Reduce Your Student Loan Debt Class of 2011

Graduation

Congratulations to the Class of 2011. That’s right, graduation season is here and for those who believe the world is going to end tomorrow, you are in luck! You see, dear ole Sallie Mae is coming for you 6 months to the day that you walk across that stage… but if the world ends, you don’t have to worry about student loans and the debt that comes with it, now do you? If I were as sure as others that the world is about to end, I would have chucked the deuces at my girl, Sallie in a heartbeat. Let me just say that student loans and the debt that comes with it are not all bad and while you could believe months from now that Sallie Mae is the devil, she doesn’t have to be. Think about it, Sallie was like your home girl, bestie, or fav from school who let you borrow a few hundred or thousand dollars here or there when you needed that new computer, housing, or were falling financially shy of your balance to register for class. She said, “Don’t worry about it; I’ll take care of it. You will pay me back someday”. Well recent graduates, someday is sooner than you think! She wants her money NOW!!!

Here are some steps that should help you adjust to the change in your relationship:

  • Don’t Fall for the Minimum Payment Game. If you can, always pay more than the minimum payment. The same rules for paying the minimum of credit cards apply here. You can do this one of two ways. For an entire year, I paid my Sallie Mae bill twice (the 15th and the last day of every month). Doing so, allowed me to get my payments a year in advance so while I was not working, my Sallie Mae bill was still current. One thing I would point out, that I actually forgot during my year off from paying Sallie Mae, is that interest accrues daily. If I had the opportunity to do it again, I would still pay twice but I would apply the first payment to current bill and the second full payment to the balance. That way, I will pay the balance down without wasting extra money on interest. Plus, doing this will shorten the life of the loan.
  • Find out if there is a pre-payment penalty for your loan(s). If there is no penalty, you should set aside some graduation money and start paying down your BALANCE before your official payments begin.
  • Consolidate. Consolidating your student loan(s) means that you take out a new loan to cover all of your old loans.
    Instead of have a bunch of different loans, you now make one payment that represents a combination of all of your student loan debt. No more multiple payments and due dates. Plus, you can take the lowest interest rate to apply to your newly consolidated loan, lower your monthly payments, and easily apply for alternate payment plans if your financial situation changes. As with most things, consolidating has its cons. Some have pre-payment penalties (mine didn’t), lowering your monthly payments could end up in extending the life of your loan, and there is the potential for more interest. Do your homework for this one- what works for one does not work for all.
  • Student Loan Debt is a good thing? Yep. Paying off your student loans is an excellent way to establish good credit. If you pay on time and pay more than the minimum, you will be well on your way to good credit. Visit, here, to learn other ways to raise your credit score.

Let us end this post on a fantastic note, congratulating the graduates of 2011. If you graduated this year, congrats to you as well.

Congrats to the Following Graduates

De’Jonique Garrison

Micki Jackson

Teraneshia Nash

Jay Cuyler

Cameisha Clark

Serena Rogers

_________________________________________

Lauren Travis, JD

Christian Mitchell, MA

Tiffany Davenport, DPT

Akilah Bacy, JD

 

 

 

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A Government Shutdown Could Mean No Tax Refund for You

Within a matter of days, we will know the fate of the looming government shutdown. At this point, it is not an issue of black or white, Democrat or Republican, cow or pig (Grey’s Anatomy reference); it simply comes down to money and everyone will be affected in some way. If an agreement is not reached by Friday at midnight, the government will halt all “non essential” services which could last a few hours or weeks. People will be laid off. Medical clinical trials will not admit new patients. Federal home loan guarantees will be withheld. The Cherry Blossom Festival will be cancelled. Passport applications will go unprocessed. If that isn’t enough, federal refund and tax returns by paper filers will not be processed. If you haven’t eFiled before, this is the year to do it! And guess what, your returns are still due by April 18, 2011 (April 15th is a holiday). Remember, nothing is definite, but I believe it is always better to be over prepared than under prepared.
Some Services That Will Continue
 

  • Postal Services
  • Police
  • Fire Fighters
  • Armed Forces
  • Utilities

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How to Spend Less on Gas

Gasoline and oil prices are at their highest levels in the past two years; which is causing people to freak out and/or speculate just how bad this situation is about to get. $4.00 per gallon for regular unleaded is what we should expect as the norm in the coming days. I’ve even heard that we will see $5.00 per gallon in 2011. I don’t know about you all but these gas prices are killing me, especially since my car requires premium fuel. So what can we do? For one, I’m seriously considering riding my bike from the 5th grade with streamers, glitter, and basket- it’s economical and will definitely help me in my endeavor to achieve my awesome bikini body. But before I get to that point, I will remind you of some basic tips & tricks that you may have forgotten:

1. Speeding and braking wastes gas, so slow down. According to Fuel Economy, aggressive driving can “lower gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town”. Driving sensibly can save you between $.17-$1.12 per gallon.

2. Clean out your car. Simply said, excess weight = wasted gas. For every 100 pounds you remove from your car, you get 2% more gas mileage.

3. Plan and combine trips

4. Car Pool/ Telecommute (if you have that option)

5. Keep Tires Inflated Properly

6. Use Cruise Control on the Highway

7. Use A/C on the Highway (rolling your windows down causes air drag which forces the car to work a little harder and decreased fuel economy)

8. Use your GPS!! It helps you not waste gas from getting lost and often has a “shortest route” option in your device settings.

 

To FIND THE CHEAPEST GAS NEAR YOU

Gas BuddyGas Price WatchFuel Economy

TO FIND THE CHEAPEST GAS IN A RAH CITY

Atlanta MiamiChicagoDC • Nashville

OTHER HELPFUL LINKS

City and State AveragesPrices by Counties

 

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