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Category Archives: Budgeting

Payment Options

Repaying your student loans

Sallie Mae is committed to giving you the information and tools you need to understand and evaluate your student loan payment options. We can help you find an option that fits your budget, simplifies payment, and minimizes your total interest cost.

Before you choose a repayment plan

  • Understand the repayment options available to you. Sallie Mae offers standard, graduated, income-sensitive, income-based and extended repayment plans on federal student loans.
  • Realize that combined billing is available for Sallie Mae-serviced loans.*
  • Compare your repayment options. Estimate your monthly student loan payments for eligible Sallie Mae loans with our Loan Repayment Calculator. Or, if your loans are in repayment, you can view repayment plans that may be available for your loans at Manage Your Loans
  • Know that you can prepay your loans in part or in full at any time without penalty. This will lower the overall cost of your loan.
  • Realize the importance of paying back your student loans.
  • Understand that choosing a plan with lower payments may result in higher costs over the life of the loan.

Lower monthly payments

Payment amount reduction may be available for those who qualify. Federal student loan repayment plans offering lower monthly payment amounts than the standard repayment plan are:

Lowest overall loan cost

Make level monthly payments of principal and interest to help control interest costs.

Postpone your payments

Private student loans

Eligibility for Sallie Mae private student loan repayment plans may vary by loan type, loan balance, and disbursement date.

The Sallie Mae Smart Option Student LoanSM first disbursed June 1, 2009 and later requires monthly interest-only payments during the in-school and separation periods. Check the terms of your loan’s specific Promissory Note and log in to Manage Your Loans to see if your loan status shows repayment. If so, and you are enrolled in school, then you are not eligible for other repayment options at this time.
Private student loans first disbursed before June 1, 2009, may be eligible for graduated repayment to lower the initial monthly loan payments.

*Combined billing is available for eligible student loans that are serviced by Sallie Mae. Some restrictions may apply.

Source: https://www.collegeanswer.com/manage-your-money/manage-student-loans/student-loan-repayment-options/



Repayment Amortization

You can estimate your payments with various interest rates and loan terms using this calculator.

Repayment Plan

You can estimate your payments under various repayment plans using this calculator.

Income-Based Repayment

This calculator can help you determine if you qualify for the Income-Based Repayment(IBR) plan. IBR is designed to make payments more affordable for borrowers.

Income Contingent Repayment

This calculator can help you determine if you qualify for the Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) plan.The Income Contingent Repayment plan is based on your Adjusted Gross Income.



Worksheets, Resources, and Tips

Budgeting Worksheet     Manage your budget and get on the right track using this itemized worksheet.

Budget Strategies     Good intentions aren’t enough. Try these strategies to save money for your future.

 Managing Your Money       Achieve financial wellness with these nine money-saving tips.

Credit Card Tips       Credit cards help establish and improve your credit score, but only when used responsibly. Make sound financial decisions with this info.

Identity Theft       Don’t be a victim. Keep your identity safe with these tips.

Explore Deferment and Forbearance       Trouble making payments? Discover how you could postpone them.

2013-2014 Federal Student Loan Programs       Compare your federal student loan options.

Financial Goals Worksheet       Healthy financial habits start by setting sound financial goals. Get started here.

Live Life Smart Guide Your complete guide to becoming financially savvy, whether you’re graduated or just starting your education.

Financial Literacy with the Department of Education Let the Department of Education help you find a balance between your income, financial aid, and living expenses.



Spending and Savings Plans

Creating and sticking to a spending and savings plan might not be your idea of  fun, but it can help you control your spending so you CAN have fun without getting  into money trouble.  If you don’t have  much money coming in, don’t worry—following a realistic plan CAN still allow you to  have some small luxuries, even if it is an occasional soda or movie.

  1. The first step towards creating a budget is  determining all of your recurring monthly expenses, such as rent, tuition, groceries, phone  bill, student loan payment, car payment, gas, insurance, necessary clothes, and other needs. You may wish to check out  the MDHE’s spending and savings plan worksheet to help get you started.
  2. Next total your monthly income including wages  from work (not including overtime) and any financial aid funds left  over for living expenses after paying your tuition and fees.  Calculate the amount of these financial aid funds you should use each month by dividing the  amount by the number of months in  your semester or term.
  3. Then, take your overall expenses total and subtract expenses from your income.  There may not be anything left over, or it  could be a negative number.  Based on the  results, examine each item in your budget and decide if you could cut back in  any areas.  Which line items are truly NEEDS and which are actually only the things you WANT? Additionally, if you are paying checking account or credit card fees, learn how to effectively take charge of your finances while to eliminate these expenses.

Congratulations, you’ve created a budget and taken the first  step to getting control of your money.

Now for the tough part—

  1. Find out if your actual spending matches your plan.  Tracking expenses and comparing them to your  plan will allow you to gain control over your monthly spending, allowing you  to keep student loan debt,  as well as other types of debt, at a reasonable level or non-existent,  especially while you are in college.

There are a number of ways to track your spending, such as  writing down purchases in a checkbook ledger or using a spreadsheet.  If you are comfortable  letting technology do some of the work for you, you can use an application like www.mint.com or www.buxfer.com, which can help you track and analyze your spending habits.

If you follow these steps, you should be able to  gain control over your money, save money for emergencies, and get out  of debt quickly.







Use our calculators to plan your household budget, determine your monthly payment amount, and explore deferment and forbearance options to postpone your payments.

Planning and Budgeting

How much money will you spend on books? What about food, rent, and utilities during college? Use the Planning and Budgeting Calculator to see how your expenses add up so you can best estimate how much you may need in additional income or student loans to cover your costs. Remember, only take out the amount in loans that you need—your financial future will thank you. Calculate your college expenses.

Income-Based Repayment

Want a lower payment now and a larger payment when you’re making more money? This plan could be right for you. Learn more about this plan. Calculate your payments on this plan.

Income-Contingent Repayment (for FDLP loans only)

Want a payment based on your income, family size, and interest rate? This plan takes these factors into consideration, potentially allowing you more flexibility in your monthly budget. Learn more about this plan. Calculate your payments on this plan.

Deferment & Forbearance

You may not be able to make monthly payments right now—and that’s okay. The federal government allows for many different deferments and forbearances that could postpone your payment, and one may be perfect for your unique situation. Learn more about deferment and forbearance options. Calculate interest that will accrue during a deferment or forbearance.



Manage Student Loans

Three Rules for Managing Student Loans Smartly

Whatever the expenditures are for, if you overspend, you’ll over-borrow. Unless you’re managing ALL your money wisely, you may indirectly be mismanaging your student loans, which will impact your lifestyle for years while you pay them off.


                                Borrow Only What You Need, Only When You Need It

Remember: the amount you borrowed is not the  amount you’ll have to repay.  By the time you finish paying off your student loans, you’ll probably end up paying around 30% more (in interest) than the amount you borrowed (depending on how many years you take to pay the loans off). If you don’t plan for this, your student loan payments may be much larger than you expected and take a bigger chunk out of your paycheck than you’re prepared to pay.


    1. When Calculating How Much Student Loan Money You’ll Need, Ask Yourself These QuestionsCan I reduce my expenses (the answer is almost always yes)?
      Can I work more during the school year without jeopardizing my grades?
      Can I work more during the summer or find a higher-paying job?

Keep track of what you owe in student loans and use an online calculator to estimate what your payments will be at today’s interest rates (while keeping in mind that rates could continue to go up).


  1. Use Your Student Loan Money to Finance Your Education, Not Your LifestyleMany college students honestly believe they are managing their student loans well. They keep the money separate from their other funds and use it only for tuition, books, and fees. In reality, many students who do exactly that are actually NOT using their student loans wisely. Why? Because when you’re in college, unless someone else is footing your entire bill, every dollar you spend unnecessarily will be a dollar you’ll have to borrow later, which means another dollar plus interest you’ll have to repay. If you could have used some of your own money for tuition and books, you wouldn’t have to borrow as much.


Start budgeting

Establishing  a budget and sticking to it isn’t easy, but it’s the best way to be in control  of your finances and make sure your money is going toward the expenses that  matter most to you.

Follow  the steps below as you set up your own, personalized budget:

  1. Make a list of  your values. Write down what matters to you and then put  your values in order.
  2. Set your goals.
    1. Write down your goals.
    2. Think about what you want to       accomplish financially in the next three months, the next year, and the       next three years.
  3. Determine your  income.
    1. Figure your available income (the       amount of your take-home, or net, pay).
    2. Do not include overtime pay,       because you shouldn’t rely on that as regular income.
  4. Determine your  expenses.
    1. Review your checkbook register,       credit card statements, store receipts, and more.  Where is your money really going?
    2. “Fixed expenses,”       such as a rent, auto, or student loan payments, are easy to determine.
    3. “Flexible expenses,”       such as food, clothing, and entertainment, vary from month to month.
    4. Don’t forget about expenses,       such as taxes or insurance, that are billed quarterly, semi-annually, or       yearly.
    5. Look into personal finance       software programs that offer a budgeting feature to help you track these       expenses.
  5. Create your budget.
    1. Think of your budget as a “spending       plan,” a way to be aware of how much money you have, where it needs to go,       and how much, if any, is left over.
    2. Your budget should meet your       “needs” first, then the “wants” that you can afford.
    3. Your expenses should be less       than or equal to your total income.
    4. If your income is not enough to       cover your expenses, adjust your budget (and your spending!) by deciding       which expenses can be reduced.
  6. Pay yourself  first!
    1. Saving is a very       important part of protecting yourself financially.
    2. Save as much as you can every       month.  Even a small amount can make       a big difference if you keep it up. Check out our savings calculator to learn       more.
    3. A great goal is to establish an       emergency savings fund large enough to cover three to six months of your living       expenses.
    4. After you have an emergency fund,       your savings can go toward meeting your goals.
  7. Be careful with  credit cards. Learn more.
  8. Check back periodically.
    1. Be sure to review your budget       regularly.
    2. Does the plan still meet your       needs and help you achieve your goals? If not, make some adjustments or       create a new budget that better meets your needs.

Ready to budget? Use our budget calculator!