Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

Student Loans October 9, 2007

Filed under: Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 8:26 pm

[originally posted Monday, June 18, 2007 8:01 PM]

So, I’ve been out of school for about a year now and have been trying to pay down my student loans…and let me tell you, it’s no walk in the park!  I consolidated all of my federal loans with the same company that I have my private loans with…not sure if that was necessarily the best idea in the world, because maybe my interest rate might not have been too bad to begin with, but I guess it’s good that it’s all at one company, so I only have to go to one site!  One thing that’s got me confused/annoyed is that I keep getting solicitations from both reputable and suspicious looking companies offering to consolidate my loans.  It’s frustrating, since most of them offer the option to consolidate my federal loans, which have already been consolidated, so that just adds to the trash.  And it seems like maybe I could get a decent option if I were to consolidate my private loans, but I don’t know how to go about getting the rates from places, especially without knowing if I can trust these different banks and companies.

So, I’m trying to figure that out…I’m paying extra towards the principal on my loan with the higher interest (an extra $500 or so a month) and since my other loan is the same interest rate as my ING account, I’m not worrying about it too much, and just paying the amount due every month.  I think this is one of those common suggestions:  Pay down the debt with the highest interest rate!  Of course, I’m also contributing to my 401(k), my Roth IRA, my ING account, and still paying for rent and utilities and food and whatnot….so that’s a lot of money to keep track of!  I’m trying to go by another one of the common personal finance rules:  Pay yourself first!  The idea of taking at least 10% off the top of my earnings every month and sending it to my savings account really seems to work, since I don’t notice the lack of money, and it feels good knowing that my money is making money for me, instead of me spending that amount.  I suppose I could be paying more towards my student loans, since they are the highest interest (higher than any of my investment returns) but I’d rather have both money available and some debt than no money and no debt!
So, what do you think?  What are you doing?  or, if you’re done with loans, what did you do?
I also wanted to thank those of you who commented on my blog!  Special thanks to Matt, who commented on the problem sometimes referred to as the “latte effect”.  His blog seems to be a bit over my head, but I think I’ll try to work my way through some of his posts!
I’ve been compiling some ideas for future posts…hopefully I’ll post again soon!  Thanks for reading!


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