Ways to Pay Student Loans Off: Reduce College Student Loan Debt at an Affordable Rate

Excluding PLUS loans, the average college student loan debt was $23,186 amongst graduating seniors. Identifying ways to pay student loans off more affordably and/or quickly can help to alleviate much of the pressure brought on by a university education. Graduates should avoid defaulting on college loan debt because it will mean that the federal measures that are designed to help will no longer be a available. Worse still, a number of punitive measures can be enforced against the individual.

How to Pay Student Loans Off

Eliminating college student loan debt isn’t something that can be achieved quickly because of the sheer amount of money involved. Student loan bankruptcy isn’t an option unless that person has a permanent disablement that restricts their long term earning potential. However, the new income-based repayment plan could help to alleviate much of the pressure brought on by unaffordable student loan debt repayments. This now forms a viable alternative to deferral and forbearance where a graduate may be able to delay paying back the money they owe for a period of up to 3 years. Others could benefit from a student loan forgiveness program or may wish to consolidate student loan debt to simplify their finances.

Income Based College Student Loan Debt Repayment

Since the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 came into force on the 1 July 2009, it is now possible to make an income-based repayment to pay student loans off at an affordable rate. The 2009 poverty line income in the U.S. is $10,830. The graduate will then pay 15% of the difference between their income and the poverty line income over a 12 month period. For example, if the graduate earns $27,500, he/she will pay just $208.38 per month. Once a period of 25 years has elapsed, any remaining college student loan debt will be written off. Under current IRS rules, this will be taxable.

Pay Off Student Loans with a Forgiveness Program

In order to encourage graduates to enter fundamentally important public sector services, a number of student loan forgiveness programs have been introduced. They allow someone who enters a career in certain teaching and nursing jobs to write off a fixed percentage of debt for each year of service. It will normally pay off student loans over a 5 year period. Unfortunately, the recession has meant that many of these programs have been scaled back, but it is still well worth looking into.

Consolidate Student Loans

College student loan debt isn’t always as well organised as might be anticipated. There are regularly multiple accounts, each requiring a separate payment. Consolidation can help a graduate pay student loans off more quickly and/or improve affordability. However, turning federal debt into a bank loan is rarely a wise move as the APR is lower. The income based repayment plan offers a better alternative for borrowers.

Loan Has Unintentionally Turned into a Four-Letter Word

How fast things can change. About a year ago, small business investors, potential home buyers, future college students, and seekers of new automobiles would use the word loan in conversations with their family members and friends. We all knew that a loan would have to be paid back over the course of time. We even knew how important our FICO scores were to attaining a loan. Then came 2008 and things began to change. How bad did it get?
Look at it from a consumers point of view. Many start losing their homes, (not to mention jobs). Credit availability is bogged down for millions. Retirement accounts, that people sweat so hard far, drop drastically or they are washed out completely. The same people, that are dumped on, are then asked to bailout the same banks that told us, we aren’t good enough to give lower rate interest loans to refinance our homes.

Unlike the banks that control our livelihoods, we had no control over the loan bailout (our tax money amp; grandchildren’s future). So simply put, many of us got hit with a double whammy. But, the story doesn’t end there. In the past month, credit card companies have started raising rates. Some rates have even doubled for some.

One has to wonder, if the credit card rate increase is because of the mortgage rate decrease. To his credit, President Obama met with 14 of the top credit card CEO’s this past week. He basically told them to forget the higher rate increases and extra charges that are added to our monthly credit card bill. This is only a few of the problems that credit consumers are faced with. Some credit card companies have offered cash, if people opt to close their accounts. Some people even had their accounts frozen. You can pay down, but not use your card.

From the consumers point of view, we are being drained now and our grandchildren are being drained in the future.

Student loans, mortgage loans, automobile financing all have been hit hard. FICO rates for loan approvals jumped. Worst than that is the fact that, if you constantly check your rate, it hurts your chances. It makes it look like other loan companies are checking you out , but their is no new activity in your account. This looks like rejection or loan applications.

I know that we can not put all the blame on the banks. Many of us have made bad choices. Many of us were lead to believe, that things will work out if we accept the ARM loan for our house. Maybe we should have known that things were headed the wrong way when gas jumped as high as it did.

Some loan companies are stalling for time. There have been some homeowners that have wanted to adjust or refinance their home loans. However, they are getting the run around from these companies. I have seen individuals interviewed on CNN and CSPAN and they can’t get companies to budge when it comes to refinancing.

It is no wonder that the American citizen is upset. Anyway, the word loan use to be a stabilizing word that we could use to fullfil our dreams. Now it seems to have become just another four letter word.

When Your Credit Card Is Declined: What to Do When Your Card Is Rejected at Check Out

You’ve finally found the perfect big screen TV at the right price. You pull out your credit card to pay, and then it happens. The cashier gives you that uncomfortable look. She makes a quick call. After what seems like an interminable amount of time comes the verdict: your card is denied. Now what? Do you put the TV back? Do you call the credit card issuer?

What to Do When Your Credit Card Is Declined:

  • Call the credit card company immediately. But first do a mental checklist. Did you make your last payment on time? Are you over your limit? Even if one or both are true, all is not lost. When you get a credit card representative on the phone, explain your situation (out of earshot of the cashier.) If you are over your credit limit by a small amount, ask for a temporary extension. If you are a good customer, the card issuer will often authorize the purchase. If you are late on your payment, that may be a different story. In that case, ask the representative how much credit they would be willing to extend. You might then be able to split the purchase between two cards.
  • Ask the cashier to hold your item at least until the end of the day. At that point consider your options. You could (a.) make an online or phone payment to the card issuer, or (b.) use another credit card, or (c.) pay cash. Either way, you need to get current on your credit card payments fast. And maybe a big screen TV is not what you should be buying right now.
  • If you are not near your credit card limit and you have been making payments on time, take a look at your recent activity. Often the credit card company will deny a purchase if they think someone else is using your card. If you are making a lot of little purchases, uncharacteristic of your normal spending habits, or if you just went out of town and used your credit card frequently for unusual purchases, this could flag the card issuer. These are measures that are designed to protect you against identity theft. So all it takes to rectify the situation is a quick call to the company and they should be able to unfreeze your credit immediately.

Whatever the reason your credit card was denied, one thing you can’t get rid of is the embarrassment factor. The solution: get out of the store quickly!

Credit Cards that Give You a Discount on Gas: Save Money on Fuel by Choosing the Right Credit Card

At one time, consumers were clamoring for credit cards that gave you airline miles as a bonus. Now, instead of reaching for the sky, people just want to hit the road for less. So credit cards that pay you even a little bit back at the pump are worth their weight in plastic.

Credit Cards that Give You a Discount on Gas:

  • BP Visa With this card, you’ll receive a 5% rebate on all BP purchases, plus 2% back on certain dining and travel merchants. And 1% back on almost all other purchases. Remember, the 5% discount isn’t just on gas. So if you’re low on milk, head into the BP store and compare prices with your local grocery store.
  • Chase Freedom Card You’ll receive 3% back on your top three spending categories. So if you buy a lot of gas among other things, this card is worth it. Also, when you accumulate $200 in rebates, you’ll get a check for $250. But you need to call and request the money.
  • Discover Open Road You’ll get 5% cash back on gas and automotive maintenance purchases, plus up to 1% back on everything else. You can increase your rewards, even double them sometimes, if you request your cash back in the form of gift cards. The choices are endless. They include book stores, restaurants, florists, clothing retailers and travel services. The merchants are listed on Discover Card’s web site. It’s a good idea to accumulate those gift cards and use them as presents for the holidays.

Other Ways to Save at the Pump:

  • Take Public Transportation. That may seem like obvious advice, but the incentives to take the bus, subway or light rail are even stronger. Some companies are now paying part of their employees’ transportation costs if workers use public transportation or take part in a vanpool.
  • Eat at home. You’ll not only conserve gas, but you’ll be amazed at how much you can save by cooking yourself. Get creative! Try new recipes, cook with what’s on sale, and share quality family time together.

Remember, cutting out the small trips add up to bigger savings when it comes to fuel costs. If you tally up all the “quick” trips you made to the grocery store, or coffee shop, you will be surprised to learn how much those errands run up your monthly budget. And if you make one trip to the grocery store a week instead of three or four, you’ll end up buying less food.