Education &amp; Training http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12010/0 en-US Should You Borrow Student Loan Money From Amazon Prime? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-borrow-student-loan-money-from-amazon-prime <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-borrow-student-loan-money-from-amazon-prime" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_thinking_pencil_86188509.jpg" alt="Woman borrowing student loan money from Amazon Prime" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Amazon Prime has several money-saving benefits for students, including discounted student memberships and textbook rentals. Now, Amazon Prime is offering discounted student loans to its list of perks.</p> <p>Hold up &mdash; Amazon is selling student loans right alongside a <a href="http://amzn.to/2b3wvM0">yodeling pickle</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/2bzCWDg">unicorn meat</a>? Is that even legal?</p> <p>Amazon is not the actual lender of these loans. Instead, Amazon is partnering with Wells&nbsp;<a href="https://welcome.wf.com/amazonstudent/">Fargo</a> to offer Student Prime members loans at a discounted rate of 0.5%.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-amazon-prime-perks-youve-forgotten-to-use?ref=seealso">7 Amazon Prime Perks You've Forgotten to Use</a></p> <h2>Is There a Catch?</h2> <p>Both Amazon and Wells Fargo are for-profit businesses that are continually looking for creative strategies to increase profits. It was a smart move for both companies, since Amazon will be able to use this perk to increase student prime membership to $49 a year, while also gaining free media coverage. Wells Fargo also benefits from being connected to the largest e-commerce business and its loyal customers.</p> <p>The partnership will allow the bank to have better access to student consumers who can be targeted for many banking products. Overall, it is a win-win partnership for both companies, but will these loans actually benefit borrowers?</p> <h2>Are Student Loans Through Amazon a Good Deal?</h2> <p>Don't get too distracted by the discount Amazon is offering. The loan is still a private student loan through Wells Fargo. Private loans are not eligible for debt forgiveness programs like many federal loans, and sometimes federal loans even have better rates.</p> <p>Private student loans shouldn't be your first choice when seeking to finance a college education. Students should exercise all of their options before driving into debt, including the following:</p> <ul> <li>Federal aid through FAFSA;</li> <li>Scholarships;</li> <li>Grants;</li> <li>Accomplishing the first two years of their degree at a community college;</li> <li>Choosing a state university rather than a private university;</li> <li>Work-study programs;</li> <li>Employment tuition reimbursement programs;</li> <li>Paid internships.</li> </ul> <p>After all of these options are exhausted, then it is best to apply for federal student loans, which have more flexible payment options after graduation. Of course, federal loans have limits on how much a student can borrow, which is why many students turn to private loans.</p> <h2>The Problem With Amazon's Student Loans</h2> <p>Don't be blinded by a discounted interest rate. The 0.5% discount is subtracted from Wells Fargo's usual rates, which are not the lowest among private lenders.</p> <p>Many credit unions will offer discounted rates for being members and enrolling into autoplay, so if private loans are something you are considering, shop around before settling for the Wells Fargo loan.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-amazon-deal-hacks-you-may-not-already-know?ref=seealso">16 Amazon Deal Hacks You May Not Already Know</a></p> <h2>What You Need to Know About Private Student Loans</h2> <p>After graduation, many uncontrollable issues can come up. For example, graduates can struggle getting a job, make less than they expect, or even have a period of illness or disability that does not make work possible. Graduates with federal loans are granted forbearance or deferment. Federal loans can also be eligible for income-based repayment plans to make the monthly payments affordable for each borrower.</p> <p>Many private lenders have forbearance programs in place for cases of unemployment or disability, but acceptance to the program is dependent on the lender. Also, most private lenders will limit the duration of forbearance for unemployment and some might even charge forbearance &quot;fees.&quot; And income-based repayment programs are limited to federal loans.</p> <p>Is foregoing these benefits a risk you're willing to take?</p> <p><em>What do you think of Amazon and Wells Fargo's partnership to offer discounted student loans?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-borrow-student-loan-money-from-amazon-prime">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-college-students-can-save-money-before-class-starts">8 Ways College Students Can Save Money Before Class Starts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-you-didnt-save-for-your-childs-college">What to Do If You Didn&#039;t Save for Your Child&#039;s College</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-trapped-by-these-higher-education-scams">Don&#039;t Get Trapped by These Higher Education Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them">The 10 Most Common Financial Aid Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training Amazon amazon prime college private loans student loans students Wells Fargo Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1777930 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Travel When You Have Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-travel-when-you-have-student-loans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-travel-when-you-have-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_backpack_travel_87628739.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to travel while paying student loans" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Student loans are a reality for millions of recent graduates and even some of us who have been out of school for a while. Americans alone have <a href="https://commonbond.co/blog/average-student-loan-debt-and-student-loan-refinancing/">1.36 trillion dollars</a> of student loan debt. That's second only to U.S. mortgage debt.</p> <p>Don't worry! There are plenty of ways to manage your student debt and continue doing what you love. With these tips, you can get out and spend your time traveling while making all of your payments on time!</p> <h2>1. Take a Look at Your Loans Before You Go</h2> <p>Getting ready for a big trip is actually a very good time to re-evaluate your student loans (and the rest of your finances), especially because it has the potential to save you a lot of money. By <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-refinance-your-student-loan">refinancing your student loans</a> you could save thousands. That's because you may be able to get a better APR, and you can also change the terms of your loan so that your monthly payment feels more manageable.</p> <p>Even a small difference in the interest rate can make a big difference over the time that you're paying off your loan. With <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans">online lenders like CommonBond</a>, you can get an APR starting as low as 2.14%. It only takes minutes to fill out the application, and you're under no obligation to change your loan once you get your free quote.</p> <p>That cash you're saving can easily go into your travel fund!</p> <h2>2. Consider Consolidating Your Loans</h2> <p>This second tip is closely linked to the first, since in the process of refinancing your loans, you may also want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-s-the-difference-between-student-loan-refinancing-and-consolidation">consolidate your loans</a>. This means that if you have multiple student loans, instead of paying, let's say, three separate bills every month, you can combine all of your existing loans into one.</p> <p>Consolidating your loans will help to simplify the payment process for you and reduce the time you spend every month administering and worrying about your loan payments.</p> <p>This is an especially important point for people planning to travel, since you're already going to have a lot of logistics to keep straight. The simpler you can keep your loan payments, the better.</p> <h2>3. Put Things in Perspective &mdash; And Into Your Budget!</h2> <p>It can be paralyzing to think about the total amount of money that you owe, especially if you know you're going to be spending the next 20 years of your life paying it off.</p> <p>It's more helpful to put things in perspective, so once you've refinanced your loans and you have a manageable monthly payment, treat that like you would any other monthly bill that you have to pay.</p> <p>Take it on a month-to-month basis and you won't feel as limited by the amount of money that you owe. When you're making your travel budget, simply factor in the monthly payment that you'll be making into your overall budget for the time you'll be traveling, and set aside that money before you go. That way, you won't feel like you have to scramble for funds at the last minute.</p> <h2>4. Start a Travel Fund</h2> <p>Figure out how much money you can commit to setting aside for travel every month. Then you can set up an automatic transfer into a special bank account that is dedicated just to travel expenses. Even if you're only putting in a few hundred dollars a month, you'll be surprised at how fast these funds can add up over time.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-college-students?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=travel">Best Credit Cards for College Students</a></p> <h2>5. Create a Realistic Budget</h2> <p>You should think about how you like to travel and be honest with yourself. Frugal travel is not for everyone, so you should consider what your priorities are; maybe you will be just as satisfied going on a shorter trip and putting more emphasis on higher-end accommodations and fancy restaurant meals.</p> <p>If these types of comforts or luxuries don't matter to you, you can probably get by with a smaller budget, but on a longer trip. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/savor-your-trip-and-save-big-with-these-5-slow-travel-tips">Save Big With These Slow Travel Tips</a>)</p> <p>Budgeting is all about striking a balance that works best for you while being realistic about how much you can afford to spend on your trip. By weighing these decisions before you leave, you'll eliminate a lot of money-related stress so that you can just enjoy your trip, knowing that you've already budgeted in the funds to cover your student loans.</p> <h2>6. Earn Extra Money for Travel</h2> <p>You're probably already getting excited to go, so if you want to speed up the process you can always consider earning a little extra money to cover your travel expenses.</p> <p>It's up to you what skills you have and what kind of work you enjoy, but maybe you want to consider getting a second part-time job and putting the money you earn right into your travel account!</p> <p>Depending on your professional skill set, you can also consider taking on some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">freelance gigs</a>, since they can be very flexible and add a little something extra to your normal paycheck. While you'll have less free time, this also means less time to be out spending money which can be a big help when you're trying to save money. There are also ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-while-you-travel">make money while you&rsquo;re traveling</a>.</p> <h2>Don't Let Debt Stop You</h2> <p>There's no reason to let student debt paralyze you, and there are simple steps you can take if you're passionate about traveling. It will take a bit of good strategy, combined with some hard work and a proper execution of your plan, but if you're willing to put in the time you can really reap the rewards on your next trip (and even at home).</p> <p><a href="http://www.inklingafar.com/"><em>Amanda Gokee</em></a><em>, a writer at </em><a href="http://www.goatsontheroad.com/"><em>Goats On The Road</em></a><em> contributed to this article and helped with some student loan specific information.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-ways-to-travel-when-you-have-student-loans&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%20Ways%20to%20Travel%20When%20You%20Have%20Student%20Loans.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20to%20Travel%20When%20You%20Have%20Student%20Loans" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Ways%20to%20Travel%20When%20You%20Have%20Student%20Loans.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-travel-when-you-have-student-loans">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans">Don&#039;t Ignore These 4 Things Before Refinancing Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans">3 Private Lenders That Can Really Save You Money on Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-trapped-by-these-higher-education-scams">Don&#039;t Get Trapped by These Higher Education Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-s-the-difference-between-student-loan-refinancing-and-consolidation">What’s the Difference Between Student Loan Refinancing and Consolidation?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-student-loan-refinancing-can-save-you-big">4 Times Student Loan Refinancing Can Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Travel APR budgeting consolidation debt refinancing strategy student loans travel funds trips Mon, 22 Aug 2016 10:00:13 +0000 Nick Wharton 1775891 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Freshman Shopping Tips to Cut College Costs http://www.wisebread.com/9-freshman-shopping-tips-to-cut-college-costs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-freshman-shopping-tips-to-cut-college-costs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_students_together_76179069.jpg" alt="College freshman using shopping tips to cut costs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Strapped for cash as a freshman? If not now, you will be soon. That goes double for your parents, who are likely footing a portion of the bill &mdash; from tuition to room and board to all the living essentials you'll need when you move into the dorm. To make the transition from high school to college just a little easier on the wallet for both you and your obligatory benefactors, here are a few ways to cut costs as you head into the first year of university.</p> <h2>1. Don't Buy What You Already Own</h2> <p>At the beginning of every school year, students get a list of suggested (and some mandatory) supplies that they'll need for the year. The good news for you is that you've been in school for 12 years now, and you probably already have more than a few things on the freshman list. That means you don't need to spring for new items if the ones you already own are in good condition.</p> <p>&quot;The extensive list of recommended dorm room essentials will make your head spin and your wallet disappear,&quot; money-saving expert Andrea Woroch quips. &quot;While some suggested items like 'bedding to fit an extra long twin mattress' are necessities, items like towels, hangers, and pillows can likely be packed from home.&quot;</p> <p>Also, use common sense and identify items you can cross off the list indefinitely, like a drying rack for laundry (you can hang your clothes around the room) and any stand-alone device that's also in your phone: alarm clock, camera, calculator, MP3, etc.</p> <h2>2. Split Big-Ticket Costs With Your Roommate(s)</h2> <p>If you want a few conveniences of home in your dorm room &mdash; like a fridge or microwave &mdash; considering going halfsies with your roommate(s). Contact your roommates ahead of time to discuss those big-ticket purchases that will be shared among everyone, and how to effectively split the cost. Consider downloading a bill-splitting app to simplify this process. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-modern-ways-to-split-the-bill?ref=seealso">5 Modern Ways to Split the Bill</a>)</p> <h2>3. Stock Up on Penny Deals</h2> <p>&quot;When it comes to basic school supplies like pens, notebooks, folders, and sticky notes, it's best to search for penny deals offered during the back-to-school shopping rush and watch for rotating discounts every week,&quot; Woroch suggests.</p> <p>I've seen these types of deals at several popular retailers lately, including Target, Wal-Mart, and Staples, though they're not limited to these stores. Hit them at the right time and you'll walk away with much of what you'll need for classes &mdash; pens, pencils, notebooks, and more &mdash; for just few bucks. You also can access circulars online or via the&nbsp;<a href="https://flipp.com/">Flipp app</a> for quick comparison.</p> <h2>4. Treat Your Old Wardrobe Like It's Brand-new</h2> <p>Everybody loves to go back-to-school clothing shopping. Heck, I'm 35-years-old and I still use this time of year as an excuse to freshen up my wardrobe. If you're on a tight budget, however, consider that your existing wardrobe will be brand-new to everyone at college since nobody has ever seen you before. If you <em>must</em> add a few new pieces to your closet, shop end-of-season sales, clearance sections, or pop into a few secondhand shops (some of which can be found online today).</p> <h2>5. Eat Where It's Free or Discounted</h2> <p>When I was in college, my friends and I had a propensity for buying late-night pizza or bingeing on junk food in our rooms all hours of the day. The problem with this strategy (besides its quick contribution to your Freshman 15) is that it costs a lot of money.</p> <p>To trim some of this expense, eat most of your meals in your cafeteria and take small items back to your room for later, like fruit, bagels, chips, or fixings for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Or, if you're super stealthy, bring an empty food storage container and confiscate heartier meals, like chicken fingers, salads, and your other favorites to scarf down when the cafeteria is closed. If you do plan to go out to eat, identify nights that are easy on your wallet, including half-price apps at happy hour, student nights, and special dish night, like 25-cent wing night or the like.</p> <h2>6. Rent Your Textbooks Instead of Buying Them</h2> <p>Before you buy your textbooks outright, I want you to ask yourself one question: What will you do with that book when the course is over? Your answer is nothing &mdash; except sell it back for a mere fraction of the price you originally paid. And that's if you can even sell it back at all. Publishers are really great at &quot;updating&quot; textbooks and discontinuing previous editions so that the school can require you to purchase the latest version. Because what're you going to do, drop out of school? Uh huh &mdash; they've got you right where they want you.</p> <p>Alas, two can play that game. Woroch explains.</p> <p>&quot;It's no surprise that textbooks represent the biggest line item in your college budget,&quot; she says. &quot;The National Association of College Stores (NACS) estimates the average student spends $655 on these study essentials every year. To save big bucks, skip the overpriced campus store and head straight to an online textbook rental site such as&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chegg.com/textbooks">Chegg</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.campusbookrentals.com/">Campus Book Rentals</a> to save over 70%. To ensure you're not slapped with any fees at the end of the semester, keep the book in pristine condition and avoiding highlighting or marking up the margins.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Go Grocery Shopping in Groups</h2> <p>Need to stock up on groceries? Get a group together &mdash; which is especially helpful for those who don't have vehicles on campus &mdash; and charge a couple bucks per person for gas. At the store, buy the things you'd like for yourself, but go in equally for items that may be shared by the group, like cereal, coffee, chips, and ramen.</p> <h2>8. Use Your Student ID Everywhere You Go</h2> <p>One of the best parts of being a student is using the student discount wherever it's available. I kept my student ID for years after college, and that granted me savings on clothing, movies, food, electronics, and more for years well past its prime. Of course, you should take advantage of it while you're in college, too. As a general rule of thumb, before you purchase anything anywhere, ask if they offer a student discount. Many establishments do, and that simple question will keep more money in your pocket.</p> <h2>9. Search for Open Box or Refurbished Electronics</h2> <p>In a recent survey, the National Retail Federation found that many colleges and universities require incoming and current students to bring their own computers, so a new laptop is likely on the top of your shopping needs. Instead of investing in the newest and most expensive model, search for open box or refurbished options. Best Buy typically has open box items set up on their salesroom floor, while online vendors such as&nbsp;<a href="http://www.newegg.com/Open-Box/Store">Newegg</a> have webpages dedicated to these lower-priced options with discounts on open box laptops ranging from 10% to 40%. Apple also offers refurbished MacBooks and iPads, so always check these options before you buy.</p> <p><em>Are you heading into your freshman year of college, or have a kid who's starting their freshman year? How are you saving on supplies and other essentials? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-freshman-shopping-tips-to-cut-college-costs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-every-college-student-should-try">8 Money-Saving Hacks Every College Student Should Try</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-college-students-can-save-money-before-class-starts">8 Ways College Students Can Save Money Before Class Starts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/upromise-world-mastercard-credit-card-review">Upromise World MasterCard Credit Card Review</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-borrow-student-loan-money-from-amazon-prime">Should You Borrow Student Loan Money From Amazon Prime?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-places-to-buy-or-rent-textbooks">20 Places to Buy or Rent Textbooks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Shopping back-to-school classes clothes college discounts dorms freshmen roommates students supplies textbooks Thu, 18 Aug 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1773246 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Ignore These 4 Things Before Refinancing Your Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/beautiful_woman_thinking_74303951.jpg" alt="Woman not ignoring things before refinancing student loans" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The average American with student loans has approximately $30,000 in debt, and makes a monthly payment of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2014/06/19-typical-student-loan-debt-akers">nearly $250</a>. With interest rates sometimes reaching as high as 8%, many people struggle to bring down the balance. One popular solution is to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-refinance-your-student-loan">refinance your loans</a>, getting a lower interest rate or lower monthly payment with a different repayment term. For some people, this can be an excellent way to make progress on eliminating their debt. For others, it can be a short-term option that ends up causing more problems later on.</p> <h2>What Is Refinancing?</h2> <p>If you have federal or private student loan debt at a high interest rate, you can refinance your debt by taking out a new loan from a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-every-college-student-must-know-about-private-student-loans">private lender</a> to cover your entire current balance. You use that money to pay off your current debt, then make payments at a lower rate or different repayment term on the new loan.</p> <p>If you have high-interest debt, refinancing can be a way to save you thousands over the course of your loans. When you are researching your options, it is important to look at offers from multiple lenders to ensure you are getting the most competitive interest rate and terms. <a href="https://lendedu.com/">LendEDU</a> is a site that allows you to compare multiple offers in one place to get the most attractive loan that meets your needs.</p> <h2>4&nbsp;Factors to Consider Before Refinancing</h2> <p>While refinancing student loans is a good decision for many people, there are factors you need to consider before you sign any agreement.</p> <h3>1. Interest Rates</h3> <p>When refinancing your debt, you will have the option of choosing a variable or fixed interest rate. Variable rates as low as 2% are available. However, they can change every year and can go as high as 8% to 10%. While fixed rates are often slightly higher than the initial variable interest rate, (usually they are about 3%), that interest rate is guaranteed not to increase over the course of your debt. If you have a small amount you can pay off quickly, a variable rate can make sense. However, if you need five to 10 years to pay off your loans, a fixed rate is more secure.</p> <h3>2. Deferment Options</h3> <p>If you have federal student loans, you have the ability to defer your debt if you run into economic hardship, such as if you lose your job. When you refinance with a private lender, you may end up losing that benefit since some companies do not offer deferment options. Make sure you understand their policies regarding economic hardships to ensure you're prepared for the worst-case scenario.</p> <h3>3. Loan Terms</h3> <p>When you refinance, your monthly payment can be cut in half. While that looks great on paper and it frees up money in your budget, you actually will end up paying much more over the length of your loan. To get the payment so low, your repayment term is extended from the standard 10 years to 20 or more. Over the duration of your loan, you can end up paying thousands more in interest. If you opt for an extended repayment term, assess your budget every year. As you move up the corporate ladder and get a better salary, you can increase your monthly payments and pay the debt off more quickly, saving yourself money.</p> <h3>4. Prepayment Penalties</h3> <p>Some private lenders have prepayment penalties, meaning you will owe a fee if you pay off your new loan early. In some cases, the fee may be small, but for some companies, the cost might be prohibitive. Make sure you check if there are any prepayment penalties ahead of time.</p> <p>For some, refinancing student loans can be a great way to save money and pay down the debt faster. It can be a good strategy to get a lower interest rate or to get a more affordable monthly cost. By considering these four factors, you can ensure you are informed and empowered to make the best decision for you.</p> <p><em>Have you refinanced student loans? Has it worked out for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans">3 Private Lenders That Can Really Save You Money on Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cancel-student-loans-to-save-and-receive-an-interest-free-120-day-loan">Cancel Student Loans to Save — and Receive an Interest-Free 120-Day Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-student-loan-refinancing-can-save-you-big">4 Times Student Loan Refinancing Can Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-travel-when-you-have-student-loans">6 Ways to Travel When You Have Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Education & Training deferment interest rates penalties private lenders refinancing repayment student loans terms Thu, 18 Aug 2016 10:00:16 +0000 Kat Tretina 1774333 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money-Saving Hacks Every College Student Should Try http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-every-college-student-should-try <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-saving-hacks-every-college-student-should-try" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/college_students_happy_87827713.jpg" alt="College students learning money-saving hacks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Don't let the costs of college loom over your head. Use these seven financial hacks to cruise through college and save thousands off your overall experience.</p> <h2>1. Rent Your Textbook Through Amazon</h2> <p>No need to buy every textbook, especially with <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Rent-Textbooks/b?ie=UTF8&amp;node=5657188011">Amazon's rental textbook program</a>. My sister rents all of her textbooks through Amazon and saves $50&ndash;$100 off each book. For example, she rented <em>Multicultural Education in a Pluralistic Society</em> (9th Edition) for a recent class for $37.45. The new price of the book is $138.47 and the used price is $67.48. Amazon Prime covered shipping costs.</p> <h2>2. Research Book Costs Before Enrolling</h2> <p>When you first start taking college classes, you will have more flexibility over which classes you can choose, especially when you need to fulfill the GE requirement of your degree. Choose your class based on textbook and material fee cost, if possible. I signed up for a psychology class in my freshman year, but the textbook was written by the teacher and would cost $190. Since there was not a way find the book used, I dropped the class within the acceptable time period and took another class that fulfilled the requirement and had $20&ndash;$30 in book costs.</p> <p>Often you can borrow the textbook from the university library. At my school, the recent edition textbooks were only lent out for in-library use for an hour, but that was usually enough time to finish my work.</p> <p>See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-part-time-jobs-that-offer-college-benefits?ref=seealso">8 Part-Time Jobs That Offer College Benefits</a></p> <h2>3. Piggyback Your Degree With Community College Courses</h2> <p>I graduated debt-free, and one of the major things that helped me do that was the abundance of community college courses I was able to take. My university allowed 70 community college transfer units. With the help of online classes, I was able to enroll in two local community colleges that increased the type of classes that I could transfer to my degree.</p> <p>I simply looked up agreements between my university and my two local community colleges and took as many classes as possible. One semester, I was enrolled and taking classes at three colleges at once. This also allowed me to take more than 18 units, which allowed me to finish my degree in three years, instead of four. All of this saved me five semesters at my university, which means I saved roughly $20,000.</p> <h2>5. Test Out of Classes</h2> <p>Research the possibility of testing out of some college classes. This can help you avoid boring and costly introduction classes that you already are knowledgeable in. The&nbsp;<a href="https://clep.collegeboard.org/">College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)</a> is accepted by over 2,900 colleges. The CLEP site allows you to search which colleges allow which test, though you will have to find out the maximum amount of credit your university allows through CLEP. The test costs $80, but military personnel may be eligible to receive funding for the cost of CLEP exams.</p> <h2>6. Check Out Local Thrift Stores</h2> <p>Shop at thrift stores that are near your university for a better chance to find apparel with your college's logo on it, as well as still-relevant textbooks. You can score both inexpensively, and either keep them for yourself, or sell them for more online or to other students via sale fliers on the campus' public bulletin board.</p> <h2>7. Become a Resident Assistant (RA)</h2> <p>Movies usually portray resident assistants as overbearing college students who have been on campus for almost a decade. However, the job can be fun and the free rent is definitely a perk that will save you $8,000 to $12,000 a year. Know that these positions are usually competitive, so make your application stand out, and volunteer for other on-campus events to show you have school spirit.</p> <h2>8. Get on a Family Plan</h2> <p>There are many different family plans that you can share to save money. The most popular family plans are offered through cellphone providers. Being on a family plan rather than on your own individual plan can save you $50&ndash;$100 a month off your cellphone bill.</p> <p>Family plans are not just for cellphones, though. You can save money by sharing TV streaming, Amazon Prime, Uber, and more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-family-plans-can-save-you-tons?ref=seealso">How Family Plans Can Save You Tons</a>)</p> <p>College is expensive, but that doesn't mean you have to drown in debt to get your degree. Living frugally and minimizing living costs in college will make it easier to once you graduate.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite ways to save money while in college? Already a graduate? Share your experience of frugal college living.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-every-college-student-should-try">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-freshman-shopping-tips-to-cut-college-costs">9 Freshman Shopping Tips to Cut College Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-college-students-can-save-money-before-class-starts">8 Ways College Students Can Save Money Before Class Starts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/upromise-world-mastercard-credit-card-review">Upromise World MasterCard Credit Card Review</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-freebies-for-college-students">20+ Freebies for College Students</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-best-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-supplies-right-now">The 8 Best Ways to Save on Back-to-School Supplies Right NOW</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Shopping classes college community college hacks rent free saving money school students textbooks Mon, 15 Aug 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1771548 at http://www.wisebread.com What Is Student Loan Forbearance, Anyway? http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/education_costs_graduation_17985755.jpg" alt="Learning what student loan forbearance is" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Struggling to make your student loan payments each month? You're in good company. According to a May story by CBS Moneywatch, members of the class of 2016 who took out student loans left college with an <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/congrats-class-of-2016-youre-the-most-indebted-yet/">average of $37,173</a> in student loan debt. That's the highest average ever, and an increase of 6% from just one year earlier when such students graduated with an average debt of $35,051.</p> <p>If you're struggling to pay your student loans each month, you can apply for either forbearance or deferment of your federal student loan payments. Deferment and forbearance both put a temporary halt on your payments. That sounds good, and it can provide you with relief. But both programs come with limitations and neither does anything to <em>reduce </em>your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt" target="_blank">student loan debt</a>.</p> <p>Deferment and forbearance are worth investigating if your student loan payments have become a burden. But before you sign up for either program, here are the facts you need to know.</p> <h2>What Loans Qualify?</h2> <p>You can only apply for forbearance or deferment of federal student loans. Private loans are not eligible for these programs. If you are struggling to pay private student loans, you'll need to work directly with the lenders behind them.</p> <h2>Deferment</h2> <p>Deferment is the preferred option for a temporary halt on your payments. That's because in deferment, not only are your payments delayed, but the government might even pay the interest on your loan during this period if you are paying off Federal Perkins loans, direct subsidized loans, or subsidized Federal Stafford loans.</p> <p>The government won't pay interest on any of your unsubsidized or PLUS student loans. But even if the government doesn't pay this interest, you do not have to make interest payments on your own during the deferment period. If you don't, though, the interest that accumulated during the deferment period will be added to your principal balance when you do begin making payments again.</p> <h3>Who Qualifies for Deferment?</h3> <p>You are eligible for deferment if you are unemployed or have been unable to find full-time employment. You might also qualify if you are suffering through an economic hardship, such as a reduction in your full-time income.</p> <h3>You Will Have to Apply for Your Deferment</h3> <p>To start the process, call the loan servicer to which you mail your loan payments, unless you need deferment for Perkins loans. In this case, call the school you were attending when you took out the loan. You'll most likely have to fill out a form detailing the reasons why you can't afford your monthly payment.</p> <h2>Forbearance</h2> <p>In forbearance, your federal student loan payments will again be temporarily halted, usually for up to 12 months. But in forbearance the government will not pay your interest during the temporary halt, no matter what type of federal loan you are paying off.</p> <p>You can make the interest payments on your loans during forbearance or you can temporarily stop making these payments, too. Your interest will continue to accumulate during the forbearance period, though, and will be added to your principal balance when this halt ends. This means that the amount you owe after your forbearance period ends will be higher than when you started forbearance. This could make paying off your student loan debt even more challenging.</p> <h3>Who Qualifies for Forbearance</h3> <p>You can qualify for a discretionary forbearance because of illness or financial hardship. Again, you will have to start the process by contacting the lender to which you are sending your student loan payments each month.</p> <h3>Mandatory Forbearance</h3> <p>There are times when the federal government requires your lender to grant forbearance. This is known as mandatory forbearance. You might qualify for this if you are serving in a medical or dental internship or residency program, the total you owe in student loan payments is more than 20% of your total monthly gross income, you qualify for the U.S. Department of Defense's Student Loan Repayment System, or you are serving in a national service program.</p> <p>You might also qualify for mandatory forbearance if qualify for the teacher loan forgiveness program or you are a member of the U.S. National Guard and have been called to duty but don't qualify for a military deferment.</p> <p><em>Are you struggling to repay your student loans? Have you considered these options?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans">Don&#039;t Ignore These 4 Things Before Refinancing Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">8 Tax Tricks to Try if You&#039;re Stuck With Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-missed-a-student-loan-payment-now-what">You Missed a Student Loan Payment. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-you-didnt-save-for-your-childs-college">What to Do If You Didn&#039;t Save for Your Child&#039;s College</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them">The 10 Most Common Financial Aid Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training deferment federal government financial hardships forbearance interest principal student loans unemployed Tue, 02 Aug 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 1762586 at http://www.wisebread.com The 8 Best Ways to Save on Back-to-School Supplies Right NOW http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-best-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-supplies-right-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-8-best-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-supplies-right-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_70676425_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="saving on back to school supplies" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I realize summer vacation is still in full swing in many parts of the country and most parents have yet to think for a single second about back-to-school supplies. But if you can start your planning now, you can save a lot of money on your purchases. Using time to your advantage gives you the ability to buy when the price is right, and you won't be tempted to buy things at full price simply to cross them off your list. Here are eight ways to save on everything from pencils to a new laptop. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-shopping-mistakes-keeping-you-from-a-great-deal?ref=seealso">The 6 Shopping Mistakes Keeping You From a Great Deal</a>)</p> <h2>1. Always Shop Your Child's Backpack First</h2> <p>Before you stock-up on any school supplies for the upcoming school year, always pull out your child's backpack and empty it out. You'll be happily surprised how many items you'll discover that still have plenty of life left. By doing so, you'll avoid the sickening feeling of buying things like erasers, staplers, glue sticks, and notebooks only to discover perfectly acceptable versions in their backpack.</p> <h2>2. Set Price Alerts on Expensive Items</h2> <p>If you have a new laptop, scientific calculator, or other expensive tech item on your wish list, use time to your advantage and set up price alerts now so you buy only when the price is at its lowest point. If you're an Amazon loyalist, I recommend&nbsp;<a href="http://camelcamelcamel.com/">CamelCamelCamel.com</a> as an easy way to track price fluctuations. You simply sign-up for free, create price alerts for any product, and receive an email when the price is right. They also have a free&nbsp;<a href="http://camelcamelcamel.com/camelizer">browser extension</a> available which gives you instant access to the price history of items sold by Amazon. This is worth examining before you set up your price alerts so you know what price point to aim for.</p> <h2>3. Don't Buy All Supplies From One Store</h2> <p>The best way to guarantee you'll pay more than you should on back-to-school supplies is to walk into a single store and buy every item on your shopping list. Even if you shop at Wal-Mart, you'll still end up buying many items at full price. Instead, check out the sales fliers from all stores and plan your shopping accordingly. By having ample time on your hands to find the best deals, you'll be able to pick up items as you find them on sale. For example, you can pick up paper and pencils from Wal-Mart, but then stock up on the binders and backpacks on sale from Target.</p> <h2>4. Don't Neglect Office Supply Stores</h2> <p>Last year, some of the absolute best deals on back-to-school items were not found at the usual suspects like Wal-Mart, Target, and Kmart. Instead they were found at office supply stores like Staples, OfficeMax, and Office Depot. There were some amazing deals, like one-cent pencils, five-cent glue sticks, 10-cent folders, and five-cent erasers. The caveat is that many office supply stores carry a very limited supply, so keep a keen eye on sales fliers and pounce when the deals become available.</p> <h2>5. Always Price-Match Sold Out Items</h2> <p>When you visit a store like Staples and they've sold all of their one-cent pencils or 10-cent folders, don't despair. Instead, take their sales flyer into your lock&nbsp;<a href="http://help.walmart.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/31/~/walmarts-price-matching-policy">Wal-Mart</a> or&nbsp;<a href="https://corporate.target.com/about/shopping-experience/shop-with-confidence">Target</a> and they'll match the price as long as they carry the same brand. Or better yet, simply start your shopping at Wal-Mart or Target and bring along the office supply store ads with you and just match their prices. Keep in mind that when getting your price match, it doesn't matter if the office supply store has actually sold out of the item. This is a terrific way to be able to shop at a single store and get the best price in town on school supplies.</p> <h2>6. Avoid Cartoon Characters</h2> <p>A great way to overpay during back-to-school shopping is to fall for the cute cartoon characters that adorn items like pencils, backpacks, lunch bags, binders, and notepads. They're typically 20%-30% more expensive than items with no characters on them. If your child absolutely has to have Dory on her new lunch bag or backpack, buy some stickers and let them decorate it themselves.</p> <h2>7. Consider Shopping Solo</h2> <p>An easy way to avoid the temptation of buying pricey Disney items is to leave the kids at home altogether. Not only will it allow you to easily stick to your shopping list, but by shopping alone, the kids won't be able to throw you off your mission of finding and buying the best values. I love the idea of getting kids involved in back-to-school shopping, as it often increases their excitement about the upcoming year. I have found that a great way to do this is when you get home from your shopping trip, not during. Once you return, get them involved in the sorting and organizing of all the stuff you bought, and they will typically get all fired up about school.</p> <h2>8. Find Great Tech Deals Online</h2> <p>When it comes to finding online tech deals for items like laptops, desktops, and tablets, there are three sources you should definitely have bookmarked.</p> <p><a href="http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/6099/campaigns/welcome-to-dell-university"><strong>Dell University</strong></a><strong>:</strong> When shopping online for a PC, Dell University has some excellent discounts exclusively for students. To take advantage, all you need to do is register for the free&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dell.com/en-us/member/learn/finance-and-rewards/rewards-details">Dell Advantage program</a> and provide the name of your school.</p> <p><a href="http://www.apple.com/us-hed/shop"><strong>Apple Education Pricing</strong></a><strong>:</strong> If an Apple computer is in your future, you'd be wise to check out their Educational Pricing page and save up to 25% off a new MacBook or iMac.</p> <p><a href="http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Global/College-Student-Deals/pcmcat276200050000.c?id=pcmcat276200050000"><strong>Best Buy College Student Deals</strong></a><strong>:</strong> Once you've created a Best Buy account, you can sign-up for exclusive college student deals for computers, small appliances, and accessories like external hard drives and software. Current examples include $100 off a MacBook or iMac, $30 off a Keurig Brewer, and 20% off Samsung and LG microwave ovens.</p> <p>By using these three little-known programs, you'll be able to get all of your tech needs at prices far below retail in many cases.</p> <p><em>How do you save money when buying back-to-school supplies for yourself or your kids? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-best-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-supplies-right-now">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-47-best-back-to-school-shopping-hacks-ever">Flashback Friday: 47 Best Back-to-School Shopping Hacks Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-use-google-alerts-to-save-money">6 Ways to Use Google Alerts to Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-best-back-to-school-sales">How to Find the Best Back to School Sales</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-everybody-saves-during-back-to-school">8 Ways Everybody Saves During Back-to-School</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stock-up-on-school-and-office-supplies-with-back-to-school-sales">Stock up on school (and office) supplies with back-to-school sales</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Shopping back-to-school back-to-school shopping coupons office supplies saving money school supplies shopping Tue, 12 Jul 2016 09:30:40 +0000 Kyle James 1748327 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money Moves Students Should Make During a Gap Year http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-students-should-make-during-a-gap-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-moves-students-should-make-during-a-gap-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_travel_selfie_58375086.jpg" alt="Man making money moves during his gap year" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Parents and soon-to-be college students are giving the gap year a second look after the White House announced that Malia Obama will be taking one <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/02/us/politics/malia-obama-to-attend-harvard-but-not-until-2017.html?_r=1">before attending Harvard in 2017</a>. Also popularized by England's Prince Harry, who famously took time out for ranching in Australia and volunteer work in Africa in 2004, the gap year is a break between high school and the start of a person's higher education (or between college and graduate school).</p> <p>Most often, the gap year is used by young people as an opportunity to see the world, explore new cultures, immerse themselves in a nonacademic pursuit, work a job or internship, or volunteer for a cause. The goal is to gain valuable life experience before delving deeper into academics, trade school, military service &mdash; wherever your next step in life takes you.</p> <p>Of course, a year of self-exploration doesn't come free. Read on for our student guide to prepping finances for a gap year.</p> <h2>1. Start Saving a Year Out</h2> <p>How much a gap year will cost depends on how you plan to use it. So, map out your yearlong plan, estimating how much money you'll need. Of course, plans change. And that's okay. All you really need is a good estimate to get you motivated to start saving.</p> <h2>2. Open a Gap Year Bank Account</h2> <p>Now that you've got a savings goal, open up a separate bank account to house your gap year fund drive. To make your big funding goal seem more achievable, break it down into smaller, more manageable monthly and weekly goals. This will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Next, devise a plan for reaching these mini-fundraising goals. Will you cut down on weekend spending? Will you get a part-time job or pick up extra hours at your existing gig? Whatever you decide, be sure to hold yourself accountable.</p> <h2>3. Apply for a Grant or Scholarship</h2> <p>There are plenty of grants and scholarships out there created specifically to ease the financial burden of enrichment programming and travel during the gap year. If you have interest in visiting the Middle East, for example, a grant from Unofficial Ambassadors' <a href="http://unofficialambassadors.com/our-programs/aua-mosaic-scholarship/">Mosaic Grants Program</a> can make the experience more affordable. If you have demonstrated leadership in tackling issues aimed at protecting the environment, the <a href="http://www.broweryouthawards.org/">Brower Youth Awards</a>, which is an initiative by Earth Island Institute, divvies out $3,000 scholarships to young people each year.</p> <p>Be sure to also check out any opportunities offered by your prospective university or college as well as local organizations in your area. In Humboldt County, California, for example, there's a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.americangap.org/humboldtscholarship.php">generous annual scholarship</a> that offers up to $6,000 to gap year students who are seeking participation in a program accredited by the American Gap Association. Schools including Tufts University and the University of North Carolina have financial aid programs for gap year students, as well.</p> <h2>4. Give Creative Fundraising a Shot</h2> <p>There are so many ways to rake in extra cash. Just ask the twin teens from England who used their gap year to cultivate a loyal following on a YouTube channel that has earned them <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/9544479/YouTube-videos-funded-our-gap-year-travels.html">tons of money in advertising</a>, which funded their year of travel. Other ideas: Launch a crowdfunding campaign or host an event &mdash; battle of the bands, pool party, theatrical performance &mdash; to which you sell tickets that will cover your expenses.</p> <h2>5. Invest in Traveler's Insurance</h2> <p>If you plan to travel abroad during your gap year, organizations such as <a href="https://www.internationalsos.com/">International SOS</a> offer top-notch insurance policies that can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars should something go wrong. Let's hope you never need it. Truth be told, most of the time traveler's insurance does end up being a waste of money. But should you ever need to cover the cost of inconveniences such as a last-minute trip cancellation, emergency medical evacuation, or lost luggage, you'll be more than glad that you have it.</p> <p>Of all the expenses to skimp on while traveling abroad, don't let insurance be one of them. After you choose a plan, be sure to do your research so that you know exactly what it covers &mdash; and what it doesn't.</p> <h2>6. Learn the Ins and Outs of Your Bank's ATM Fees</h2> <p>Commit to memory the occasions on which your bank will hit you with an ATM fee. Then be sure to avoid them. While a few dollars here and there might not seem like much, over time they can really add up. Just as there's no reason to throw money out the window, there's no reason to not educate yourself on your bank's ATM fee policies.</p> <h2>7. Devise a Strategy for Accessing Day-to-Day Funds Abroad</h2> <p>Despite fees, ATMs are still the best bet for accessing money abroad. If your travels are set to land you in a major international airport, you'll likely get the best rate by withdrawing cash in the local currency from an ATM upon arrival to your destination city. While it can be comforting to travel with some local currency already in your pocket, having that convenience will cost you. You'll have to fork over a commission fee to exchange money at a bank or ATM in the U.S.</p> <p>However, if you'll be flying into a smaller airport, there may not be any ATMs &mdash; or at least not any properly functioning ones &mdash; when you get there. In this case, it's best to travel with about $100 in the local currency so that you can pay for immediate expenses, such as food and transportation, without hassle. Once you journey outside the airport, you can find an ATM and withdraw more local money at a better rate.</p> <h2>8. Reapply for FAFSA</h2> <p>Students who qualify for federal financial aid before deferring college for a year must reapply the next year by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. So long as the finances of the student's family don't change in a major way, the student will likely receive the same financial aid package. Also, students who have secured a scholarship from their university can sometimes negotiate to have the aid held for them until their delayed matriculation. So if you have a university or college-funded scholarship, be sure to inquire about how you can go about receiving the award after your gap year.</p> <p><em>Did you &mdash; or will you &mdash; take a gap year? What'd you do? How did you prepare your finances before you left?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-money-moves-students-should-make-during-a-gap-year&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%20Money%20Moves%20Students%20Should%20Make%20During%20a%20Gap%20Year.jpg&amp;description=8%20Money%20Moves%20Students%20Should%20Make%20During%20a%20Gap%20Year" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Money%20Moves%20Students%20Should%20Make%20During%20a%20Gap%20Year.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-students-should-make-during-a-gap-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-freshman-shopping-tips-to-cut-college-costs">9 Freshman Shopping Tips to Cut College Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-every-college-student-should-try">8 Money-Saving Hacks Every College Student Should Try</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-skip-these-8-tax-breaks-for-students">Don&#039;t Skip These 8 Tax Breaks for Students</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-college-students-can-save-money-before-class-starts">8 Ways College Students Can Save Money Before Class Starts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them">The 10 Most Common Financial Aid Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Travel atm fees bank accounts college financial aid gap year scholarships self exploration students traveling abroad Tue, 21 Jun 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1735468 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_grad_broke_53019460.jpg" alt="Woman learning how student loans affect taxes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tax time can make many feel anxious, especially if they're already burdened by student loan debt. Many people might not even think about their student loans when it comes time to file, and that would be a huge mistake.</p> <p>Here are three big tax issues &mdash; and one <em>huge</em> tax benefit &mdash; you should be aware of if you have student loan debt.</p> <h2>You Can Deduct Loan Interest</h2> <p>Yes, you can deduct your <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ch04.html">student loan interest</a>, reducing your income by up to $2,500. But to qualify for this deduction, you must earn less than $80,000 if single or $160,000 if you are filing jointly.</p> <p>If you paid more than $600 in interest on your student loan, you should automatically receive a Form 1098-E in the mail. However, if you do not receive this, you can still claim the interest you paid. Just request this form from your lender in January. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster?ref=seealso">15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <h2>Defaulting on Your Loan Could Cost You Your Tax Refund</h2> <p>If you default on your federal student loan, your tax refund could go straight to your lender. They are legally allowed to take 100% of your tax refund. For most federal loans, you will be considered in default if you have not made a payment in 270 days.</p> <h2>Filing Jointly Can Cost You More in Student Loans</h2> <p>Many couples will file jointly to save money on their taxes and have easier access to tax credits, like the child tax credit and the dependent care credit. However, filing jointly can also make you pay more in student loan repayment throughout the year.</p> <p>Many individuals pay for their student loans on an income-driven repayment plan, which calculates monthly payments based off earnings. Since your joint income will be significantly higher than your individual incomes, your loan payments are likely to be higher. To make smaller monthly payments on your loans, you should probably file separately.</p> <p>You want to understand how much money it will cost to file your taxes separately versus how much you'll make in additional monthly student loan payments if you file jointly. MagnifyMoney.com put together a simple example scenario of a married couple without children. In their example, the couple would have saved over $1,100 in federal taxes if they filed jointly, but they would have saved $6,816 on their student loan payments by filing separately.</p> <h2>Student Loan Forgiveness/Cancellation Could Mean More Taxes</h2> <p>Student loan forgiveness programs are a great way to offset some of your student loan debt. However, some student loan forgiveness programs also come with a hefty tax bill in the end.</p> <p>Student loan forgiveness programs such as the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and other plans for teachers, health professionals, lawyers, or volunteers are all tax-free. If you follow the programs' rules for loan forgiveness, your loan will be forgiven without tax repercussions.</p> <p>Certain student loan forgiveness programs offered through individual states can be subjected to taxes. Many are not, but it is a good idea to do your research.</p> <p>If your student loan is cancelled or discharged, it can be considered taxable income. It might be cancelled or discharged for one of the following reasons:</p> <ul> <li>Cancellation for closed school;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cancellation for False Certification of the loan;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cancellation for unpaid refund of the loan;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Discharge for death or disability.</li> </ul> <p>Finally, if you sign up for repayment programs that offer loan forgiveness after a certain number of years, any unpaid amount which is forgiven is considered taxable income. This usually happens with the income-based repayment (IBR) plans and the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) repayment plan. (See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt?ref=seealso"> 5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</a>)</p> <p>Talk with a financial adviser that specializes in student loan debt for more help.</p> <p><em>Do you write off your student loan interest on taxes? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">8 Tax Tricks to Try if You&#039;re Stuck With Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-most-common-tax-mistakes-made-by-college-grads">5 Most Common Tax Mistakes Made by College Grads</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ignore-these-4-things-before-refinancing-your-student-loans">Don&#039;t Ignore These 4 Things Before Refinancing Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway">What Is Student Loan Forbearance, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tax-deductions-new-homeowners-shouldnt-skip">4 Tax Deductions New Homeowners Shouldn&#039;t Skip</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Taxes deductions filing jointly filing single interest loan forgiveness refunds repayment student loans Thu, 09 Jun 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1725704 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Do If You Didn't Save for Your Child's College http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-you-didnt-save-for-your-childs-college <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-do-if-you-didnt-save-for-your-childs-college" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girls_happy_books_66007785.jpg" alt="Learning what to do if you didn&#039;t save for college" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>They say children grow up fast, but that couldn't be any truer for parents who suddenly find themselves looking at college applications and admission costs.</p> <p>Perhaps you always meant to save money for your child to go to college, but with all the other bills and expenses, you were never able to. Here are some tips on how to approach college costs now.</p> <h2>Start With the FAFSA</h2> <p>The first place to start is to complete the&nbsp;<a href="https://fafsa.ed.gov/">Free Application for Federal Student Aid</a> (FAFSA) application. Even if you believe that your household income is too high for student aid, you will still need to complete the FAFSA to qualify for federal loans. The FAFSA will give eligible students access to free grant money for college, as well as federal loans. The FAFSA can even connect eligible students to work-study programs for another way to help fund schooling.</p> <p>The FAFSA must be completed every year, Also, it is best to apply as early as possible, since some colleges award aid on a first come, first serve basis.</p> <h2>Start With Junior or Community College</h2> <p>If your child has their hopes set on a fancy university on the other side of the country, then they will probably not like the idea of attending a local junior or community college first. Still, community colleges are significantly cheaper, and children can further save by living at home. And most general education credits can transfer to your child's university of choice.</p> <p>A community college will shave up to two years off the expensive price tag of a university. Plus, if your college-bound child is not 100% sure of their career path, a community college can buy them time to figure it out, without paying the full sticker price of a university. A lot of maturing and life-changing events can happen after high school, and your future potential lawyer might decide they would rather teach in underprivileged areas, instead. Changing your major can be a huge money waste when you do it at a costly university.</p> <p>To be certain of community college credit transferability, visit <a href="http://www.assist.org/">ASSIST</a>, which shows which credits transfer between California community colleges and California State Universities. Check with your local community colleges if they use a similar website or conversion chart, to make sure your child is taking the right classes. It is also a good idea to talk with your child's top university choices about transferring from a community college to see what they require. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-part-time-jobs-that-offer-college-benefits?ref=seealso">8 Part-Time Jobs That Offer College Benefits</a>)</p> <h2>Scholarships Are a Viable Option</h2> <p>Scholarships can certainly help reduce the cost of your child's college admission. However, it is best to have a healthy expectation when you first approach your scholarship search. First of all, it is very unlikely that your child will get offered a full ride, unless they have a very unique profile that makes them especially appealing to schools. A school's top soccer player who has excellent grades is obviously more likely to earn scholarship offers than a non-athletic student with average grades.</p> <p>Look for smaller, local scholarships, which have a less competitive edge. Also, if your child has a part-time job, there might be scholarship options available through that company. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-increase-your-childs-odds-of-winning-a-scholarship?ref=seealso">How to Increase Your Child's Odds of Winning a Scholarship</a>)</p> <h2>Just Say No to the Parent PLUS Loan</h2> <p>We know you want the best for your child and would do anything to grant them success, but tying your name to costly student loan debt can put your retirement at risk. This goes mostly for Parent PLUS loans, though it is a good idea not to co-sign loans for anybody, in general.</p> <p>Trying to pay off a child's student loan debt when you are so close to retirement can derail you financially. Also, PLUS loans are not eligible for any loan forgiveness programs.</p> <h2>Know About Loans and Loan Forgiveness Programs</h2> <p>Before your child signs up for the first loan they are offered, do some research on specific loans and loan forgiveness programs. For example, if your college-aged child wants to pursue teaching, then getting a Perkins Loan can offer the best loan cancellation program. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.tcli.ed.gov/CBSWebApp/tcli/TCLIPubSchoolSearch.jsp">Federal Teacher Cancellation for Perkins Loans</a> offers 15% loan cancellation after one year of teaching in a low-income area, and teaching five years will qualify for full loan forgiveness.</p> <p>Know that private loans will also be easier to secure, but these loans do not qualify for loan forgiveness programs or income-based repayment plans after graduation. You might need to get some private loan funding, but make sure to use federal loans first, since these have the most benefits. Before signing up with a private lender, thoroughly investigate their repayment policies and rules on loan deferment (which allows the borrower to momentarily pause payments if they continue their education or serve in the military or Peace Corps).</p> <p><em>How are you handling the college costs of your children?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-you-didnt-save-for-your-childs-college">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them">The 10 Most Common Financial Aid Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-trapped-by-these-higher-education-scams">Don&#039;t Get Trapped by These Higher Education Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-every-college-student-should-try">8 Money-Saving Hacks Every College Student Should Try</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">8 Tax Tricks to Try if You&#039;re Stuck With Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training college community college FAFSA loan forgiveness parent plus loans student loans Mon, 06 Jun 2016 09:30:30 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1723967 at http://www.wisebread.com You Missed a Student Loan Payment. Now What? http://www.wisebread.com/you-missed-a-student-loan-payment-now-what <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/you-missed-a-student-loan-payment-now-what" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_stressed_bills_000084978003.jpg" alt="Woman missed a student loan payment, so now what?" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Imagine the scenario. You wake up one morning without a worry on your mind. Then you look at your calendar and realize you did not pay your student loan payment, and it was due three days ago. Or perhaps you didn't catch your mistake quickly enough, and you are getting notices in the mail.</p> <p><em>Don't panic!</em></p> <p>While your first reaction might be to overreact and hyperventilate, know that it is not the end of the world. As long as you can restore your student loan account from delinquency to repayment status quickly, you will be fine.</p> <p>Here's what you need to know and what you should do when you miss a student loan payment.</p> <h2>Call Your Lender Right Away</h2> <p>First things first, call your lender. You do not need to come up with an elaborate story or excuse. Just explain what happened. Many lenders have generous grace periods, and some private lenders might not have a grace period at all.</p> <p>Once you have your lender on the phone, you can ask them if your late payment has subjected you to any late fees or has been reported to your credit union. Arrange to make payments over the phone, even if you have to pay a small fee to do so. You want to make sure that the lender gets their payment immediately.</p> <p>If your late payment has been reported to the credit bureaus, it can put a ding on your credit score for several years. You can attempt to have the report taken off by writing a request to your lender. In your request, you can mention that you are trying to improve your credit for an upcoming home or vehicle purchase and that the late payment was a rare case due to certain circumstances. There is no guarantee that this will work, but it is worth attempting. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans?ref=seealso">8 Tax Tricks to Try if You're Stuck With Student Loans</a>)</p> <h2>How to Avoid Missing Another Student Loan Payment</h2> <p>If you missed your student loan payment because you just forgot or because you have too many student loans to keep track of, here are two solutions that will help.</p> <h3>1. Consolidate or Refinance Your Loans</h3> <p>If you have several different student loans, and you are not going to apply for loan forgiveness, consider consolidating your loans to have all of your debt in one loan. Consolidating your loans might even lower your interest rate and monthly payments.</p> <h3>2. Schedule Automatic Payments</h3> <p>Another sure way to never miss your student loan payment again is to schedule monthly automatic payments. Some lenders will even offer you a discount APR if you sign up for automatic payments through their site.</p> <h2>What If You Can't Afford Your Student Loan?</h2> <p>If you are having difficulties adhering to the monthly payment deadline because you are short on cash, then you need to get help immediately. The last thing you want is for your loan to default. Attorney Daniel Gamez says, &quot;Once a federal student loan goes into default, borrowers face potential wage garnishments of up to 15% of their wages. That can be crippling if you are already on a tight budget.&quot;</p> <p>Review your payment options with your lender. You might qualify for deferment or forbearance, depending on your current situation. If you have federal loans, look into options for repayment, such as:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Extended Payment Plan</strong>, which lowers your monthly costs by extending your loan up to 25 years.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Revised Pay as You Earn Plan (REPAYE)</strong>, which makes your monthly payments 10% of your discretionary income.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Income-Based Repayment</strong>, which calculates your monthly payments each year based on your income and family size, not to exceed 15% of your discretionary income.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Income-Sensitive Plan</strong>, which bases your monthly payment on your annual income and can extend your loan up to 15 years.</li> </ul> <p><em> Have you run into problems with your student loans? What did you do?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-missed-a-student-loan-payment-now-what">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youve-defaulted-on-your-loan-now-what">You&#039;ve Defaulted on Your Loan. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway">What Is Student Loan Forbearance, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them">The 10 Most Common Financial Aid Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training autopay credit score late payments lenders loan consolidation student loans Wed, 01 Jun 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1721634 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/college_grads_diplomas_000059226250.jpg" alt="College grads making money moves after graduation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've thrown your mortar board and ditched that gown. Now the real work begins: It's time to develop the good financial habits that you'll need to follow all the way through retirement.</p> <p>Yes, you've just graduated from college and full-fledged adulthood seems a long, long way off. But you'll be surprised once you enter the working world how fast time can move.</p> <p>Here are five money moves you should make the moment you graduate from college. They'll help you save for a home, build an emergency fund and, yes, amass a nice nest egg for your retirement years.</p> <h2>Develop a Strategy for Paying Off Your Student Loan Debt</h2> <p>You'll graduate with a degree. But the odds are high that you'll graduate with plenty of student loan debt, too. The federal government says that nearly 70% of college graduates with bachelor's degrees leave college with student loan debt. Edvisors adds that the graduating class of 2015 graduated with an average of $35,051 in debt, the largest amount ever.</p> <p>Most graduates will have to begin paying off their student loans six months after they leave college. Don't miss your first payment. That will hurt your credit score, and that number determines if you'll qualify for car and home loans and at what interest rate. Make sure, though, that you repay your loans in the best way for you. You can choose a standard repayment plan of 10 years with a fixed monthly payment. If you are struggling to make a solid income after you graduate, you can also choose an income-based repayment plan. Under these plans, your monthly payment is based on your income, rising (or falling) as your pay changes.</p> <p>The best choice, of course, is to pay off your loans as quickly as possible, which means taking the 10-year term. You'll pay far less in interest with this approach. But you'll have to take a close look at your finances first. If you can't afford the bigger monthly payment, it's better to stretch your loan out over more years than it is to miss a payment because you didn't have enough money to cover the bill. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">8 Surprising Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans</a>)</p> <h2>Create a Budget</h2> <p>Drafting a budget isn't much fun. But it's important; without one, you run the risk of spending more money than you bring in each month. That could lead to credit card debts as you turn to the plastic to cover your living expenses.</p> <p>Fortunately, drafting a budget isn't that challenging. First, calculate how much money you bring home each month. Then, calculate your fixed expenses: your student loan payment, rent, car payment, and anything else you pay the same for each month. Finally, determine your variable expenses. These are expenses that you have each month but that fluctuate. This could include your utility bill, grocery bill, and the money you spend on entertainment.</p> <p>The difference between your expenses and income is the extra money you have each month. You now know how much you can save each month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">Build Your First Budget in 5 Easy Steps</a>)</p> <h2>Start Building an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>You'll learn quickly after graduation that financial emergencies pop up all too often. You might suddenly need to pay for a new transmission for your car. Or maybe your laptop dies and you need a quick replacement. The worst thing is to pay for these emergencies with your credit card. The best approach: To steadily build an emergency fund that you can dip into when emergencies arise.</p> <p>You can start small: Even $50 or $100 a month will add up over time. Deposit this money in a savings account and only withdraw from it for emergencies. An emergency fund is a great way to build financial peace of mind. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">A Step by Step Guide to Creating Your Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>Eliminate That Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>Some debt is worse than others, but no debt is worse than credit card debt. That's because credit card debt comes with interest rates that can be as high as 24%. If you don't pay your credit card bill in full each month, that debt has a bad habit of growing out of control.</p> <p>The smart move, then, is to always pay more than your required minimum monthly payment. It's best to pay off your credit card debt in full every month so that you aren't carrying a balance. But if that's not possible, always pay a bit extra each month until you whittle away that high-interest-rate debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-college-students?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">Best Credit Cards for College Students</a>)</p> <h2>Open a Retirement Account</h2> <p>Again, retirement is a long way away. But the sooner you start saving, the easier it is to build the financial cushion you'll need after you leave the working world.</p> <p>If your employer offers a 401K plan, <em>be sure to enroll in it!</em> And be sure, too, to contribute the maximum amount from every paycheck. This is a great, and surprisingly painless, way to build retirement dollars. If you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-without-a-401k?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">don't have access to a 401K plan</a>, open an IRA or a Roth IRA, and make regular contributions. As with building an emergency fund, you don't have to make huge investments in your retirement accounts right now. Simply contributing small amounts now &mdash; whatever you can afford within your budget &mdash; will pay off big in the future.</p> <p><em>What smart money moves do you think recent grads should make?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them">The 10 Most Common Financial Aid Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-you-didnt-save-for-your-childs-college">What to Do If You Didn&#039;t Save for Your Child&#039;s College</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-trapped-by-these-higher-education-scams">Don&#039;t Get Trapped by These Higher Education Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change">10 Money Moves to Make Before the Leaves Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-every-woman-can-take-control-of-her-finances">How Every Woman Can Take Control of Her Finances</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training college graduates money moves post-graduate retirement savings student loans young adults Tue, 24 May 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 1716261 at http://www.wisebread.com The 10 Most Common Financial Aid Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/student_loan_debt_000080203665.jpg" alt="Learning how to avoid common financial aid mistakes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For many students, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is crucial to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-avoid-student-loan-debt">making college affordable</a>. While the application process can be greatly rewarding, that doesn't mean it's easy. FAFSA is riddled with confusing acronyms and financial lingo. And getting any money out of it is contingent on meeting deadlines and reporting dollar amounts precisely. Errors can greatly reduce or eliminate your financial aid award. Read on for our roundup of the most common FAFSA flubs &mdash; and our tips for avoiding them.</p> <h2>1. Missing Deadlines</h2> <p>The price of missing the FAFSA application deadline can be steep. So don't fall victim to this time management failure. Stay on top of deadlines by creating a due date calendar. Vow to review it daily. For each deadline item, create a list of tasks you'll need to complete to meet the due date. Estimate how much time each of these tasks will take you to finish. Add this information to your deadline calendar and hold yourself accountable.</p> <h2>2. Procrastinating</h2> <p>This year the FAFSA form will be made available on October 1. That's a full <em>three months earlier than usual</em>. Despite the early bird form availability, it will serve you best to fill out the FAFSA and submit it as soon as possible. Many folks wait until after they file their taxes to fill out and submit the FAFSA, and in some cases that can be too late. At least nine states award financial aid on a <a href="https://www.edvisors.com/blog/switch-to-prior-prior-tax-data-for-fafsa-09-2015/">first come, first served</a> basis &mdash; until the money runs out. Even if you beat the official deadline, waiting to file could potentially cost you everything.</p> <h2>3. Messing Up Numbers</h2> <p>While it's important to fill out the FAFSA in a timely manner, it's equally important that you fill it out correctly. Double-check to make sure the numbers you enter onto the FAFSA form are correct and in the right field. One faulty keyboard stroke could cost you thousands of dollars.</p> <h2>3. Leaving a Field Blank</h2> <p>If the answer is zero, write zero. Leaving a field blank can prompt the processor of your application to assume that you failed to answer the question. It can also lead to grave miscalculations and processing delays. So before you submit your application, double-check that all fields are filled in.</p> <h2>4. Not Including Stepparents</h2> <p>The FAFSA can be filed by just one parent. But if this parent is remarried, the financial information for that spouse &mdash; the student's stepparent &mdash; must also be reported. Depending on that stepparent's income and assets, a student's eligibility for need-based financial aid can fluctuate greatly.</p> <h2>5. Not Including Stepchildren on an Application</h2> <p>To soften the blow of a well-off stepparent, stepchildren may be included on the FAFSA application, as well. By including stepchildren, you'll make adjustments to the household size and expected family contribution portions of the form, thereby creating opportunity for greater need-based aid.</p> <h2>6. Filing the Wrong Form</h2> <p>At any given time, there are two versions of the FAFSA that could be filed: The FAFSA for the <em>current </em>academic year, and the FAFSA for the <em>upcoming </em>academic year. The majority of applicants &mdash; those seeking to attend school in the upcoming school year &mdash; will want to file the latter. Be sure that you've got the right form for your desired college enrollment date.</p> <h2>7. Not Using the Right Website</h2> <p>The FAFSA is free to fill out and submit on <a href="https://fafsa.ed.gov/">fafsa.ed.gov</a>. But beware: There are imposter sites out there. If you are asked for your credit card information, you're not on the official government site.</p> <h2>8. Including Retirement Info</h2> <p>Retirement info, such as your 401K or IRA assets, should never be included on the FAFSA. Only non-retirement financial data is required. Mistakenly including retirement funds on the form could reduce your chances of winning need-based aid, so be sure to avoid this mistake.</p> <h2>9. Entering the Wrong SSN</h2> <p>Most of us are rarely called upon to state our Social Security numbers, which could be why so many folks misstate these numbers on the FAFSA. Double-check SSN numbers before submitting the form, and make sure you have the correct number matched to the right family member.</p> <h2>10. Failing to Seek Help</h2> <p>Successful completion of the FAFSA form is no easy task. If you're flustered, seek help. There's a <a href="https://studentaidhelp.ed.gov/app/home/site/fafsa">FAFSA hotline</a> available to help you navigate the process as well as free online resources, such as the <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/estimate">FAFSA calculator</a>.</p> <p><em>Did you find the FAFSA process confusing?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-common-financial-aid-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-you-didnt-save-for-your-childs-college">What to Do If You Didn&#039;t Save for Your Child&#039;s College</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-better-way-to-rank-americas-colleges">A Better Way to Rank America&#039;s Colleges</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-trapped-by-these-higher-education-scams">Don&#039;t Get Trapped by These Higher Education Scams</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training applications college FAFSA federal student aid financial aid Mistakes student loans Mon, 23 May 2016 09:30:26 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1714480 at http://www.wisebread.com My 2016 Budget Challenge: Affording Education http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-affording-education <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-2016-budget-challenge-affording-education" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000069492263.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>[Editor's Note: This is the another episode in Max Wong's journey to find an extra $31,000 this year. Read the whole series </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0"><em>here</em></a><em>.]</em></p> <p>I am on the cusp of transitioning into a new dream career. Actually, two new dream careers. People keep approaching me for work as a documentary filmmaker and as an architectural photographer, so I have decided to take the leap and try to do both full-time for money. This is tremendously exciting and mind-numbingly scary for two reasons:</p> <p>First, I am old. Well, not old-old. I am 46. So, I am certainly young enough to start a second career. However, at 46, I am too old for a long educational track and too poor to get training for a career that leaves me saddled with student loan debt that then leaves me unable to save for retirement.</p> <p>Second, I will just say it: I am a luddite. In order to succeed as a documentary filmmaker and as a professional photographer, I have to learn how to use my motion picture camera and sound system, a film editing program, Lightroom and/or Photoshop, and a new digital camera system. And that's just what I have to learn <em>this year</em>. I basically have to go back to film school, but cram four years of learning into the next nine months.</p> <p>So how am I going to acquire all these new-fangled skills without breaking the bank or, more importantly, breaking my brain? Here's how I am cobbling together some quality learning on the cheap.</p> <h2>Finding a Mentor</h2> <p>If there is such a thing as a professional <em>meet cute </em>story, I have it. Last year, one of my favorite photographers started following me on Instagram and subsequently hired me to work as his sometime assistant.</p> <p>It is incredibly gratifying to have an artist, who I greatly admire, support me creatively, even if it comes in the form of terse texts such as, &quot;If you take that photograph now, I don't want to hear any whining from you about how sucky it is later.&quot; And, &quot;Do better.&quot; Because I know he is rooting for me to figure things out, it is easy to stay motivated and learn the technical side of photography, a process that involves failing repeatedly. To quote Henri Cartier-Bresson: &quot;Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.&quot; With thousands of my worst photographs still untaken, I am glad that I have professional supervision and a safe space to crash and burn.</p> <p>In addition to the self-esteem boost, a good mentor just makes everything easier. For example, after reading through approximately 556,373 camera equipment reviews, I still could not parse out what gear to buy, so my mentor wrote me up a custom shopping list based on what he thought would work best for me creatively, financially, and physically. Not only did this take some of the stress out of buying $2,288.94 worth of photography equipment, but he ended up saving me hundreds of dollars.</p> <p>For example, the Arca Swiss Cube gear head is the industry standard for architectural photography. One of the reasons why my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-why-i-need-to-find-31k-this-year">original gear budget</a> is $10,000 is because the Arca Swiss costs $1,600. My mentor owns several different gear heads. The one he recommended to me is the one he uses the most: a $300 model that was not mentioned in any of the reviews that I read. Because I have seen what he can do with a $300 gear head, I feel confident that I can do professional work with the same model and save $1,300.</p> <p>While mentors are always presented as white-haired, lions of industry (or Morgan Freeman) in films, I should point out that my photography mentor is actually younger than I am. Good teachers can be any age.</p> <h2>Interning</h2> <p>I am extremely pro-interning because it has worked well for me. I was hired as a film executive before I even graduated from film school. I never had to be an assistant or work in the mailroom, which are both standard entry-level film gigs. I graduated from college and the next day I went to work at my fancy production company job. I managed this feat by interning for a full year at the company that hired me. For them, it was just an internal promotion. I was already working 60 hours a week for them, so why not just pay me so I could afford better work clothes?</p> <p>Interning while you are in college has become a huge drag. You either have to find a paying internship, which really don't exist anymore in a lot of fields, or you have to work an internship for college credit, which means you have to pay tuition for a job your school probably didn't even get you. It's tough. However, interning as an adult post-graduation is way easier. Plenty of companies have rules against hiring unpaid students, but very few companies care if a &quot;grown up&quot; volunteers to work for free. Interning is a great way to learn the industry culture, network, and discover the skills you actually need for a specific job.</p> <p>I don't think of internships as just office jobs. In fact, I could probably <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-job-creation">invent an internship</a> in almost any industry that does not require safety certification or security clearance. In addition to interning for my photography mentor, I am currently interning with a master beekeeper. I help him schlep heavy equipment around a farm once a week, and in exchange he helps me level up on my beekeeping skills. I am currently learning queen rearing, so I can breed and raise my own queen bees to sell to other local beekeepers.</p> <p>For the record, I generally don't refer to my beekeeping arrangement as an internship. I am <a href="https://wwoofusa.org/about/">WWOOFing</a>, which sounds endlessly more &quot;authentic,&quot; &quot;artisanal,&quot; and fancy. Kinfolk Magazine should just interview me right now.</p> <h2>Hiring an Intern</h2> <p>I bought my parents their first Apple computer in 1999. When they crashed it the first time, they called me in a panic. Since this was before Apple stores were in every big city, they had no idea who could fix their computer. &quot;Pay the 12-year-old who lives down the street $40 to come over and show you how to fix your computer,&quot; I told them. &quot;Which 12-year-old?&quot; they asked. &quot;Any 12-year-old,&quot; I said.</p> <p>Like my parents, I am a digital immigrant, not a digital native. To this day, I am still more comfortable with analog technology than I am with the digital world. Just ask my editors at Wise Bread who are all half my age. I am clueless.</p> <p>Right this second I'm trying to learn how to use iMovie to edit my documentary. It is going very slowly. It is not as intuitive as I had hoped. Or, maybe I am just extra dumb at this.</p> <p>As luck would have it, my friend Cheryl called me the other day. She's trying to get a summer internship for her daughter who is applying to film schools in the fall. Could I use an intern on my current documentary? &quot;Does your kid know how to use iMovie?&quot; I asked. &quot;Oh, sure. But she mainly uses Premiere to edit at home and she uses Avid at school.&quot;</p> <p>Boom.</p> <p>I now have a 17-year-old summer intern who is going to sit with me and walk me through the editing process.</p> <p>See? Good teachers. Any age.</p> <h2>Visiting the Public Library</h2> <p>My friend Fareed is superhuman when it comes to Photoshop. Where did he pick up his mad skills? The Los Angeles Public Library. Apparently, you can access <a href="http://petapixel.com/2015/07/09/heads-up-you-can-access-lynda-lessons-for-free-at-some-public-libraries/">Lynda Lessons for free</a> at some public libraries. This is how I am going to learn Lightroom and Photoshop.</p> <h2>RTFM (Reading the Fricking Manual)</h2> <p>My new tripod has an instruction manual. I am reading it. My new gear head has an instruction manual. I am reading it. My new tilt-shift lens has an instruction manual. I am reading it. My borrowed camera body has an instruction manual. I am reading it, even though it is 260 pages long and in Spanish because my photography mentor misplaced the English instructions. Not that I am complaining as the photographs are in English and I am learning a lot of good vocabulary words in Spanish for free. So, bonus?</p> <p>I know. Reading the manual to learn how to use a machine seems like, well, obvi. But, apparently I am in the minority. According to a survey, 24% of women who call tech support hotlines in the United Kingdom have <a href="http://www.geek.com/news/study-says-64-of-men-dont-even-read-the-manual-before-calling-tech-support-969371/">never bothered to read the manual</a> before calling for help. And lest anyone believe that this is just a problem for women because we are mechanical simpletons who can't understand technology, that exact same survey found that 64% of men don't read the manual before demanding IT help.</p> <p>Of course, Americans are even stupider, or maybe just more stubborn than British tech consumers: <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2008/06/03/95-percent-of-all-returned-gadgets-still-work-americans-dont-r/">95% of gadgets</a> returned in the United States actually work.</p> <h2>Watching YouTube</h2> <p>Even though I am muscling my way through all the camera gear manuals, I am hating the experience. The diagrams leave a lot to be desired. Also, while paper manuals are very good at explaining how to use the various buttons and levers, text-based manuals are not good at explaining how to use the various buttons and levers to get the desired photographic image. Thank God for YouTube. Now I understand how to use my tilt-shift lens! Concepts that take 13 pages of explanation in the book, can be explained in one five-second close-up shot.</p> <p>While many YouTube instructional videos leave a lot to be desired in terms of production value, the sheer number of subjects covered make YouTube my first stop when I am trying to learn new, random skills. Do I have a Small Hive Beetle infestation in my beehive? Found a video on how to make a no-poison Hive Beetle death trap from an old CD case and vegetable oil. Did I make the disastrous decision to cut my own bangs without watching a YouTube bang-cutting video first? (Yes). Found a video on how to hide my bangs inside retro hair-dos while I grow them back out.</p> <h2>Reading the Comments</h2> <p>Fact: Reading Internet comments can be as pleasant as self-surgery. However, I often learn more from the comments on how-to blog posts than I do from the original article!</p> <p>Are you an autodidact? What tools do you use to learn new skills quickly? Please share in the comments section! I can use all the help I can get.</p> <h2>Progress Report</h2> <p>My husband managed to save $1,500 this month from his regular paycheck. (At this rate, I am going to have to change his nickname for this series from Mr. Spendypants to Mr. Saveypants). He also earned an additional $1,100 for creating all the original artwork for <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gorillagames/desert-island-0">Desert Island</a>, a Kickstarter-funded card game.</p> <p>I am so relieved that the start date for my professional architectural photography job has been pushed back to May. After much discussion and contemplation, we decided that it would be better for me to purchase all the equipment I need for the job, with the exception of the camera body, so I could have a month to practice using all these tools. Also, although this is a big expense, it is cheaper to buy the basic tools needed for this job rather than rent. The total cost of camera equipment purchased this month: $2,288.94</p> <p><strong>Goal:</strong> $31,000.00</p> <p><strong>Amount Raised:</strong> $16,078.00</p> <p><strong>Amount Spent:</strong> $7,592.66</p> <p><strong>Amount Left to Go:</strong> $22,514.66</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-affording-education">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Everything Breaks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-job-creation">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Job Creation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-turn-your-spouse-into-a-money-saver">My 2016 Budget Challenge: How to Turn Your Spouse Into a Money Saver</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-why-i-need-to-find-31k-this-year">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Why I Need to Find $31K This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-buy-a-house-when-you-live-paycheck-to-paycheck">My 2016 Budget Challenge: How to Buy a House When You Live Paycheck to Paycheck</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Education & Training budget challenge education max wong max wongs budget personal stories saving money Fri, 29 Apr 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Max Wong 1693275 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Cheap Ways to Increase Your Knowledge and Earning Potential http://www.wisebread.com/9-cheap-ways-to-increase-your-knowledge-and-earning-potential <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-cheap-ways-to-increase-your-knowledge-and-earning-potential" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000072007369_Large.jpg" alt="increasing his knowledge with free online resources" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The more knowledge you have, the more chances you will get to score different and better jobs. Knowledge is power, and with continuing education, power and ultimately, success, are yours for the taking. Here are nine free or inexpensive ways to learn more and increase your earning potential. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new?ref=seealso">15 Free Ways to Learn Something New</a>)</p> <h2>MOOCs and Academies</h2> <p>Massively Open Online Courses are the inexpensive alternative to debt-creating colleges. An option for learning that &mdash; in my opinion &mdash; should have been there since the inception of the Internet. There are plenty to choose from, but these are your best places to start.</p> <h3>1. Khan Academy</h3> <p>&quot;Your brain is like a muscle,&quot; says <a href="https://www.khanacademy.org/">Khan Academy</a>. &quot;The more you use it and struggle, the more it grows.&quot; Here, you can grow your muscle with classes in math, science, economics and finance, and arts and humanities. For adults, this is a refresher. For kids, it's a prepper. The college admissions section offers information for high school students or graduates preparing for higher education. The site's content includes plenty of practice exercises, video lessons, and a personalized dashboard that helps you track your progress.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free</p> <h3>2. Udemy</h3> <p><a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=323085.81&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0">Udemy</a> has an incredibly broad focus &mdash; the site's mission is to &quot;help anyone learn anything.&quot; Boasting over 35,000 MOOCs and over 8 million minutes of educational video content, it's something of an education supermarket. Web development? Check. Guitar? Check. Yoga? Check. You can download courses onto your device and view them offline, view them at your own pace, and take them in over 80 languages.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $0-$24 (If it's not already free, first course is $24.)</p> <h3>3. Coursera</h3> <p>While Udemy's courses are created by individual instructors, <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=388822.5&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0">Coursera</a> partners with universities and organizations. Here's how Coursera works: You enroll in a course &mdash; anything from Arts and Humanities to Data Science to Social Sciences &mdash; choose the free option to access videos, discussions, practice assignments, and view-only graded assignments. Then choose to earn a course certificate, pay a fee, and get access to graded assignments. You need to submit the assignments to earn the certificate. Now, Coursera offers specializations in subjects ranging from business, tech, data, and general interest. You have to earn certificates to specialize.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free</p> <p><strong>Cost for certificate</strong>: $30-$100</p> <h3>4. Udacity</h3> <p>Founded by former VP of Google Simon Thrun, <a href="https://www.udacity.com/">Udacity</a> was the first MOOC. According to Udacity, &quot;Education is no longer a one-time event, but a lifelong experience.&quot; The site's course emphasis is on tech, science, and math. Google, Facebook, and AT&amp;T are just some of the companies who have developed courses for Udacity. Learn how to develop your own app, or learn about robotics. You can take free courses, or opt to pay for a &quot;nanodegree.&quot; Now, Udacity is offering to refund half the cost of the nanodegree if you graduate within 12 months. They also guarantee you'll get a job.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free</p> <p><strong>Cost for nanodegree</strong>: $200/month</p> <h3>5. EdX</h3> <p>EdX offers courses ranging from computer science, languages, engineering, psychology, writing, electronics, biology, all the way to marketing. The only non-profit, open source MOOC platform, EdX was founded in 2012 by Harvard and MIT. <a href="http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2013/10/2/edx-id-verified-certificates/">In 2013</a>, EdX debuted its three-tiered certification system. You can take any course for free as an audit, choose to earn a certificate based on performance, or pay and earn an &quot;ID-verified&quot; certificate &mdash; a credit for doing well and being who you say you are. You can also choose to pay more than the required price for certification in case you're feeling generous. Some courses may not have the verified certificate option.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free</p> <p><strong>Cost for ID-verified certificate:</strong> Varies per course</p> <h3>6. FutureLearn</h3> <p>Owned by the UK's massive The Open University (one of only three foreign universities accredited in America), <a href="https://www.futurelearn.com/">FutureLearn</a> partners with 82 organizations worldwide. This global emphasis means a different perspective than US-based MOOCs (but as an editorial note, American universities take pride in their borderless perspectives).</p> <p>Future Learn is onboard with the rest in charging for certification, which they call a &quot;Statement of Participation.&quot; Like EdX, Coursera, and Udemy, you merely have to ask yourself what you want to learn. Chances are Future Learn's got it. As a side note, now you can take a course from Sheffield University on &quot;How to Write Your First Song.&quot; No guarantees you'll be able to write more.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free</p> <p><strong>Cost for Statement of Participation</strong>: Varies per course</p> <h2>Specializations</h2> <p>Simply put, if you know what you want to learn, MOOCs aren't your only option. And diversity in sources for education is important. Here are three online courses in some of the most money-relevant modern subjects. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-get-a-legit-business-education-online?ref=seealso">3 Ways to Get a Legit Business Education Online</a>)</p> <h3>7. Excel University</h3> <p>No wonder being an accountant is certain to fetch you a reliable income. Accountants can use <a href="http://store.excel-university.com/">Excel University</a> to learn shortcuts and tricks and continue their required professional education. But the program is more than an accounting tool. It's in offices everywhere. If you want to learn how to use the ubiquitous Excel program more efficiently and proficiently, you can take the &quot;lite&quot; version of Excel University's course. Also, the site provides a free evaluation course, so you can sample before you buy.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $0-$499.00</p> <h3>8. American Graphics Institute UX Training</h3> <p>Learning website and app design will make you indispensable in today's connected world. <a href="https://www.agitraining.com/ux/classes">AGI's User Experience Design Training</a> lets you ask your teacher a question in real-time and receive the answer as soon as they know it. The instructors are the articulate, knowledgeable authors of the <em>Dummies</em> and <em>Digital Classroom</em> books. AGI puts a premium on usability. You can request a headset to communicate with your instructor, or simply use your computer's microphone. Just be aware that this course is not self-paced.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $495.00-$795.00, depending on course </strong></p> <h3>9. Edureka Big Data and Hadoop</h3> <p>Edureka is an alternative learning program offering a course in the field of big data. Specifically, this course will enable you to use <a href="https://www.appnovation.com/blog/hadoop-kids-cartoon">Hadoop</a>. Hadoop is an open source software project that lets you sort through and use the reams of data we generate on the web.</p> <p>For example, Facebook uses Hadoop to process user information and pinpoint how to improve algorithms. Credit card companies use it to identify and prevent fraud. Big Data and Hadoop are virtually everywhere in tech-savvy business, and data scientists are in high demand. Through Edureka's online program, you'll begin to get a handle on this huge field through live, interactive courses with 24/7 support.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $389</p> <p><em>Any other frugal online tools that provide additional education? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daniel-matthews">Daniel Matthews</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-cheap-ways-to-increase-your-knowledge-and-earning-potential">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-get-paid-to-learn">6 Ways to Get Paid to Learn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-a-computer-more-efficiently">How to Use a Computer More Efficiently</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-invest-in-yourself">Great Ways to Invest in Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-fun-activities-to-help-you-tighten-up-your-work-skills">9 Fun Activities to Help You Tighten Up Your Work Skills</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/download-a-yale-lecture-more-universities-offer-courses-to-the-public">Download A Yale Lecture: More Universities Offer Courses To The Public</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Extra Income continuing education free classes free online classes low cost classes online tools skills Mon, 18 Apr 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Daniel Matthews 1691406 at http://www.wisebread.com