together. Offer to do the yard work for the local senior center or hang out with the kids at the YMCA. After a few hours of volunteering together, you will have new respect for each other and something new to chat about.

    10. Play board games. Drag out the Scrabble or the Yahtzee. You can hang out and play all sorts of games with large groups or small ones. Hold a tournament and compete against each other. Here’re some board games ideas.

    11. Video game tournament. Not into board games? OK. Well, how about a video game tournament? Whether it’s the latest dancing game or “Call of Duty,” play against each other and award prizes (or food) to the winners.

    12. Grab a ball and a bat and go play baseball at the local park. Grab a basketball or a tennis racket. Most parks have courts and fields you can use for free as long as there isn’t an organized event going on.

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    13. Go to the school play. This might cost a little for admission, but it’s a great way to support your community and have a fun time.

    14. Iron Chef night. Bring your friends over and have an Iron Chef night where you cook dinner out of only the items in your pantry. No buying anything!

    15. Go dumpster diving. Yup. I said it. Check out the dumpsters in your area and see what you can find. You might even find dinner! Here are some tips for respectful diving.

      16. Go to yard sales. Take all that money you made at your yard sale and cruise around your town together looking for cool stuff. Maybe you could even fix something up and resell it.

      17. Go fishing.

      18. Go camping.

      19. Find some cool trails around your town and go hiking. Here’re some of the best hiking trails you should try.

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      20. Get out the bikes and bike everywhere for a weekend.

        21. Dig out the old croquet set — or borrow your Mom’s — and play croquet. Do it! Totally fun.

        22. Swap movies and music. Have everyone bring over a box of old movies and CDs they don’t want anymore — or don’t watch anymore. Then swap with abandon.

        23. Go on a walking tour of your town. Most towns or cities have a historic district. Find out if there is a walking tour available. If not, make one up!

        24. Scavenger hunt. Put your friends to the test — yes, this is for grown-ups — to find different things in your city…like a certain bike rack, a vintage sign, that sort of thing. The winner gets a dinner cooked by the losers.

        25. Find out when the free days are at your local museum or zoo. Most have them and they can be great fun to visit with friends.

        26. Hold a quilting bee. No, you don’t have to be fancy — or old — for this. Grab some old T-shirts that you love, old jeans, whatever. Cut them into squares and sew them together. Who knows? Maybe it will become a regular thing?

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        27. Go to Open Mic night. Your town is likely harboring some great talent at an open mic night that has no cover and cheap drinks!

        28. Go to a religious service. Even if you’re not religious, going to a service in an unfamiliar religion can be enlightening and a great way to meet new people.

        29. Find a swimming hole. Head to the old town swimming hole — or find a new one. What a great way to spend a lazy afternoon with friends.

          30. Start a book club, card club (canasta anyone?), sewing club or scrapbooking club. Something you and your friends like. My parents used to belong to a cooking club where once a month all of their friends gathered at one house and the host family cooked a meal from a different country. I learned a lot about food that year.

          You don’t really need to spend much to have lots of fun with your friends! Pick a few of these ideas and start trying them out this weekend with your friends!

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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