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Lessons in Managing Student Loans

[May 3, 2007.]


nfortunately, it's easy to find yourself mired in student loan debt once you embark on your college career. Because of the high cost of tuition, housing, food, clothing, books, and other supplies, you may be tempted to rely almost exclusively on student loans to finance your education. However, once you graduate from college, you may end up facing a "financial Armageddon", with your student loan debt robbing you of the money you need for day-to-day living expenses.

If you're concerned about the interest you’re paying on multiple student loans, you might consider student loan consolidation. That way, you can roll multiple payments into one manageable payment each month. In addition to saving you the hassle of writing multiple checks, such a maneuver can also save you money.

Of course, there are other ways that you can save money—money which you can then apply to your student loan debt. For instance, you might consider making a pledge to yourself not to buy anything on credit. That way, you can avoid costly credit card interest and possible late fees.

Another sure-fire technique for saving money is avoiding the urge to "reward" yourself with material goods when you've had a bad day. When you're feeling stressed out, consider a walk in the woods, a trip to your local library, or a game of Frisbee in the park. Yet another effective money-saving technique is to commit to living on a budget. You’re likely to be amazed at how much money you’ll save once you hold yourself accountable for your spending habits. You also may find that your urge to spend will decrease over time as you begin to see how much progress you're making in whittling down your student loan debt.

You might also find that you can save a great deal of money by spending more time at home and limiting the nights you spend on the town. While socializing can be a great deal of fun, it can also be quite expensive. Consider inviting your friends over to your place for a "game night" rather than going out to dinner and a nightclub. You might be surprised that you can have just as much fun staying in as going out


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