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Congratulations, college graduate! You’ve just completed an important milestone in your life.
So now it’s time to face reality. If you had financial help along the way, it won’t be long before those you owe come knocking.
The student loan debt won’t pay itself. So, you’ll need to quickly figure out how to take care of monthly obligations once the repayment period starts.
Here are a few helpful tips to consider when managing your debt:
1. Do the math
Know what you owe, or it will be impossible to develop a practical debt reduction plan. To get organized, Forbes suggests you:
Compile a list of all your loans, including the name, Web address and contact information for the lender, the loan ID number, the current loan balance, the interest rate and the date the first payment is due. FinAid’s Student Loan Checklist can help you organize this information.
2. Come up with a plan of action
Once you have determined how much you owe, create a realistic spending plan that allows you to take care of monthly obligations, including student loan and credit card debt. That way, you will have a plan for every dollar before it even hits your bank account.
When listing projected expenses, remember that living in the real world is a lot more expensive than college life. It may be a little tough to adjust, especially considering all the new bills. But hang in there.
If you are starting off with a decent salary, be careful not to exhaust all of your income each month. Instead, save for a rainy day and allocate any additional disposable income to outstanding debt balances.
What if you graduated debt-free? Save as much as you can, because you never know when a little cash will help you get through hard times, or allow you to explore new opportunities.