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How to Manage Financial Stress as a College Student

How to Manage Financial Stress as a College Student

As a college student, you have enough to worry about without adding stress about finances into the equation. However, the fact is that many students are burdened by money issues, and in addition to having these concerns affect their studies, worrying about debt can also create a downward spiral of anxiety and depression that a young person should never have to experience.

We all know that college is expensive, but we also know how important it is to earn a degree so we can get a job that we love. To help you through these potentially tough times, we will discuss a bit about financial stress and how you can manage those anxieties and thrive during your higher education.

Understanding Your Situation

To find the right solution for your stress, you first need to understand how and why a lack of financial security can cause unneeded anxiety. The fact is that while many students can secure scholarships and grants to attend the college of their choice, over 40% of adults who attended college had to rely on student loans to help pay for their education. While you might not be stressed about student loans now, you could be in the future because if you are not able to pay off those loans on time, then that debt can follow you around for a lifetime and even affect your credit down the road.

If you are concerned and, then it is important to know that you are not alone. Studies show that at least 72% of college students are experiencing some sort of financial stress, whether it be fear that they cannot afford to finish college, difficulty paying for their rent and utilities, inadequate money to buy food, or anything in between. The situation can be so hard that many students opt to drop out of school to save themselves the burden.

Financial stress can manifest itself in many ways. Over time, constant worry can lead to physical issues like excessive headaches and substance abuse. If not corrected, years of stress can even lead to serious ailments like heart disease and high blood pressure. Anxiety can impact your mental health as well, and you may begin to experience feelings of restlessness and irritability. Eventually, those mental issues can take over, and if not properly handled, you could experience burnout which will negatively impact your college career. Needless to say, you need to have control of the situation, and there are solutions you can try today.

Improving Your Financial Situation

If you are stressed about money, then the chances are that you don’t have enough of it to get by. You are probably one of the 69% of American households that lives paycheck-to-paycheck. If that’s the case, you must be smart about how you make and acquire more money. For instance, when looking for loans, avoid short-term, high-interest loans, such as payday loans that can sound promising at first but come with interest rates as high as 400%, making them almost impossible to pay back. It is also risky to request cash advances from your credit card company as this type of debt can also quickly get out of control.

Instead, you should look for programs in your area that can assist with your financial issues without forcing you to dig a deeper hole. You can start by taking the time to research and apply for scholarships. There are a ton of great resources out there, and since you don’t have to pay them back, it is well worth the effort. Many government programs can help as well. For instance, due to the added stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government is extending their student loan repayment pause until May 2022, which should give you some much-needed breathing room while you continue to create a plan to get a hold of your finances.

The most important part of your debt-elimination strategy is to create a budget that details all of your monthly income streams along with how much you pay for your assorted debts. Once you have an understanding of how much you spend, you can try to take out unnecessary expenses, such as reducing the money you pay at the cafeteria by spending less to get what you need at the grocery store. If you still can’t make ends meet, then consider landing a part-time side hustle like freelance writing or driving for a delivery service, so you can add in some extra funds. Just make sure that you can still prioritize your classes.

Managing Your Overall Stress

Once you start making headway on your financial situation, you need to turn the focus on yourself and find ways to reduce your anxiety so you can have a productive college career. The most important place to start is getting enough sleep. If you don’t get the seven to nine hours of rest that you need, then you will only become more irritable and upset. If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, then you may just have to change your sleep routine. Make it a point to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to improve your circadian rhythm. Also, avoid looking at your phone while lying in bed because the blue light it emits can keep you awake. While living with roommates can be a great way to save money, it is important to establish healthy boundaries to ensure you get enough sleep at night.

It is also important to not overexert yourself and to prioritize self-care. It is okay to go out with friends here and there but if you party every night, then you will not only waste money but you’ll also wear yourself too thin and eventually burn out. Have fun during college but remember that it is okay to spend time at home or the library so you can study and focus on yourself. Also, make sure that you exercise and consume a healthy diet so you can feel better inside and out.

Finally, if you continue to feel stressed and your situation is not improving, then you may need to talk to someone who can offer helpful advice. In college, the best person to turn to could be your financial aid office. They may be able to make changes to your aid package, or they can recommend external resources that you can reach out to for the help that you need. Keeping your stress bottled up will only make things worse, so call your counselors, a social worker, or even your parents so you can talk through your problems.

As you can see, financial stress can happen to anyone. However, it is how you handle that anxiety that will dictate what the rest of your college career may look like. Consider the advice and tips above and feel better about your future.

For more information on how to deal with stress during your time at college, check out the infographic below.

SEE ALSO: Balancing College Life and Mental Health



How to Get Out of Payday Loan Debt

How to Get Out of Payday Loan Debt

Student loan reimbursement check is supposed to arrive in the next few months, but you have to pay rent for a new apartment. You had already exhausted your emergency savings when your car broke down a few months ago. You have also applied for a second job. Unfortunately, the only available jobs are during the weekend hours. But you are already working during that time. So what’s the way out?

Lyle Solomon has extensive legal experience as well as in-depth knowledge and experience in consumer finance and writing. He has been a member of the California State Bar since 2003. He graduated from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California, in 1998, and currently works for the Oak View Law Group in California as a principal attorney.

In a state of panic, you apply for a credit card. But the credit card company rejects your application due to your low credit score. Next, you approach a bank for a personal loan. The bank is ready to give you one. But the minimum loan amount is $3000, which is way more than what you want to take on. Plus, you have a student loan already.

You simply don’t have money. But you need a little amount of money to get by. So you apply for a payday loan and pay your rent. You are relaxed for the next few days and sleep peacefully at night. But the problem starts after 14 days when you have to pay off the payday loan along with interest and fees.

You don’t have money to pay such high-interest rates. But the lenders are not ready to listen to you, and they want money. So what can you do now? Let’s discuss your available options.

How college students can get out of payday loan debt

  1. Calculate how much you owe – How many payday loans do you have, and how much do you owe? These are pertinent questions, and you need to find the answers. Go through your loan documents to find the lenders charging the highest interest rates. Make a plan to get rid of these debts first. The sooner you get out of these debts, the more money you will save in the long run.
  2. Attend a free credit counseling session – As a student, it’s tough to navigate debt problems without proper guidance. And the best place to get the right direction is a credit counseling agency.

Certified credit counselors can suggest payday loan solutions to you. Since they are well aware of the state payday loan laws, they can even tell you if your lender is licensed in the state.

If the lender is not licensed in the state, you have the right to pay only the principal amount. Lenders may ask you to pay interest on the loan. But you can reject it.

  1. Consolidate your payday loans – If you want to reduce stress and interest rates, you need to know how to consolidate payday loans. A payday loan consolidation has significant benefits. It helps you merge all your cash advance loans into a single monthly payment plan at an affordable interest rate. This enables you to save money in the long run.

As a student, you have to take care of so many expenses – food, lodging, tuition fees, etc. A payday loan puts additional pressure on you.

You can reduce this pressure through payday loan consolidation. You don’t even have to worry about late fees and fines. But make sure you are consistent with your payments. Otherwise, your consolidation plan will be terminated. 

  1. Opt for Extended Payment Plan – If your lender is a member of the Community Financial Services Association of America, you can ask them to offer you an Extended Payment Plan. If you are approved, you’ll get a chance to pay off the debt in 4 equal installments. You will get four weeks to repay the loan. There are no prepayment penalties or fees. However, if you miss a payment, lenders may charge extra fees. Read the new agreement carefully to understand the terms and conditions properly.
  2. Settle your payday loans – Inform payday loan companies that you can’t pay the total amount. You are a college student. You don’t have so much money to pay such a massive amount. Negotiate for a lower payoff amount. Payday loan companies may not accept your initial settlement offer. Don’t lose hope and make a counter-settlement offer. They may forgive a portion of your debt when they understand that you really don’t have money to pay off the debt.

Note: Before you opt for any debt relief option, make sure you close your bank account. Unless you revoke ACH authorization with the lender or close your bank account, payday loan providers will continue to take money from it.

The bottom line

As a college student, it’s best to avoid payday loans even when you are in financial trouble. Payday loans don’t solve your problems. Instead, they would aggravate your problems.

If you need money, take out a personal loan from a friend or family member. You can also work as a freelancer to boost your income without dropping your classes.

SEE ALSO: How College Students can Save Money