Managing Your Money
Once you have a student loan, it's more important than ever to be financially responsible. You need to know how much money you have, how much you're spending, and what's left over, so you can make your payments on time without getting into trouble. Lincoln's Financial Aid representatives can help you come up with a plan that will help you stay focused when it comes to budget planning and financial responsibility.
Create a budget
- Determine your income – How much money is coming in each month? Approximately 8% of your income should go toward paying your student loan.
- Determine your expenses – What are your fixed expenses, such as rent, loan payments, car payments, etc.? What are your flexible expenses – like food and clothing?
- Try to save what's left over. No matter how small the amount, try to put a little away each month.
Establish good credit
- Open up a credit account – If you don't already have your own credit card, apply for one and keep up with your payments. This will give you a solid credit track record.
- Keep up with your payments – Student loans, car loans, credit cards – whatever debt you have, make sure you make your payments on time.
- Check your credit report – Request a free credit report. Make sure all of your information is accurate. Doing this will also help you avoid identity theft.
Control your debt
- Know what you owe – Make sure you are familiar with all the terms of your student loan, credit cards, and any other place where you owe money. And if you don't know, don't be afraid to ask.
- Cut out unnecessary expenses – To reduce your debt, review your expenses. Are there less expensive alternatives? What can you do without? Take a look at your spending habits, and evaluate what you can do to make sure you are saving.
- Get help when you need it – If your debt is growing faster than you can pay it, it's time to get help.