EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The average student loan debt for college graduates is about 37,000 dollars. But there are ways to successfully manage your finances without feeling overwhelmed.
It seems higher education and debt go hand in hand as 62 percent of college graduates have student loan debt, and it can cause a lot of stress.
However, even with rising interest rates, there are still ways to avoid major debt and reduce it if you’ve already accumulated some.
Eyewitness News spoke to a financial expert about what you should know when it comes to student loans and credit card balances.
“It concerns me but not to the point where I’m worrying about it all the time,” said Hirali Patel of the University of Scranton.
21-year-old Hirali Patel is a senior at the University of Scranton and by the time she graduates in May, she’ll have about $50,000 in student loan debt to repay.
“The goal is to take it out of my paycheck as I start in the future,” added Patel.
When it comes to student loans, interest starts accruing on day one, that’s why Amy Branning of People’s Security Bank and Trust advises young adults to budget wisely while in college.
“Try to pay that interest on student loans throughout your college career. If you can keep up with that, when you get out of college your principal coming off deferment your payment won’t be as large and you may be able to pay it off much quicker,” explained Amy Branning the V.P. of Peoples Security Bank and Trust.
As a college student being cost-effective can help you live within your budget. For instance, buy used books, cook meals at home, live with roommates, and most importantly have only one credit card.
While Patel has several credit cards, she pays the balance in full monthly, a sound financial tip Amy Branning strongly recommends.
“I’ve had a good credit score since I’ve had a credit card these last 2 or 3 years, so I try to keep that up because I know I’m gonna need it in the future if I buy a house,” Patel continued.
“If you can pay extra, pay extra, but definitely, make minimum monthly payments. You have a 7-10 day grace period, but definitely pay before 30 days is up. So it’s not impacting your credit score,” Branning added
Besides making an extra payment, another tip for paying off loans and credit card balances is to consolidate your multiple, high-interest loans and credit card debts. It reduces interest rates and monthly payments to make the payoff more manageable.
Also, you can refinance. Exchange your current federal and private student loans for a single loan at a lower interest rate. Hopefully, with these tips, young adults can complete their studies without feeling burdened by heavy debt.