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Managing Your Student Loans Wisely: A Great and Unique Gift for Mother’s Day

By: Brittany Frost

What greater gift is there than the joy of seeing your child become financially responsible and independent throughout and after their college years? If you are looking for a unique and great gift to give your mother on May 8th for Mother’s Day this year, consider the gift of managing your student loans wisely. Instead of spending money on the gift, you’ll be saving it. Managing your student loans during and after college can help you avoid extra costs and interest as well as reduce your overall debt. Saving money and achieving your financial goals is not only a great gift to the mothers who are able to contribute to their child’s education, but also for the mothers who so desperately want to help but don’t have the means to do so. Here are a few tips to manage your student loans wisely this Mother’s Day:

 

• Before you even take out a student loan, apply for as many scholarships and grants as possible. This alone can save you (and your mom) a lot of money. Visit your school’s website or www.studentaid.ed.gov to view federal grants and scholarships.

• If you still need a loan, research loan types and repayment plans to make an informed decision. In general, federal student loans can have more repayment options and lower interest rates than private student loans. For more information on federal student loans and repayment plans as well as budgeting resources and calculators, visit www.studentaid.ed.gov.

• Budget and plan ahead. For more help budgeting for your student loans, contact Christian Credit Counselors at www.christiancreditcounselors.org.

• Use other free resources. According to the recent article Baylor University Partners with iGrad to Implement Online Financial Literacy Education Initiative by Jo-Carolyn Goode, Baylor will team up with iGrad, a financial literacy leader, to offer interactive workshops about budgets, scholarships, student loans, applying for jobs to help students pay for school, and a seminar for seniors to discuss loan payment options after graduation through iGrad’s financial literacy platform. For more information, visit www.igrad.com.

• When repaying your loan, consider an automatic payment deduction to save money on your payment. Also, put as much money as you can toward your payments. Each extra dollar paid toward your student loan payment each month can help overall.

• Since it is tax season, remember that student loan interest is tax-deductible and there are credits and deductions for parents and students. According to the College Board in Danielle Douglas-Gabriel’s article in the Washington Post entitled Paying for college? Have student loans? Here’s what you need to know before filing your taxes, the average family saved about $1,460 in education credits and deductions in 2013. To research various options of increasing your savings through tax credits and deductions such as the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Student Loan Interest Deduction, refer to www.irs.gov. See how much you can save!

By using these tips and managing your student loans responsibly, you will not only save money but you will provide valuable peace of mind for you and your mother. That’s something that you won’t be able to buy at the Hallmark store!

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Charity, Community

Give Back to your Community

Make Tomorrow a Good Day

Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day, and I must admit, I love pulling pranks on people, but instead spend your time and energy into making a difference in your community. Instead of plotting pranks, invest your time into thinking about how you can give back and help people in need. This is NOT an April Fool’s joke. You will be helping out your community, while feeding your soul. It feels good, trust me.

One of the easiest things you can do is donate to a charity. There are many local charities that would appreciate your support. Sometimes people feel like since they can’t donate a lot, that a few dollars won’t help, but it definitely will! A little goes a long way, but if you can’t afford to donate here are other ways you can give back.

Volunteer!

Lend a helping hand by using sites such as volunteermatch.org to find volunteer opportunities that suit your interests/skills. This is an easy way to filter and find the types of causes that you are passionate about helping.

Donate!

From clothing to books, you can donate anything that you no longer use. Drop off your items at a local Goodwill or Salvation Army location. Donate your old books and magazines to schools, shelters, or your local library.

Give!

You can give canned goods you already have in your pantry to local food banks. Since the economic downturn, people aren’t donating as much, so give what you can to help feed the hungry. Visit feedingamerica.org to find your local food bank. See how we are helping feed America!

What are you currently doing to give back to your community?

Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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