The new year is right around the corner and if youâre like most people, youâve probably got a running list of resolutions to achieve and milestones to reach. If getting out of debt ranks near the top, nowâs the time to starting thinking about how youâre going to hit your goal. Developing a clear-cut action plan can get you that much closer to debt-free status in 2016.
1. Add up Your Debt
You canât start attacking your debt until you know exactly how much you owe. The first step to paying down your debt is sitting down with all of your statements and adding up every penny thatâs still outstanding. Once you know how deep in debt you are, you can move on to the next step.
2. Review Your Budget
A budget is a plan that sets limits on how you spend your money. If you donât have one, itâs a good idea to put a budget together as soon as possible. If you do have a budget, you can go over it line by line to find costs you can cut out. By eliminating fees and unnecessary expenses like cable subscriptions, youâll be able to use the money you save to pay off your debt.
3. Set Your Goals
At this point in the process, you should have two numbers: the total amount of money you owe and the amount you can put toward your debt payments each month. Using those two figures, you should be able determine how long itâs going to take you to pay off your mortgage, student loans, personal loans and credit card debt.
Letâs say you owe your credit card issuer $25,000. If you have $500 in your budget that you can use to pay off that debt each month, youâll be able to knock $6,000 off your card balance in a year. Keep in mind, however, that youâll still need to factor in interest to get an accurate idea of how the balance will shrink from one year to the next.
4. Lower Your Interest Rates
Interest is a major obstacle when youâre trying to get out of debt. If you want to speed up the payment process, you can look for ways to shave down your rates. If you have high-interest credit card debt, for instance, transferring the balances to a card with a 0% promotional period can save you some money and reduce the amount of time itâll take to get rid of your debt.
Refinancing might be worth considering if you have student loans, car loans or a mortgage. Just remember that completing a balance transfer or refinancing your debt isnât necessarily free. Credit card companies typically charge a 3% fee for balance transfers and if youâre taking out a refinance loan, you might be on the hook for origination fees and other closing costs.
5. Increase Your Income
Keeping a tight rein on your budget can go a long way. But thatâs not the only way to escape debt. Pumping up your paycheck in the new year can also help you pay off your loans and increase your disposable income.
Asking your boss for a raise will directly increase your earnings, but thereâs no guarantee that your supervisor will agree to your request. If youâre paid by the hour, you can always take on more hours at your current job. And if all else fails, you can start a side gig to bring in more money.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Having a plan to get out of debt in the new year wonât get you very far if youâre not 100% committed. Checking your progress regularly is a must, as is reviewing your budget and goals to make sure youâre staying on track.
Photo credit: Â©iStock.com/BsWei, Â©iStock.com/marekuliasz, Â©iStock.com/DragonImages
The post How to Escape Debt in 2016 appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.
More and more are choosing to attend college and work at the same time.
Whether you are working a part-time or a full-time job, it can be tough to balance both. There are many working students in college who are able to manage both, but there are also many who aren’t able to.
If you don’t balance them both correctly, it may lead to stress, lower grades, low-quality work being produced, and more.
No one wants that and I’m sure you don’t either.
Related: 21 Ways You Can Learn How To Save Money In College
This is supposed to be the time of your life where you are growing and changing, not feeling like you are drowning in everything that is going on around you.
There are ways to get around it and manage both successfully at the same time, though.
I took a full course load each and every semester, worked full-time, and took part in extracurricular activities. It was definitely hard and I won’t lie about that. However, sometimes a person doesn’t have a choice and has to do everything at once or maybe you are choosing to multi-task and you are wanting to better manage your time.
Related post: How I Graduated From College In 2.5 Years With 2 Degrees AND Saved $37,500
Whatever your reason may be, below are my tips for working college students. The tips below are what helped save me!
Carefully plan your class and work schedule.
My first tip for working college students is to carefully plan your class and work schedule.
Some students just choose whatever classes are offered. However, it is much wiser to carefully craft your school and work schedule so that everything flows together efficiently with minimal time wasted.
You can do this by researching into what classes are offered when and trying to eliminate any gap that may be in-between each class. Having an hour or two break between each class can quickly add up. Also, if you happen to have time off between classes, then using this time to do your homework and/or study can be a great use of time as well.
Related post: How I’m a Work-Life Balancing Master
Eliminate any time that may be wasted.
There are many time sucks that you may encounter each day. A minute here and a minute there may add up to a few hours wasted each day.
The time you save could be used towards earning more money at your job, studying, socializing, or whatever else it is that you need or want to do. For working college students, every minute is important.
There are many ways to eliminate any time wasters including:
- Cut down on your commute time. If you can find a job near your college campus then you can eliminate a lot of traveling time.
- Prep your meals ahead of time. If you can bulk make your meals instead of individually making each one, you will be able to save a lot of time.
- Be aware of how much time you spend on social media and TV. The average person wastes many, many hours on social media and watching TV. Cutting back on this may save you hours each day without you even realizing it.
Related post: 75 Ways To Make Extra Money
Separate yourself from distractions.
Working college students experience a lot of distractions.
Noise in the background, such as with a TV that is on or a party your roommate may be throwing, can distract you from what you need to be doing. If you are trying to study or do homework then you should try to find a quiet place to get work done.
You may want to close your bedroom door, hide the remote from yourself (trust me, this works!), go to the library, or something else.
Related: 16 Best Online Jobs For College Students
Have a to-do list and a set schedule.
Having a to-do list is extremely helpful for working students in college because you will know exactly what has to be done and by when. You will then have your responsibilities sitting there right in your face so that you will have to face reality.
Plus, I know that when I am stressed it can be easy to forget things, so having a to-do list eliminates any valuable minutes I may waste debating about whether I forgot to do something.
Working students in college need to be realistic.
While one person may be able to work like crazy and attend college at the same time, not everyone can do that.
If your grades are dropping, then you may want to analyze whether you should drop your hours at work or school. What is more important to you at this time and for your future?
With the tips above for working students in college, you’ll be able to rock both your job and your college classes at the same time. Don’t forget to fit in time for fun as well. Good luck!
Are you one of the many working college students out there? Why or why not?
The post How To Balance Working And Going To College appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.
All articles about college rankings should perhaps be read with a grain of salt and primarily through a lens of what matters most to individuals about the college experience and what theyâre hoping it will be an investment toward.
Prominent publications and people have conveyed a variety of views about whether college rankings matter:
The editor-in-chief of the Science Family of Journals said no in May 2020. âTo any logical scientific observer, the fine distinctions of where schools show up on this (U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges) list are statistically meaninglessâbut try telling that to a roomful of alumni or parents,â H. Holden Thorp wrote.
Ian Bogost, distinguished chair at Georgia Tech, wrote in The Atlantic in June 2020: âThe absurdity of a numerical ranking mechanism for colleges becomes apparent the moment you look at how U.S. News calculates it. The methodology reads like a Dungeons and Dragons character sheet: 8% for class size; 10% for high-school-class standing; 4.4% for first-to-second-year student retention, and so on.â
But just because the consensus leans toward ânoâ doesn’t mean it should be the last word on anyoneâs ultimate decision about where to go to school.
Even U.S. News & World Report says on its best-colleges website: âThe rankings provide a good starting point for students trying to compare schools. â¦ The best school for each student, experts say, is one that will most completely meet his or her needs, which go beyond academics.â
What Are the College Rankings?
There is no single, ultimate, etched-in-stone set of college rankings. All over the world, there are entities using a wide array of criteria to appraise universities.
Rather than expecting a âyesâ or ânoâ to the question of whether college rankings matter, it would be more beneficial to understand why “It depends” could be more appropriate.
If you’re aiming for an education from a prestigious school, and money is no objectâwell, first of all, congratulations and good luck.
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In March I offered some financial advice to Michelle, a Mint user who was struggling with debt, a lack of retirement savings and a bit of family financial drama amongst her siblings.
Michelle was anticipating a cash bonus from her company and wasnât sure if she should save the money or use it to relieve her debt.
I recommended a two-prong approach where she uses the cash to play savings catch-up in her retirement account and knock down some of her debt, which, at the time, included a $3,000 credit card balance and $52,000 in student loans.
Six months later, Iâve checked in with the 38-year-old real estate developer, to see if any of my advice was helpful and if sheâs experienced any shifts in her financial life.
We spoke via email:
Farnoosh: Have your finances have improved over the last 6 months since we last spoke? If so, what has been the biggest improvement?
Michelle: Yes. I’veÂ aggressively been contributing to my 401(k) â about 50% of my pay – and had hoped to reach the annual maximum of $18,000 by June, but looks like it will be more like October. I also received a $40,000 distribution from a project that I closed.
F: What aspects of your financial life still challenge you?
M: Investing for sure. I never know if I’m hoarding too much cash. I am truly traumatized from the financial downturn.Â I just joined an online investment platform, but it wasÂ also overwhelming. Currently I have $45,000 in a regular savings account that earns 1.5%.
Another challenge is not knowing whether to just bite the bullet and pay off my student loans or to continue to pay them monthly. Â I hate that I’m still paying loans 16 years after I graduated and it’s a source of frustration [andÂ embarrassment] for me. Â I owe $36,000. Often times I have an inner monologue about the pros and cons of just paying them off but then my trauma from 2008 kicks inâ¦and IÂ decide to keep my $45,000 nest egg safely where I can check the balance daily.
F: I recommended allocating $45,000 towards retirement. Was that helpful? What are some ways you’ve managed to save?
M: Yes, I recall you saying you recommended having a total of $100,000 towards retirement for a person my age. Currently, I have $51,000 in my 401(k), $35,000 in a traditional IRA and $17,000 in my Ellevest brokerageÂ account, so I’ve broken the $100,000 goal.
I did add a car note to my balance sheet. My old car suffered a total loss (major electrical failure due to a sunroof leak!) and the insurance gave me a check for $9,000.Â I used it all towards the new vehicle (aÂ certified used 2014 Acura) and I’m financing $18,000.
F: Your dad’s home was a source of financial stress, it seemed. Were you able to talk with your siblings and arrive at a better place with that?
M: My dad actually has passed since we last spoke. He passed in February and so his will went to probate. My siblings and I have decided not to make any decisions about the house for at least one year. Yes, this is kicking the can further down the street however, they recognize that I maintain the house and pay the real estate taxes and so they are not pressuring me to move or to sell.
The new deed has been recorded and the property is under all our names and so everyone seems ok with knowing that I can’t do anything regarding a sale or refinance unilaterally.
So, for now, I live rent free other than payingÂ utilities, miscellaneous maintenance on the houseÂ and real estate taxes quarterly. This, too, is helping me saveÂ aggressively.
Also, the new car note has replaced the hospice nurse contribution so I’m not feeling that my budget is overburdened with the new car.
I think ultimately I will buy out at least two of my siblings and stay in the house. Verbally they have expressed being okay with this.
Have a question for Farnoosh? You can submit your questions via Twitter @Farnoosh, Facebook or email at email@example.com (please note âMint Blogâ in the subject line).
Farnoosh Torabi is Americaâs leading personal finance authority hooked on helping Americans live their richest, happiest lives. From her early days reporting for Money Magazine to now hosting a primetime series on CNBC and writing monthly for O, The Oprah Magazine, sheâs become our favorite go-to money expert and friend.
The post Mint Money Audit 6-Month Check-In: How Did Michelle Allocate Her Windfall? appeared first on MintLife Blog.
It seems pretty normal to me now but people still drop their jaws when I tell them weâve paid over $45K on our loans in less than a year. We still have a year to go and most days I…
The post How We Paid Off Over $45K of Debt in 11 Months appeared first on Modern Frugality.
A consumer loan is a loan or line of credit that you receive from a lender.
Consumer loans can be auto loans, home mortgages, student loans, credit cards, equity loans, refinance loans, and personal loans.
This article will address each type of consumer loans.
Get Approved for personal loan today.
Types of consumer loans:
Consumer loans are divided into several kinds of categories. They include auto loans, student loans, home loans, personal loans and credit cards. Regardless of type, consumer loans have one thing in common: you have to repay the loan at some period of time.
Most people who are thinking of buying a car will apply for an auto loan. That is because buying a car is expensive.
In fact, it is the second largest expense you will ever make besides buying a house. And unless you intend to buy it with all cash, you will need a car loan.
So, car loans allow consumers to purchase a vehicle where they may not have the money upfront. With an auto loan, your payment is broken into smaller repayments that you will make over time every month.
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You can choose between a fixed or variable interest rate loan. But the most important thing is, whether you’re buying a new or used car, it’s important to compare loans to help you find the right auto loan for your needs.
Start comparing auto loans now!
Another, and most common, type of consumer loans are home loans. A home loan or mortgage is a loan a consumer receives for the purpose of buying a house.
Buying a house is, undoubtedly, the biggest expense you’ll ever make in your life. So, for the majority of consumers who want to purchase a house, they will need to borrow the money from a lender.
Home loans are paid back over a period of time. Those mortgages term are typically 15 to 30 years. They can be variable rate or fixed rate. A fixed rate means that your repayments are locked in for a fixed term.
Whereas a variable rate means that your repayments depend on the interest rate going up or down when the Federal Reserve changes the rate.
Over the loan’s term, you will pay back the principle amount of the loan plus interest. This makes it very important to compare home loans. Doing so allows you to save thousands of dollars on interest and fees.
The most common types of consumer loans are personal loans. That is because a personal loan can be used for a lot of things.
A personal loan allows a consumer to borrow a sum of money. The borrower agrees to repay the loan (plus interest) in installments over a period of time.
A personal loan is usually for a lower amount than a home loan or even an auto loan. People usually ask for $500 to $20,000 or more.
A personal loan can be secured (the consumer backs it with his or her personal assets) or unsecured (the consumer does not have to use his or her personal asset).
But most of them are unsecured, so getting approved for one will depend on your credit score, income and other factors.
But consumers use personal loans for different purposes. People take out personal loans to consolidate debts, such as credit card debts. You can use personal loans for a wedding, a holiday, to renovate your home, to buy a flt screen TV, etc…
Consumers use these types of loans to finance their education. There are two types of student loans: federal and private. The federal government funds a federal student loan.
Whereas, a private entity funds a private student loan. Generally, federal student loans are better because they come at a lower interest rate.
Believe it or not credit cards is a type of consumer loans and they are very common. Consumers use this type of loan to finance every day expenses with the promise of paying back the money with interest.
Unlike other loans, however, every time your pay with your credit card, you take a personal loan.
Credit cards usually carry a higher interest rate than the other loans. But you can avoid these interests if you pay your balance in full immediately.
Small Business Loans
Another type of consumer loans are small business loans. These loans are used specifically to create a business or to expand an already established business.
Banks and the Small Business Administration (SBA) usually provide these loans. Small Business Loans are different than personal loans, because you usually have to provide a collateral to get the loan.
The collateral serves as a way to protect the lender in case you default on the loan. In addition, you will also need to provide a business plan for the lenders to review.
Home Equity Loans
If you have your own home, you can borrow money against it. These types of consumer loans are called home equity loans. If you’ve paid off the mortgage on the home, you can borrow up to the full value of the home.
Vice versa, if you’ve paid half of the mortgage on the home, you can borrow half of the value of the house. You can use a home equity loan for several purposes like you would with a personal loan.
But most consumers use this type of loan to renovate their house. One disadvantage of this type of loan, however, is that you can lose your house in case of a default, because your house is used as a collateral for the loan.
Loan refinancing is a basically taking a new loan to replace an existing one. But you get this loan specifically either to refinance your existing mortgage or to refinance your student loans or a personal loan.
Consumers usually refinance in order to receive a lower interest rate or to reduce the amount of monthly payments they are making on their existing loans.
However, reducing to a lower payment will lengthen the time to pay off the loan and you will accrue interest as a result.
Consumers also use this type of loan to pay their existing loans off faster. However, some mortgage refinancing loans come with prepayment penalties. So do you research in order to avoid that extra charge.
The bottom line is consumer loans can help you with your goals. However, understanding different loan types is important so that you can choose the best one that fits your particular situation.
So do you need a consumer loan?
Get Approved for personal loan today.
Speak with the Right Financial Advisor
If you have questions about your finances, you can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is making more money, paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning for retirement, saving, etc). Find one who meets your needs with SmartAssetâs free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.
The post What Is A Consumer Loan? appeared first on GrowthRapidly.