Student Debt Woes—Managing Finances and Curing Debt in the "Real World"

By Aniya Wells

There are few things more terrifying than entering the world of financial responsibility for the first time. Many of us truly enter this adult world after graduating college and earning a degree towards our career. Of course, upon graduating from college and entering the world of financial responsibility, we are also faced with paying off student loan debt and landing a job in the most challenging job market in decades. It can be an extremely overwhelming time for any individual. While debt is always a stressful thing to cope with, it can be especially so for those who are completely new to the process. Use these tips and guidelines to better manage your student debt right out of college and become a fully functioning "real world" citizen.

Do Your Research

Before you can fully tackle difficult student debt it is essential that you educate yourself on your debt situation and how student loan repayment works. Yes, this may mean spending sometime outside of your college campus looking through documents and studying papers, but it's well worth it. Do your research some. Figure out what the terms of your student loan or loans are. When is the grace period of your loan over? Just how much are you going to have to pay each month? What do your interest rates look like? These are all essential questions that you need to be able to answer before you start paying off your loan. Take the time to look through your loan agreement. There may be some things in the print that surprise you and most loan agreements work to provide a general explanation of how loan repayment works.

Meet that Minimum

Once you've done your research on when you need to start paying your loan and what your minimum balance should be, the next step is actually making the payments. You should be sure to always meet that minimum balance. While this can feel completely impossible at times, try to take a close look at your finances and see where you can improve your budgeting. Many people put loan repayment as a last factor in their budgeting plans—this is the wrong way to go about things. Try to get yourself out of debt first, spend and get where you want to be in other financial matters later. It is recommended to try to meet that minimum payment amount each month along with as much extra as you're willing to spare. Even just five or ten dollars more a payment can make a huge difference in the long run.

Stay Current

Be sure that you are staying up to date and current with the news and policies concerning student loan debt. With so many young Americans finding themselves head under water the day after graduation, the government and many loan agencies are working to help the young generation. There are new government pardons and subsidies that are put in place to help out current "real world" adults dealing with student loan debt. Things can change in legislation that may affect your payments, so try to stay up to date on all things student debt.

Author Bio:
Aniya Wells particularly loves reading and writing about online education, although her interests span different niches as well, including personal finance, parenting, sustainable living, and more. Accredited online degree programs are hard to find in the online morass of scams, so Aniya's ultimate goal is to help her readers figure out the maze of online education. She can be reached for questions or comments at


My College Credit Card Debt Mistake

Guest Post by Christine Kane

I have not had a credit card in over 10 years. I have chosen this path because I learned an important lesson at a young age. I was a freshman in College learning the ins and outs like how to sleep with your eyes open during lecture. When I wasn’t mastering this art form I was enjoying living the fine life with weekend road trips, new clothes, fine dining, parties and concerts.

Like most Colleges that first week of school when doe eyed freshman arrive, there are lot of on campus things to attend. Most colleges have a meeting where students can find new clubs, organizations and programs to become a part of. Roaming these halls are bankers and credit card givers.

I was approached by a charming fellow just a few years older than me. He offered me a credit card and I declined because I had heard from my family that is what I needed to do. After I said no, he persisted with his sales pitch of the credit card. Except, I didn’t realize it was sales pitch. These words that flowed from his mouth were music to my ears. Promises of low interest rate (what’s that? I had no idea), easy to use, use it for beer, books and gas. SOLD. I signed up and signed my credit score life away.

This little piece of plastic became my study, party and shopping buddy. I didn’t really know the limit or what would happen if the limit was exceeded. I didn’t know understand that paying the minimum wasn’t good. I had no idea, because no one told me.

6 months past and before I knew it I had accumulated almost 4,000 dollars of debt. Oops. What now? I panicked and when the card stopped working and the calls started coming, I did what any 18 year old girl does, I cried. I knew had to make that dreaded phone call home to explain that their scholarly daughter had in fact made a very uneducated financial move.

After a few lectures and a few ‘pull you out of school’ threats, we all calmed down. Thank goodness I was lucky to have parents that could afford to help me out of my mistake. They took the card and paid it off. I got job and to pay them back, plus interest, of course.

My advice to parents or young college students. Educate yourself on credit cards. Parents sit down with your child and explain the basics behind it. Students avoid the smooth talking men and pretty woman with shiny cards. Don’t ruin your credit like I did. And if you are in debt, don’t be afraid to ask for help from anyone whether they are your financial adviser or parent.

Author Bio:
Christine Kane from internet service providers, she is a graduate of Communication and Journalism. She enjoys writing about a wide-variety of subjects for different blogs. She can be reached via email at: Christi.Kane00 @


Small business and credit cards

Guest Post by Carolyn Knight

It might seem like small businesses have no need for credit cards. They’re supposed to be making money, and they can always go out and get a loan so there’s no reason they would benefit from a credit card, right? That’s definitely not the case. Small businesses can benefit in all kinds of ways when they use credit cards the right way. If you’re on the fence about implementing credit cards in your small business read on to find out some of the advantages that will benefit you:

Best way to track spending

If you’re a business owner you know how hard it can be to consolidate your books at the end of the year. You have to go through all the receipts from your expenses for the year and match them up to make sure you aren’t leaving anything out. If you use a credit card for purchases the tracking will be quite simple. All you have to do is go through your prior statements and you’ll know exactly how much was spent and where. A credit card will make it easy to track your expenses throughout the year.


Like consumer credit cards, you can often get some kind of reward for your purchases made on business credit cards. You can get everything from cash back to points to airline miles, depending on the card and your business needs. If you’re going to be spending money it only makes sense that you should get some of that back in the form of rewards. Business credit cards are the perfect way to get a return on the expenditures you’re going to make either way.

Track employee spending

Depending on your business, you might have employees that need to make purchases on a regular basis. If you get a business credit card you can have duplicates made for your employees and track how much they’re using the card. This will help you keep their spending under control, and it will also help you identify areas where your profits are being lost unnecessarily.

Build credit

If you’re just starting out in business it’s unlikely that you’ll have enough business credit to take out a significant loan. It’s hard to build credit if you can’t borrow, but you can achieve the same effect by using a business credit card. The barriers to entry for getting a credit card are much lower than they are with getting a big loan. Once you have your credit built up you will be able to get money in loans much easier.

Businesses can benefit from credit cards just as much as consumers. You should consider getting a credit card for your business if it would help any of the areas above.

Author Bio:
Carolyn is a guest writer on the topics of business and credit cards. She is also an expert on order management software that works with Shopify, 3dcart, and BigCommerce.


4 Tips for Helping your Partner Get out of Debt

Guest Post by Maria Rainier

If there is one thing in common that almost all American adults have is that they carry with them at least some personal debt. In fact, it's very often the case that what brings us together are the hardships—financial and otherwise—that we've endured over the years. Many adults, after becoming very involved in their respective romantic relationships, decide to pool together finances. Whether this means simply living together and sharing related costs, or going as far as to take on a partner's debts, deciding to entangle yourselves in each other's finances is a huge step. Here are some things to consider before helping your partner tackle his or her debts, or vice-versa.

1. Be completely honest about your debts as soon you get serious about your relationship.

There's nothing worse than being with a person romantically for several years, perhaps even approaching marriage, when your partner suddenly discloses the enormous pile of debt they've accrued over the years. Of course, when you love someone deeply enough, you'll do anything for them. But to be fair to your partner, and for your partner to be fair to you, it's important to be as honest as possible as soon as possible so that you can begin managing each other's debts.

2. Help control each other's discretionary spending.

One of the main reasons that most adults cannot control their debts incurred before marriage is that they don't make it a priority. Once you both become privy to your respective debts, you can help each other out by making a joint budget that allows each of you to pay off more than the monthly minimum on different loans and debts. If you aren't committed enough yet to where you are actually paying off your partner's debts, you can, at the very least, help each other prioritize your debts by controlling your monthly expenses.

3. Don't jeopardize your future to help your partner get out of serious financial trouble.

Perhaps one of the main reasons that married or otherwise committed couples end up splitting is over serious financial troubles. If you go so far as to cover all or a significant portion of your partner's debts, and in the process you incur significant debt yourself, the end result will only be mountains of resentment. Of course, if you can afford to help your partner out, then by all means do so, if you feel that the commitment warrants that sort of generosity. However, if you hurt yourself financially in the process, be wary.

4. Establish a long-term repayment plan.

If you do end up paying for a reasonable portion of your partner's debts, or if your partner pays for yours, set up a repayment plan that you can stick to. For example, my brother paid for about $4,000 of his then-fiancée's student loans. This ended up being a great idea, just because now she owed him, instead of a debt company that would charge her significant amounts of interest. Now, four years into their marriage, she's paid him back completely and they are both well on their way to being debt-free.
It's terrible that finances can have a huge, mostly adverse, impact on personal relationships. But if you're careful, you and your partner can use your relationship and teamwork skills to both relieve your debt load. Good luck!

Author Bio:
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online colleges, online degrees etc. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Ban Uncontrollable Spending for Good

Guest Post by Lauren Bailey

6 Steps to Shopping Addiction Recovery

It is an unfortunate reality that many Americans and citizens across the world have found themselves in debt and living beyond their means. As common as this is, though, suffering from an actual shopping addiction is quite a separate issue, and it can leave hugely detrimental marks on your finances. If you have found yourself compulsively spending and you need to break the cycle, here are some easy steps to help start the process.

1.  Admit you have a problem and seek the help of a counselor.
As anyone who has struggled with an addiction issue knows, the hardest part about the process is completely admitting to yourself that you have a problem that is out of your control. The next step is admitting you need help. Remember, if you could help yourself, you would have done it already! Make an appointment with a counselor or psychologist to talk about the issue and get some guidance about ways to move forward.

2.  Cut up Your Credit Card
The first step to financial freedom after putting yourself in damaging debt is to give up your credit card, once and for all. Pay for purchases with cash, check or debit only.

3.  Find Shopping Alternatives

The compulsion to shop is not going to simply go away because you realized you are addicted. In fact, your need to shop will probably grow the more you try to fight it. Make a list of activities that you can do in place of shopping, so you have plenty of options handy.

4.  Bring a Shopping List Every Time
If you want to control what you buy, then you need to figure out exactly what you need, and only purchase those items. Make a list of items you need to purchase every time you shop, whether it is for clothing or groceries, and stick to it.

5.  Change Your Lifestyle
Keeping up the same routine as you had before you started dealing with your addiction will not help your recovery process. Instead, think of this as a time to change up the way you live. Drive a different way to work, eat out at different restaurants, and add activities that you never did before to your weekly schedule.

6.  Bring a Friend
When in doubt, bring a friend. Find someone you can trust to support your through your recovery process and call them when you feel the urge to shop, or when you have to go shopping and feel afraid you will overspend.

Author Bio:
Lauren Bailey regularly writes for online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: blauren99

The 3-Step Guide to Building an Emergency Fund

Guest Post by Jane Smith

Tax return season is upon us.  For some this is good news, but for many it means it's about time to dip into their savings to write the government a substantial check.  We'd all like to get huge refunds every year, but the reality is that many people pay $1,000 or more a year after their tax returns are filed.

And though it should be a fact of life by now, tax returns always seem to take us by surprise — and then leave us fretting over how to pay the taxes we owe.

Of course, taxes aren't the only expense that would have you digging in the couch cushions (metaphorically or literally) for some extra cash.  Medical bills, automotive maintenance or repairs, home repairs, and other kinds of catastrophic events, however unlikely, are always possible, which is why it is so imperative to have an emergency fund.

You've probably heard of an emergency fund before, and you probably think they're a great idea.  But, if you're like the majority of Americans, you don't have one, and you find yourself stretched dangerously thin whenever something unexpected happens.

There's no way to plan around emergencies, but there is a way to prepare for one, and if you've ever been through one you'll know that the first thing they affect is your wallet.

Knowing you should have an emergency fund and knowing how to start one, however, are two very different things.  Here's a brief guide to get you started, so you'll be ready for this year's tax return, or any other emergency this year:

1.  Calculate your monthly spending and then multiply by six.  This figure represents how much you should have in your emergency fund at all times.  Essentially, you want to have enough to cover any expense you'd normally make for six months without any additional income.  Imagine that you are injured or ill and are unable to work at all for a month or two.  Your bills wouldn't disappear just because you weren't making money, so you'd have to have an alternative way of paying them.  Having six months of income saved might seem excessive, but you know the old saying: Better safe than sorry.

2.  Devise your saving strategy.  There's no one way to correctly save money; as long as you're saving, it doesn't really matter how it happens.  You can put it in a shoe and still be making progress if that works for you.  However, if you have no idea where to begin consider making monthly deposits into a separate savings account that you never use (except in real emergencies of course).  Think of it like a direct deposit to your future self.  You'll thank yourself later, even if it seems unnecessary now.

3.  Use sparingly and responsibly.  Often times when people begin saving money they make withdrawals too frequently for things that really aren't emergencies.  Use discretion and common sense when deciding what qualifies as an emergency; take out only what you need; and be sure to replenish what you take out as soon as you can.
Author Bio:
Jane Smith from background check is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. Questions and comments can be sent to: janesmth161 @


Best 5 Books on Debt

Guest Post by Laura Backes

Perusing the financial self-help isle at your local book store can be overwhelming. Not only because of the amount of books but the amount of debt that got you to that dreaded self-help isle. Debt is not a foreign concept, lots of Americans struggle with credit card debt but not to worry there are books that can help you, here are a few:

The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke by Suze Orman

Suze Orman is every college student’s nightmare; consider her as no nonsense financial professor teaching you lessons about post grad life. This book is to help the young professionals with a small salary and student debt. Don’t let the title fool you, this book can help those who are older as well.

Your Money or Your Life: Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

This self help guide not only teaches you how to get out of debt and face the real issues but it puts your life back in to your hands. In 9 steps, this book shows you how to take control and learn to live life with your money and not the other way around.

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey

The not so sensitive financial guru Dave Ramsey, helps you find the source of your debt problem, you. This book teaches you what to do and what no to do. Listen to him and you are bound to get out of debt and it may not be the easy road but remember slow and steady wins the race.

How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously by Jerrold Mundis

A breath of fresh air is what this book brings to the table. Based on the successful practices of national Debtors Anonymous program you are able to relate to the millions of other Americans suffering from the paycheck to paycheck living and the relentless debt collectors. An easy and simple read, a must buy immediately.

The Ten Commandments of Money by Liz Weston

This book is realizing that today’s economy isn’t the easiest, the costs are going up and you aren’t making enough. The ten financial commandments that Liz Weston goes over will help you set a budget and stick to it, look at your options for the future and how you can control your own debt crisis.

So become a book worm and start reading. You will learn a few things that will help and guide you to financial happiness. All of these books can be found at your local bookstore or online. Happy reading and happy saving!

Author Bio:

Laura Backes enjoys writing about all kinds of subjects and also topics related to internet service in my area.  You can reach her at: laurabackes8 @


4 Smart Ways to Use Your Income Tax Return

Guest Post by Katheryn Rivas

It may be a little early in the year to be talking about income taxes and, no doubt, it's the last thing any of us want to think about at this point, but thinking ahead about these things is the first step in strong financial management. As tax return season slowly approaches, we have visions of wonderful ways to spend that money for our financial betterment. Some of us think about tucking that cash away under our mattress for a rainy day or putting it in the stock market to hopefully make a quick buck. While of these are both options, they are probably not the wisest ones. More of us dream of shopping sprees and home improvements with our tax refunds. However, there are many other ways you can utilize your tax refund that will be smarter and more productive for your financial health. Consider these four options this year. 

Add to Your Life Insurance

For many of us, putting our tax return towards our life insurance is the last thing we consider. However, adding to your life insurance from this money can be a very wise plan for certain people. If you own a home or have children, your life insurance coverage should be about eight to ten times your annual income. While this may sound extreme, it is an important thing to consider. Try using your tax return towards gaining the right amount of life insurance. This is a good way to invest in the important things like your family and loved ones. 

Lighten Your Debt

Obviously, using your tax return toward your debt is a smart option. If you are able to make it through the year without that chunk of money, you can probably put it toward something more productive than your spending account. Rather than continually paying the minimum amount on your credit card bill, try putting your tax return money toward that bill to pay a larger chunk of it off. Paying the minimum can cause big problems if you have a high interest rate. Those interest rates can sneak up on you and eventually cost you more money than you expect. 

Get an Energy Audit

A home energy audit can help you pinpoint where it is you are losing money in your home. This audit can be an expensive thing to get done, but it can end up saving you a significant amount in the long run. Put your tax refund money towards lowering your regular energy bills and improving your home's livability and resale value. 

Invest in Your Self in the Right Way

While many of us use our tax refunds to invest in ourselves in one way or another (new clothes, new furnishings, etc.), there are better ways to improve ourselves using that money. Try investing in your career by spending that money one furthering your education. You can take classes to get a higher degree or to obtain a specific certification that can put you in a new pay level at work. By investing in your education and career, you have the potential to earn more money later in your life and you will make yourself more valuable.

Author Bio:
Katheryn Rivas writes for online universities blog.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id:


Paying Medical Bills with Credit Cards, is it a Smart Choice?

Guest Post by Eliza Morgan

Those who really fear credit card debt are usually cautious when it comes to making future purchases. For example, if a couple knows they want a new TV for the living room, they'll usually save for a few months and then pay for a new TV with cash. But not everything can be so calculated, especially when it comes to your health.

Sometimes you get sick out of nowhere, and even if you're insured, getting billed for medical expenses is one of the easiest ways for someone to get into debt (or deeper debt). Think about it: one single trip to the emergency room can set you back $200 for someone with insurance. If this was an unexpected expense and you don’t have enough money in your account, what will you do? Charge it on your credit card. Depending on how quickly you can pay it back will determine how much interest you will accumulate. In fact, according to the most recent statistics, nearly 21 million Americans accrued credit card debt in 2008 due to using their cards to pay for medical bills. While health is important and unpredictable, there are some things you should consider first before using your credit card to seek temporary relief.

1. Negotiate with your Doctor/Hospital. First things first, it's always important that you speak up front that you may not be able to afford whatever procedure or test that the physician says you need. If it's an emergency situation the physician will go ahead and do the procedure, but they will be more willing to give you a discounted rate or work out some sort of payment plan (some charge interest; others do not). Either case, you are not obligated to pay any sort of out-of-pocket expenses up front so don’t be too tempted to put it on your credit card immediately. But if you discuss your financial situation from the beginning, the physician may be able to reduce your bill in some area, whether it's with the anesthesiologist if you've had surgery or with your medications.

2. Know who is more likely to Report to Credit Bureaus. If you put your medical bills on your credit card and then can't find a way to pay off your credit card bill, you will undoubtedly be contacted by a bill collector. From there, the appropriate crediting bureaus will be notified as well and your discrepancy will negatively be placed on your credit report and affect your credit score. While you do in fact want to pay off your medical bills at sometime, it's important to know that rarely do physicians and hospitals actually report to collection agencies (as opposed to credit card companies that do it almost immediately). In fact, various sources say that only.07% of medical businesses actually report their patients to bureaus. Most just write off any losses.

3. Get a Health Savings Account. Lastly, a great way to be better prepared for these kinds of unexpected medical expenses to acquire a health savings account (HSA). Most health insurance companies require a high deductible (about $1,500 for a single) to establish one through your plan but they can really be a life saver and help you be debt free. How it works: a portion of your paycheck (prior to taxes) is put into your HSA each month. You can build the money in your account tax free as well. You are then issued a debit card and can use that card strictly for paying for medical expenses, such as when paying off co-pays, medications, and remaining balances you may have on a surgery. It takes out the temptation of using a small portion of your savings for something other than medical uses. Your balance moves from year to year and works as an IRA after 65, so it can be invested.

Author Bio:
Eliza Morgan is a full time blogger. She specializes in writing about business credit cards. You can reach her at: elizamorgan856 at gmail dot com.


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