Student loans can add up significantly throughout the course of a college career. And if you don’t stay on top of them then, they can weigh heavily upon you once you graduate. Having to deal with tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt after graduation can be stifling not only to your financial life, but to your personal and family life as well.
In an effort to help you stay apprised of your student loan situation not only during, but after your college career, here are a few thoughts that may assist you in combating these debts getting the better of you.
When you’re working toward completing your college coursework, student loans might not seem like that big of a deal in the overall scheme of things. Such loans are often portioned out over a period of years, and maybe on their own, they don’t seem like all that much. What’s $5,000 here or $8,000 there when you might graduate and make $40,000, $50,000 or more a year, right?
Well, that’s just the problem. First off, those amounts might not look like an overwhelming amount on their own, but over the course of eight semesters or more, such amount can turn into significant sums. And while you might graduate making $40,000 a year, after taxes, housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, food, and all the rest, $40,000 might suddenly not seem like all that much.
Therefore, it can be important that while you’re in school that you pay attention to just how much debt you’re taking on to pay for your education degree. Tracking these amounts so that you see their total as it grows over time — and even doing a forecast in which you estimate future loan amounts so that you have a decent idea of just how much you’ll be undertaking in loans during your career — may help to keep your loan amounts in perspective.
If you end up with more loan money than you need, consider saving it and using it to pay off some of your total upon graduation. Just spending it because you have it could leave you in an even deeper financial hole upon graduation.
After You Graduate
Speaking of graduation, your responsibilities to your student loans won’t likely be ended as you leave school. On the contrary in fact, they might only just be beginning in earnest. After graduation is when you might have to start paying on your student loans, and that’s when the true realization may hit of just how much debt you’ve taken on and its full effects will be felt.
Therefore, in an effort to stay on top of your student loans in your post-graduation life, there are a few things you might do. First off, fully understanding your loans and their amounts can be a priority during this time. Hopefully you’ve kept track of such loans during your schooling, but if not, well then now may be the time to start. Even just putting together a simple spreadsheet of your loan amounts and their associated interest rates and payment amounts can help you begin to see your complete debt picture. Doing this might even help you begin to pay these debts off quicker. By doing things like avoiding major purchases after college like a new vehicle, expensive furniture, vacations, and similar big ticket costs, you could instead be able to put this extra cash toward paying down your loans quicker.
By starting with higher interest rate loans first, you might be able to cut significantly into the amount of interest that you pay over time. Doing so could end up saving you extra hundreds or even thousands of dollars — depending upon the full amounts of your loans and their associated interest rates — over time; and then, once you have your loans paid down or off, you could consider some of those bigger purchases with a portion of the savings you’ve accumulated.
This article was written by Todd Garner for the team at http://www.onlineschoolsnetwork.com
The author is not a licensed educational professional or academic or financial advisor. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or educational advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.
© 2013, Todd Garner. All rights reserved.