The class of 2012 now has to come to terms with student loans. Here are five tips from a money manager:
Pull together a list of loans.
Find when your payments are due.
Consolidate your loans. This pulls multiple loans into one payment. Do not consolidate federal loans. You would lose the flexible repayment option. Which repayment method is best for you? Usually, they are based on a 10-year repayment plan.
Learn more about how to handle your loans. Don’t ask other students.
Talk to experienced GL advisers from the Department of Education
For more information, visit ibrinfo.org or studentloanborrowerassistance.org.
The four walls
This is from financial instructor Dave Ramsey’s class. The four walls you must maintain are food, shelter (that includes your utilities), clothing and transportation. With shelter, he would say you only need a moderate house. Many are downsizing their homes. Big houses have big upkeep and large utilities. In the 1960s, most families were raised in smaller homes.
Clothing lasts a long time with care. Thrift shops have great deals, and many items can be mixed or matched.
Transportation: Get a good, reliable car, one you can afford to maintain.
Food: We have learned how to make great meals on less. Use coupons and sales and produce in season. When you go to the grocery store, you are enticed to buy much more than you need.
In England, there is a grocery store within walking distance of most homes. The British buy only for that evening’s meal. They laugh at Americans with the big buggies. Most British have very small refrigerators, and they carry the little basket on the arm in stores. There is less waste because they buy only what they need for that night’s meal.
Have a plan for the store. Use a list, coupons and a sales circular.
Come to class
Class starts Thursday at Ashland Community and Technical College. It runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The cost $19 for four weeks. You’ll make much more than that back in your first shopping trip, make new friends and have a lot of fun. You’ll never look at a store the same way.
We call the class Advanced Penny Pinching. We teach making little changes that are fun and won’t hurt.
You don’t have to be wealthy to eat healthy. There is a new book called “5 meals for $5.” Amazon has it. Each person can eat for about 97 cents. I’m ordering it. Recipes include vegetable soup, pot roast, Chicken Lo Mein, Thai Chicken and Pasta Fagoli.
I can tell you the secret revealed in the book: One meat can be used for several different recipes. If you make pot roast, then you can easily make vegetable soup the next day with the leftover meat. These meals are great and leave extra money in your billfold. We want you to have everything, including money, left over. It’s scary to feel you have no money until the next payday. Little changes lead to peace of mind.
Knowing when to buy, and how to buy, gives you much, much more. Do you know a rock-bottom price when you see it? What is the normal price for an item? Challenge yourself to make living on a budget a game. Don’t think, “I can’t do this.” Instead think, “How can I do this and make it work?”
Water the roots not the foliage. This is especially true for roses. Constantly monitor your plants for aphids, beetles and black spot. Carry a grocery bag with you, and remove yellow leaves, spotted leaves or fallen leaves. These will infect your plant and the others around it.
Weed every time you water. Just grab any you see. Always wear gardening gloves. It is dangerous to work in the soil with bare hands. Carry pruning shears with you and trim spent rose blossoms back to the first set of three leaves. This allows another blossom to form. Throw a little granular food around your roses about every two weeks. Roses eat and drink heavily. But keep their foliage as dry as you can. Water in the morning so they have extra time to dry.
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash: 1 ounce for 97 cents; use one for $3.50/2 from SmartSource on 7/28/13. Final price is $1.56; moneymaker if you buy two
Domino Light All Natural Sugar: 40 count $1.92; use $2/1 at ss.com; 8-cent moneymaker
Bic Crystal pens: 10 count for 97 cents; use $1/1 SS from 8/4/13, 3-cent moneymaker
Great deals on Soft Soap BodyWash, L’Oreal Eye, Garnier Hair Color, Betty Crocker Fruit Gushers, Hamburger Helper. Use coupons on these $1 deals.
Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal: $1.99 minus $1 on two coupon; limit five
Tide: two for $12; $4 ExtraBucks on two; use $1.50 coupon Procter & Gamble on two; limit one deal
Cheerios: two for $6; $2 EB; 75-cent coupon on each box; limit one deal
M&Ms: two for $6.98; use coupon buy-one-get-one-free M&Ms candy bar; $2 EB
Palmolive Dish Liquid: 99 cents; use 50-cent coupon
Sally Hansen Nail Polish: spend $12; get $5 EB; $2 coupon on each bottle; limit one deal
Revlon: $6 EB when you spend $15. There is an active store coupon for $5 off $12 if you are lucky enough to get it. Also, stack a $1 Revlon coupon on each product; limit six
Pantene Shampoo: two for $7; use BOGO coupon; $1 EB; limit one