How to Repay Student Loans When You Don’t Know Where to Start

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How to Repay Student Loans When You Don’t Know Where to Start
If you graduated from college this year, congratulations!  Also, your first student loan payment is due. (Cue sad trombone.) If you borrowed federal student loans to cover your college expenses, you get a six-month grace period from Uncle Sam before he starts pestering you for payment. If it’s any comfort (I know, it isn’t), you’re not the only one who owes. Outstanding student loan debt clocked in at $1.48 trillion in the second quarter of 2019, according to the New York Federal Reserve. It’s easy enough to feel overwhelmed — you just graduated, started that first job (hopefully), moved out of your parents’ place and into your own (maybe).  But besides the obvious benefit — getting out of debt — making on-time student loan payments will reflect well on your credit score, which will follow you long after your dorm life memories have faded.  Ready to tackle that student loan debt? Good, let’s get started. A Guide to Student Loan Repayment  When you’re ready to start repaying your student loans, it’s best to create a plan to avoid wasting time, money and energy. Here’s what you need to do before you make that first payment. 1. Know How Much You Owe and Who You Owe If you’re like most grads, you took out multiple student loans over your multi-year college career — the average borrower has 3.7 student loans, according to a 2017 Experian report.  So it’s best to start organizing by figuring out who you owe, how much you owe and when it’s due. Oh, and interest rate is important, too. Need some help figuring it all out? Then check out this article that explains how to find out how much you owe in student loans. 2. Pay Off Your Interest Before the End of Your Grace Period If you have the cash, pay off at least the accrued interest on your federal student loans before your grace period runs out. It can save you a bundle of money by helping you avoid interest capitalization — when the interest gets lumped in with your principal amount and you start getting charged interest on the total amount. Wondering where to find extra money before the deadline? Consider taking up a side hustle to make some extra cash to throw toward the payment. 3. Come Up With a Plan… a Repayment Plan Didn’t land that six-figure job — or maybe any job? Rather than sticking your head in the sand and avoiding your student loan payments, you need to ask for help. That means getting yourself on an income-driven repayment plan. These plans cap your monthly payment typically somewhere between 10% and 20% of your discretionary income. Contact the loan servicer for your loan to find out which plans you can qualify for. 4. Think About Forgiveness It’s possible that you can get your student loans forgiven. But it’s not easy or fast… or likely (cue the second sad trombone). But if you work in specific fields — like teaching or nursing — you could be eligible for loan forgiveness after a set number of years. There are typically a lot of hoops to jump through — including making sure your loan repayment program and your employer qualify — so be sure you know the requirements of your forgiveness program. FROM THE DEBT FORUM Balance transfer credit card 11/27/19 @ 6:39 PM Credit card Debt 11/19/19 @ 3:56 PM Student loans 11/20/19 @ 2:17 PM Debt collections 11/23/19 @ 5:57 PM See more in Debt or ask a money question 5. Avoid Delinquency and Default Remember that part where I told you not to stick your head in the sand? This is why: If you miss your payment by even one day, your federal loan becomes delinquent. If you’ve missed payments on your Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) or direct student loan for 270 days, your loan is considered to be in default. If you can’t afford your monthly payment due to unemployment or an approved economic hardship, you might qualify for deferment or forbearance. You can also qualify for deferment if you’re enrolled in an approved graduate fellowship program. During deferment, you won’t owe monthly payments on your federal loans and your subsidized loans won’t accrue interest (but all the rest will).  A high or good credit score allows you to qualify for better loans and credit cards with lower interest rates and more favorable terms. A poor credit score may not even qualify you for a loan. If you don’t qualify for deferment, the other option is forbearance, during which your lender allows you to stop making payments or reduces your monthly payments for up to one year. However, during forbearance, interest will continue accruing on all of your loans. Both options are only temporary fixes, and you’ll probably end up owing more money in the end. But at least you won’t wreck your credit score. 6. Consider Life After College (and Student Loans) It can be tough to see beyond that soul-crushing debt, but remembering that there is more to life than student loans is important for your financial future. First, while throwing every available dollar at your student loan might help you feel like you’re making progress in that arena, don’t sacrifice your present financial state by pillaging your emergency fund (you have one, right?). It’s there to cover those unexpected expenses — like a new set of tires or unexpected vet bill — without sending you into credit card debt.  Additionally, you shouldn’t sacrifice your future for today’s debts. Instead of paying every dollar toward student loans, start saving for your retirement now. With plenty of years to go, you’ll be able to build an impressive nest egg future you will thank you for.  Bonus: Socking away your money in a 401(k) or IRA reduces your taxable income. So if you do decide to apply for an income-driven repayment plan, the federal government won’t count the money you’re saving for retirement. Cue the big brass band. You deserve it. Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Read her bio and other work here, then catch her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Gamification via a Fintech ecosystem wins a UN Global Climate Action Award

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Gamification via a Fintech ecosystem wins a UN Global Climate Action Award
A 3yr old Corporate Social Responsibility – CSR – initiative that took a life of its own, has resulted in a 2019 UN Global Climate Action Award for Alipay AntForest App. A great example of gamification and network effects on an ecosystem like Alibaba. At launch, it was one of the many charity projects that […] The post Gamification via a Fintech ecosystem wins a UN Global Climate Action Award appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Stay In Other People’s Awesome Homes for Free With House-Sitting Gigs

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Stay In Other People’s Awesome Homes for Free With House-Sitting Gigs
Imagine sipping your morning coffee on a beautiful balcony looking out over the ocean. Later, you water the plants and clean up a bit before taking a dip in the pool. Oh, and you’re getting paid for taking care of this house!  It sounds too good to be true. Can you really find house-sitting jobs that pay? Yes and no. Yes, caretaking gigs that pay a salary or stipend in addition to providing you a place to stay do exist. But no, there aren’t many that fit the description above.  Most house-sitting opportunities fall into one of two categories: standard house-sitting gigs, or more demanding caretaking jobs. If you’re curious about getting free accommodation in interesting places (and maybe earning a little cash as well), here’s how to get started. Basic House-Sitting Jobs Many websites list house-sitting gigs, and a quick glance at the listings tells you right away that not many people are offering to pay their house sitters much — if anything. Normally, you get a nice place to stay, rent free. This might not sound like much of a money-making opportunity, but it depends on how you look at it. If your current lease is ending and you’ll get free rent somewhere for three months before moving into your next $1,000-per-month apartment, you’re $3,000 better off, right? Here are some of the online platforms where you can find the opportunities, along with their subscription rates: House Sitters America ($30 per year) Mind My House ($20 per year) Housecarers.com ($50 per year or free limited membership) Luxury House Sitting ($25 per year) Nomador ($89 per year or limited free membership) Some people make a lifestyle of house-sitting. Canadian couple Dalene & Peter Heck sold everything in 2009 to travel the world, staying in other people’s homes. Among other stays, they cared for homes in Honduras, France, Greenland, Tanzania and Namibia. After eight years of traveling, the couple settled back in Canada.  Sometimes you can get paid for basic house sitting. As House Sitters America explains: “The bottom line is it’s all negotiable between you and the homeowners. In most cases it’s just a straight swap; the house sitter cares for the house and pets in exchange for free accommodation… However there may be times when a homeowner will offer some money for the house sitting job.” The site offers examples of times a homeowner might pay you, including: When the house is in an undesirable location. For short sits (such as a few days). When there are many pets to care for. “Of course, there are also many professional house and pet sitters who actually do this for a living, and they will charge a fee for their services,” the site adds. How do these professionals get paid? Usually they offer a bit more than simply staying in the house and making sure no one breaks in.  Caretaking Jobs In general, you’ll get a stipend or salary if you’re doing more than just watching a home. In these cases, you’re more of a caretaker than a house-sitter. One of the best sources for these types of jobs is The Caretaker Gazette, which has been around for more than 35 years. They have the usual listings of free places to stay, but they also host advertisements from people who are willing to pay you. In their archives (which you can see for free) I found the following three examples in one issue: 1. In a small town in Alaska, someone was hiring a caretaker to manage a small store and two apartments and do monthly home heating oil deliveries. Pay: A small apartment with all bills covered, TV, Wi-Fi, salary (unspecified) and bonuses. 2. Near Colorado Springs, Colorado, an ad requested a couple or single person to care for a ranch with five horses. Pay: Salary (unspecified) and a furnished apartment. 3. An ad from Nassau, in the Bahamas, wanted a “house couple” to keep house, plan events, run errands and much more. Pay: A place to stay and “$100,000 to $120,000 per year.”  Clearly these are jobs, not just house-sitting, but they suggest the variety offerings found in the Caretaker Gazette. Of the 100 or so postings in that one issue of their newsletter, there were opportunities all over the U.S. as well as in a dozen other countries, including Peru, Australia and Iceland. Are You Qualified to House-Sit?  A good house-sitter is responsible, reliable and adaptable. If you’re looking to get more than just free accommodation, it helps to also have some mechanical skills. For example, more than one caretaking gig I found in my research required someone with basic plumbing skills, like being able to fix a leaking sink drain. You’ll have competition, by the way, even for the basic house-sitting jobs. At the moment Mind My House shows 302 active house-sitting assignments, but more than 4,300 “sitter available” listings.  In other words, clients get to be choosy, so experience is a plus. To build some, you might start by house-sitting for family and friends. Be sure to get glowing testimonials from them to add to your resume. Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. He’s been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror, and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far). This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Boat Loan Calculator: Estimate Your Payments

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Boat Loan Calculator: Estimate Your Payments
If you need a boat loan to cover the purchase of a new or used boat, a loan calculator can help you determine what size or type of vessel you can afford. Use this boat loan calculator to estimate the cost of a personal loan used to finance a boat. Enter your expected loan amount,... Steve Nicastro is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: steven.n@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @StevenNicastro. The article Boat Loan Calculator: Estimate Your Payments originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Tokenized Venture Capital

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Tokenized Venture Capital
Tokenization has the power to impact the entire VC industry, from the way venture capital is raised, to the way it is invested in startups and projects. In an interview by David Sacks, the former PayPal COO, said: “I think Limited Partner interests are likely to be tokenized, along with most other illiquid assets. Eventually, […] The post Tokenized Venture Capital appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Singapore opens doors for digital banking boom in South East Asia

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Singapore opens doors for digital banking boom in South East Asia
Earlier this year, Hongkong offered digital banking licenses to Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi. Therefore, it is not surprising to hear that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) are opening up their doors to digital banks too. Applications are open for firms wanting to set up a digital bank in Singapore. The deadline for applications is […] The post Singapore opens doors for digital banking boom in South East Asia appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Is Your Car Loan Upside-Down? How to Steer Back to Safety

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Is Your Car Loan Upside-Down? How to Steer Back to Safety
Without even knowing it, you may have put yourself in a financially precarious position: being upside-down on your car loan. Maybe you bought a new car without making a down payment. Or perhaps you opted for low, “easy” monthly payments by stretching your loan to 72 or even 84 months. However you got there, it’s... Philip Reed is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: preed@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @AutoReed. The article Is Your Car Loan Upside-Down? How to Steer Back to Safety originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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This Week’s $70 Grocery Budget + Our Menu Plan

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This Week’s $70 Grocery Budget + Our Menu Plan
Want to see what we bought for this week’s $70 grocery budget? I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.). For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here. Did you see that the Eat at Home Menu Plan service is on sale for just $1.13/week for the next few days? I love this menu plan service and think it is so fantastic if you need quick and easy menu plans that are family friendly and affordable. You get access to 4 different menu plans (No Sugar/No Flour, Instant Pot/Slow Cooker, Traditional, and Traditional Wholesome) AND you get a color-coded grocery list for each menu plan every single week! If you want to get some ideas of how this menu plan works and what the recipes are like, I’ve been making the recipes this week on live video. Here are three of them that I made: Slow Cooker Teriyaki BBQ Chicken Instant Pot Chicken Sandwiches Slow Cooker King Ranch Chicken Kroger Shopping Trip #1 Ground Beef — marked down to $4.29 2 bags of apples  — marked down to $0.99 1 bag of onions — marked down to $0.99 Santa Cruz lemonade — $0.99 when you buy 5 participating items 2 Nourish bowls — marked down to $1 each 1 carton of Siggi’s — marked down to $0.99 Milk — $2.69 3 boxes of Cheerios — $1.49 each when you buy 5 participating items, used $1.50/3 coupon = $0.99 each Corn Chips — $0.99 when you buy 5 participating items, used $0.45/1 coupon that Kroger emailed me = $0.54 Diced tomatoes — $0.50 Teriyaki sauce — $2.29 Total with tax: $19.57 My Toilet Paper Order I ordered the toilet paper deal and it came in this week. I paid just $19.49 for the equivalent of 128 regular rolls! We should be stocked up for awhile! By the way, this deal is still available! Check out all of the details here. I was excited about the Friday-Saturday deals at Kroger — including a stock-up price on butter ($1.99 per pound!) I bought 5 and stuck them in the freezer! Kroger Shopping Trip #2: 4 dozen Simple Truth Organic eggs — $1.99 each with Friday-Saturday coupon 5 pounds butter — $1.99 each with Friday-Saturday coupon Detergent — $1.49 Whole Wheat bread — marked down to $1.29 1 bag of grapefruit — marked down to $0.99 Tomato puree — $0.89 Tomato sauce — $0.99 1 bag of clementines — marked down to $0.99 Tub of Baby Spring Mix — marked down to $1.79 Total with tax $28.04 What We Ate This Past Week Note: When you see the meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand. This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries my shopping trip that I used to make all of the meals we ate. Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here. Breakfasts: Cereal, Homemade Granola, Toast, Whole Wheat Banana Bread, Eggs,  Yogurt Lunches: Ham Sandwiches, Granola Bars, Yogurt, Capri Sun, Salad, Leftovers, Fruit Snacks: Cookies, Popcorn, Ice Cream, Go-Gurts, Fruit, Cheese, Whole Wheat Banana Bread Dinners: Sunday — Fend For Yourself Monday —Tortilla Chicken Soup with crackers & cheese,  fruit Tuesday — Slow Cooker Teriyaki BBQ Chicken over noodles, fruit Wednesday — Instant Pot Chicken Sandwiches Thursday — Slow Cooker King Ranch Chicken over noodles, green beans, fruit Friday — Spaghetti, fruit Saturday — Leftovers Total spent on groceries: $67.04 Cashback earned this week: 50 points for submitting my receipts to Fetch rewards [...]
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My Completely Honest Review of The Ultimate Productivity Bundle

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My Completely Honest Review of The Ultimate Productivity Bundle
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Wondering if The Ultimate Productivity Bundle is worth buying? Read my honest review below, and you can decide for yourself! If you are on other blogger’s email lists, there’s a good chance you’ve gotten some emails or seen some blog posts or social media posts yesterday and today about The Ultimate Productivity Bundle. I know a number of you have already purchased this bundle, but if you haven’t purchased The Ultimate Productivity Bundle yet this year, here are two things you need to know: 1) It is back again through midnight tonight for a Flash Sale! This is your last chance to grab it at this huge discount! 2) I went through every single resource in the bundle and went through it so I could give you my completely honest review. Yes, you read that right. I literally signed up for every.single.course and downloaded every ebook and printable. My poor computer put in a lot of work! While I didn’t read every word or listen to every single minute of video (that would have taken me a LONG time!), I went through and at least skimmed every single resource and decided to share my really honest thoughts… Here were my honest thoughts: The Negatives: Some of the products had an inflated price tag. This is a pet peeve of mine. Don’t put $29 on a product just to make it sound more impressive. While The Ultimately Productivity Bundle is supposedly valued at $1500, I’m going to be honest and say that I felt at least 25% of the products had an inflated price tag. And I likely wouldn’t use at least 60% of them, so for me, the value would be really and truly more like a few hundred dollars, not $1500. There weren’t as many products in it as I was expecting. I was surprised that there weren’t more like 60-70 products in it (there are only 46 products in it). I think I’m used to them having that many when it’s the Homemaking Bundle, so I thought the options weren’t as plentiful as I was hoping for. I wish there had been more ebooks. While courses are great, I often prefer ebooks because they are easier for me to read and digest — especially since I’m a fast reader and sometimes skim (Shh! Don’t tell anyone!). There are only 5 ebooks in this bundle and the rest of the products are printables or courses. Some of the printables were poorly designed. I know that we don’t always have the highest quality design on things we offer because of various reasons and I know sometimes you just do the best you can do, but I found that at least 30% of the printables were ones I would never consider using because they just looked like they were designed by someone who didn’t have a lot of design experience or it just was not my style at all. A few products felt very clunky to download. I noticed there were a number of .zip files as well as some courses that seemed to require multiple hoops to jump through to get them to download. It felt like it sort of flew in the face of productivity to have to go to quite a bit of effort to download a product in order to be able to use it. The Positives: There were a number of really helpful and well-designed printables. I was impressed with how many different styles of printables this bundle offered. If you love printables, you will just adore this bundle! So many great options to choose from! I loved that many of the resources were created by people who aren’t naturally organized. It seems like many times, productivity classes and courses and ebooks are created by naturally organized people. This was not the case with many of the products in this bundle — many of the creators said they were more of a Type B, laid back personality —  and that’s why I feel like it has much wider appeal. The bundle offered a variety of printable planners. If you are looking for a planner for yourself and you’re okay with printing it yourself, you’ve got a wealth of choices in this bundle! There were some really high quality products. There were some really high quality products in the bundle that I felt would make it worth the price tag ($37) if you would use these and they would help your life be more organized. Like I said, I went through each and every product to pick out the ones I felt were the highest quality and value and something I would personally use or that I thought would be really helpful to other people. Here were my top 4 favorites: Family Chore Planner: The Complete Home Management System for Families ($17 value) This PDF download not only offers some great tips for getting your kids to help around the house and suggested chore ideas for different ages, but you get customizable rotating chore chart systems for your family! Child, It’s Time to Get Off Your Butt ($7 value) This may have been one of my favorite resources in the bundle. It’s an inspirational ebook with very practical tips on how to get your kids to go from being couch potatoes to being assets in your home — without having some rigid system that was designed for Type A moms. There are lots of helpful charts and hands-on examples in the book, like this: If you’re frustrated that your kids aren’t more disciplined and diligent but you just don’t know where to start, you’ll find a lot of fantastic help in this short but highly actionable ebook. Brilliant Baby Steps: Productivity Course ($47 value) This course was one of the most beautiful and value-packed courses in the bundle and I couldn’t believe all you got for the price. It definitely was not one of the products that I felt had an inflated price tag. One of the best parts of it is where Beth Anne shows you just how much you can get done in 10 minutes. She’s not a Type A personality, so her advice will work for pretty much every personality type. How to Organize Your Life With Trello ($47 value) Okay, so full disclosure here: I am not a Trello person and I don’t think I ever will be. BUT, I do believe that it can be an amazing organizational system for many people and I wanted to highlight this course because it was so well done and helpful for those who are looking for a better way to organize their life and thoughts and projects. If you haven’t purchased The Ultimate Productivity Bundle yet, and you are still interested in purchasing after reading my honest review, you can click here to purchase it for just $37 through August 15, 2019! You’ll get access to these 4 products + 42 other resources including a number of printable planners and other time management and organizational and goal-setting resources! Go here to read more. Click here to purchase The Ultimate Productivity Bundle. Remember, this special flash sale price is only good through midnight tonight (August 15, 2019)! P.S. Have you purchased The Ultimate Productivity Bundle? If so, I’d love to hear your honest thoughts on it! [...]
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