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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ways to Attack your Debt Woes

By Paul J. Easton

When attacking the problem of debt, you should always begin with the need to discipline yourself not to use your credit cards. Only buy the much needed things with cash. By putting yourself on a buy as needed policy, you will certainly eliminate a large portion, if not totally, of your debt.

It certainly won't be easy to get rid of debt. As a guide to help you, we will present simple tips to help you free up cash with lifestyle changes. Stop spending more money on nonessential buys. For now, there will be no more new clothing, shoes, and costly gifts on your must-buy list. Add to that the CDs, toys, and other accessories until you pay off the credit card debts.

I should have mentioned this on the first part, stop using your credit cards. You can resist temptation by making your credit cards difficult to use. Put it on some place you cannot easily have access to. If you cannot do this simple tactic, try cutting your plastics up all together.

Suspend all your future plans for a travel or a pricey entertainment. You can certainly have a cheaper yet fun version without incurring further debts. When you finally get rid of the debt, the cruise and Disneyland will probably still be there.

Reduce your telephone expenses. Try to make fewer long-distance calls and cut off expensive postpaid plans. If you own a cell phone already, you can drop the land line you also have so that you can pay the bills with cash. Or it could be the other way. Just choose which is more frequently used or where you get the most out of your money.

Budget your groceries and always shop with a list. This strategy will make you focus more with just the items on the list so that you end up spending less on groceries. Try also to limit meats with your weekly meal plans. Red meats like pork and beef are proven to age you faster. Not only will you save money but you will also look younger in the long run. These are just a few tips to attack your money woes and get rid of debt completely. Be consistent and you will be rewarded soon.

For more information on financial directory, get FREE Articles Tips at Get debt-free today with tips on how to get rid of debt here. Start improving your personal finance today.

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4 Tips You Can Use to Repair Your Credit Score

By iRepairCreditReport

One of the major things consumers have to know is that you should establish good credit or repair your credit score because lenders, as well as other companies, will give you better interest rates when you buy a home or car. And, you will get better deals on insurance and other products you purchase. A good credit score can even have an impact on finding a job.

Making late payments, going bankrupt or having your bills into a collection agency are the things that really affects your credit report. The way you fix your credit score , is to not keep doing what you have done in the past. If you can change your habits your credit score will start to improve. As you fix your credit report, you will start seeing better interest rates from lenders and even lower interest offers from credit card companies.

Check out the 4 tips below to help you repair your credit score:

1. Bills Must Be Paid On Time

Your credit history is what companies base their lending on. Once they know your history they can then figure out how much of a risk you are to them. If you always pay off your debts then in their mind it's pretty likely that you will pay off future debts. So, you will be less of a risk.

2. Don't Carry Too Few or Too Many Credit Cards

Most people these days carry around far too many credit cards. What is the right number? 2-4 credit cards is how many credit experts believe you should have. Having more than that doesn't mean you cut them up as you pay them off. This may affect you credit as well because not only do these companies take into account the number of cards you have but also the balance you have on them. What you should do is pay them all down then decide which ones you are going to get rid of.

3. Make At Least the Minimum Payment

When your credit card statement arrives make sure you pay at least the minimum payment and if you can try to pay more. When you pay less than the minimum you will assume late payments which will negatively affect your credit score.

4. Check Your Credit Report Regularly

You have to watch your credit report closely. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are the 3 bureaus that keep track of your credit score. You must watch all 3. Once you get your report, take note of any negative information, mistakes or accounts you did not open. This way you can get to work on fixing these problems plus, you can see if you identity has been stolen.

Make sure that you change your habits. If you do, you will start to see the benefits in the very near future. If you find that you have to repair your credit score, then take the necessary steps. It will take a while but if you start now, you will have taken the first step.

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Avoiding the Buying Impulses

By Paul J. Easton

In today's difficult financial situation, we should reduce our expenses and replace expensive activities with cheaper ways of doing things. To start curbing your appetite for spending, start getting rid of debt by temporarily avoiding certain buying impulses.

Strolling around the mall without a clear plan in mind to do there is giving you so much exposure to certain buying impulses. Plan your shopping ahead of time and keep in mind a budget. With planned trips to the mall, you will most likely have lesser impulse buying or totally get rid of it.

Don't order from catalogs for now. With every order from catalogs, your name gets sold to other catalog companies. This is the reason why your mail is getting more catalogs every time. Catalogs serve as visual reminders of all the stuff companies can advertise and you could potentially buy. This is regardless whether you really need them or not. Unfortunately, most people can't resist the temptation of ordering from them.

Starting now, opt out from newsletters and junk mails to reduce the number of catalogs. If you still receive catalogs, request every catalog company to remove your name from their mailing list. With this plan, you will not anymore receive pesky and unsolicited mails which distract you from your everyday life goals. And in the long run, you will resist the buying impulses and save you more money.

Reduce the surfing in the net by skipping the visits to online stores. This situation is the same with catalogs; online stores stimulate your buying desire. If you plan to shop online, have a list before surfing the net. And stick to it.

Our addictions to spending start with advertising messages bombarded everyday from multiple media ranging from television to billboards. Be aware and let the first line of defense be on guard.

Those are ways to taper down your buying impulses. Keep satisfied with what you have. If you can't have what you want, maybe you can want what you have.

For more information on financial directory, get FREE Articles Tips at Get debt-free today with tips on how to get rid of debt here. Start improving your personal finance today.

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Lured to Another Credit Card?

By Paul J. Easton

Getting a credit card can be very easy but getting rid of the debt along with it is pretty troublesome. It is time to be more cautious than ever before accepting another new credit card. Make sure that this time around you are getting the best credit card and not fall trap with the one that will get you in more debts. Let us take a look at how credit card companies lure us into signing up.

Credit cards come in various forms and they feature low interests, airline miles and other rewards. But watch out for the fine print and be very careful about the terms because they are always subject to change, which can be very soon.

Getting that new card can be a trick, so be wary. If you are getting a new card just to transfer a balance because of the lower interest, find out exactly how much the company will charge for the transfer. Most of them will not tell you unless you ask them first. In addition, most low-interest introductory offers apply to the balance transfers only and not to your new purchases.

Some credit cards give you gifts for spending money and keeping a balance on your card. One of these tricks is by way of entering your name in a monthly drawing for a prize. These cards are very enticing because it will make you think that it is just okay to use the card because you have a perk like having a chance to win a prize when you use it. By easily justifying the use of it, these cards can be very dangerous.

Credit cards with certain rewards or dividends like rebates and airlines miles are great that they sound too good to be true. And in fact, it is. How can they be in business if they just give away discounts and rewards? Most reward card holders carry a balance and this is the bad news. And the higher interest rates of these reward cards to your balance can more than offset the reward they are giving you. The same with balance transfer introductory offers, reward offers are subject to change with little or no notice.

We have presented some of the neat ways how credit card companies lure you to maintaining a balance and keep paying for the interests. Which one have you been lured into?

For more information on financial directory, get FREE Articles Tips at Get debt-free today with tips on how to get rid of debt here. Start improving your personal finance today.

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How You Can Protect Your Online Security From Identity Theft

By Eric Jilson

In today's online world, you can do your banking, trade stocks, pay your bills, and even buy groceries on the Internet. This convenience can come with a price, though, with identity theft becoming one of the biggest concerns and fastest-growing crimes today. Being proactive with your data privacy is important and can keep you from getting zinged.

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse says that 9.3 million Americans fell victim to identity theft in 2005 and while new laws and agencies have been created to fight it, it's still a concern and poses a serious threat to today's consumer.

Many companies now offer identity theft protection services. While paying a company to protect your identity for you can be very effective, there are things you can do on your own to greatly minimize your risk.

Here are some tips to help you keep your information secure:

Make purchases only on trusted sites.

Sites that you don't know, aren't familiar with, or seem in any way to be hokey should be avoided. Make online payments (via credit card, direct check, etc.) only on sites you know and trust. Many small online retailers don't have secure payment systems, so be wary of any system you are unfamiliar with. Utilize accepted payment methods that don't compromise your identity such as PayPal or Google Checkout.

Order and go over your credit report.

You can request and receive one free credit report a year from each of the three credit agencies. Do this every year and go over that report carefully, looking for discrepancies. The website was created by the three reporting agencies in response to a federal law passed in 2003 on this issue. Check to make sure no accounts of which you are unaware have been opened in your name. Also watch for unusual activity such as address changes or other items you didn't authorize.

Know what phishing is and how to respond to it.

This technique, used by identity thieves that usually targets a specific site like or pretends to be a site that you trust to get you to log into their system so they can capture your login information for the real site. Often these are perpetrated via email. One effective theft protection method is making it a habit never to click on links within email to visit sites you must log into, but instead to type the site's name in manually into your browser to be sure you're going where you think you're going. Watch your browser's location bar (URL) to make sure you're on the site you want to be on and not a fake.

Secure your home network.

If you have a wireless network at home, make sure it's secure. Most of the wireless networking kits you purchase today have security built in, but you have to activate it if you want it to work. Often, this is done for you on setup, but make sure it is there regardless. In the past, many have had their identities, financial information stored on their computer, and more stolen by thieves who merely wandered by their house with a laptop and hopped onto their unsecured network. Look to your network's setup disk or documentation to find out how to secure it.

Don't enter sensitive information into non-secure websites.

If the site you're on is one you trust to give your information, make sure it's also securing it. Likewise, if you're posting information on Myspace, a blog, Facebook, or anywhere else, make sure it's not identifiable for use with your credit. Your mother's maiden name, your passwords, and other detailed information about you should be kept to yourself and not broadcast to the world, as these items can be used to get access to your identity. Many famous people have found themselves in sticky situations because so much is known about them that they can't keep their information secured.

Set banking alerts.

Many banks offer a service that allows you to have them notify you via email or text message when your accounts have certain things happen: getting close to overdraft, having draft or purchase requests for more than $1,000, etc. Take advantage of these to keep informed the moment something strange happens on your account.

Use optimal security questions and passwords.

A very common mistake amongst users is to use the same password on several sites. This might be OK if the site is just a news or blog comment area, but for financial and personal information, it's very bad policy. Use secure passwords that are hard to guess and that contain both letters, numbers, and random capitalization. Make sure your security questions aren't easily answered by someone who knows something about you. Questions that even your spouse would have a hard time answering are the goal.

In short, take your protection from identity theft seriously and make sure you aren't taken advantage of by identity thieves. Identity theft affects your whole life and can ruin you financially and make your life miserable. Preventing it is a matter of a few precautions and vigilance, but is worth it.

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Suggestions to Enjoy a Comfortable Life in a Budget

By Paul J. Easton

Having problems with the conflict of maintaining a comfortable life and getting rid of your monthly credit card bills? Here are tips that might help you get the best of both worlds.

Skip eating out and eat with the family together at home. Most developed countries have the convenience of credit cards that most families dine out almost everyday or take out their fast food meals. This leads to families not eating at the same time when they arrive at home. The result is a staggering number of broken families due to misunderstanding and bad parenting. Eating together is a time for bonding and communication and should not be ignored.

This will also cut your expenses by half as preparing your food at home is definitely cheaper. You will also monitor what you eat and this can be healthier. By shunning fancy restaurants and reserving it only for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, you will cut that monthly balance as fast as you can. And by learning how to cook yourself, you will have much more delicious food than in fast foods or restaurants.

The next tip is to be earth friendly. Conserve everything from using water to driving your car. Turn off the lights when not used. Find more efficient ways to utilize energy like insulating your home to lower your thermostat in winter. You will not only save more money, you will also save Mother Earth.

Keep yourself busy so you are not once again tempted to spend more time shopping. Try some extra work load so you get to overtime once in a while. By taking up some part of your free time, you will be spending less time just hanging around and spending money haphazardly. In return, you will be more productive.

Lastly, get back in shape and visit your neighborhood gym more frequently now. You will spend time getting healthier and spending less money. You can also walk your dog at the park or take your children to the playground.

These are just suggestions to enjoy life at a budget. Just as I thought, being happy and saving more money can actually go together.

For more information on financial directory, get FREE Articles Tips at Get debt-free today with tips on how to get rid of debt here. Start improving your personal finance today.

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Convenience of Credit Cards

By Paul J. Easton

With the proper use of credit cards, they can truly provide you with much convenience and can be very useful in emergencies. In addition, it also can help build good credit records for you.

One of the conveniences of credit cards is instances when you buy a defective item. Your credit card company, as regulated in the laws, is obligated to investigate your situation. This is the same in cases where you protest a charge made due to some discrepancies.

Most credit cards have grace periods that can last up to 25 days. In essence, you are given a loan without the interest for a period of one month before you have to pay off the charges. This strategy, however, is only successful if you pay the full balance in each month. But it is definitely a convenience to benefit from.

Credit cards are very useful during emergencies. It provides extra security as a source during emergencies where significant cash is required as soon as possible. These emergency cases can range from car repairs to medical emergencies.

With the use of credit cards, you can now track your personal expenses for a budgeting program. With a credit card statement, purchases can be tracked and distinguished by type so you will know your cash flow. This will make your record keeping much easier than when you use cash.

With wise use of these cards, you have a good chance of improving your credit. And in cases when something unexpected happens, you have available funds to rely on. Getting a credit card is so important nowadays as it is a great way to take advantage of certain opportunities and conveniences around. However, accumulating debt is also crucial in today's economic state.

Abuse of credit cards, especially when the owner is not so observant with using it, can lead to a lot of debt. Some people charge more than they can afford, and are headed for financial trouble. I hope you don't follow the same. Make good use of your credit cards and you will just be fine.

For more information on financial directory, get FREE Articles Tips at Get debt-free today with tips on how to get rid of debt here. Start improving your personal finance today.

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Credit Repair Coach Explains What The Bureaus Are Not Telling You

By Cliff Pape

Were you aware that about 80% of credit reports have some type of wrong information in them? Many types of errors can have a big impact on lowering your score. Not to mention that those errors could be making you pay more for the loans you are getting. Some of these errors are as serious as accounts that are not even yours, or even false delinquencies.

Here are some common mistakes on credit reports:

41% of credit reports have inaccurate demographic information, including name, addresses, work history, and other personal information.

20% of credit reports fail to list major mortgage information, as well as other important loans that show your credit worthiness.

26% of credit reports incorrectly report accounts that you have closed. These may be reported as open, or as "closed by credit grantor." This could make it seem as though the lender cut you off due to poor payment history.

So where could you go from here?

Get a copy of your report and check it over thoroughly. You will need to check even seemingly obvious data like your name, addresses (current and past), birth date, social security number, and so on. Yes, it's a hassle to have to verify the simplest information, but you should do it anyway.

Make sure that you take a close look at every single account entry on your credit report, from start to finish. You'll need to verify that each account is reported correctly. Pay especially close attention to credit limits, balances owed, open date, and current activity, etc.

It's important to review the inquiries section to check what companies have been requesting copies of your credit report. If you find companies that you don't remember having requested credit from, then you should contact them right away to make sure someone else isn't applying for credit with your personal information.

After you've gone through your credit report with fine tooth comb, you'll need to address any errors you find. There are a few ways to go about this. You can write dispute letters yourself to the creditor or the credit bureaus, work with a company to help you in this process, or seek out the services of an attorney.

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Simple Rules on How to Use Your Credit

By Paul J. Easton

In life, we stick with the rules. Violating certain rules has its penalties. This universal law surely applies to the use of your credit cards. Read further to know whether you are violating or not.

Never use a credit card to finance an unaffordable lifestyle. This is where most people fall trap of the never ending financial mishap. If you just can't afford to pay off the entire balance every month, then it is an indication of overspending.

When you have enough cash in the bank, you can use that credit card to make the purchase. Pay it off in full as soon as you get the statement. However, if you don't have enough cash to cover the purchase and it is not an emergency, never charge it with your credit cards. Just save your money until the time you can afford that purchase you always wanted.

In cases where you can't afford something but needs it immediately like a car repair or medical emergencies, use the credit card to charge it. Then, make a plan to pay off the balance with a time frame. Take the plan to another level by figuring out how much you will pay monthly and how long it will take to pay the balance off. Write your plan to implement it better.

A good way to save yourself from credit card debt you can't handle is not to charge meals, groceries, or movie tickets. These items will not show in the statement and you will not monitor it as much as you can. Pay cash for these kinds of items instead. Save the credit for the most necessary items you will need in the future.

As much as you can, pay off the entire outstanding balance each payment due. When carrying a balance in certain instances, pay off as much as you can a big part of that balance each month. Paying only the minimum might be light for now but it will certainly pile up over time and drown you over your head.

For more information on financial directory, get FREE Articles Tips at Get debt-free today with tips on how to get rid of debt here. Start improving your personal finance today.

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Improve Your Credit Score, No Matter What Your Situation!

By Linda Seamore

In this day and age where most people have easy access to a consumer credit, Americans are finding themselves sinking deeper and deeper into debt. Racking up a mere $10,000 in debt is now easy and all too common.

Due to the fact that consumer debt is at an all-time high, more and more people want to be informed of helpful and trusted tips to rebuild credit history. Most of the time, when people hear the word "budget," they think of having to starve themselves and an almost non-existent social life. Lucky for you, having an effective plan for managing your debt and of course maintaining healthy personal credit and credit scores, by using certain types of credit cards, will definitely assist with meeting your financial goals.

Not only are these credit cards beneficial, they also provide for some consumers the only way out, especially if they've been denied a bank account or traditional credit card. Given that it takes two incomes in most households and a great majority of men and women both are in the workforce these days, there is hardly any time to prepare budgets and investigate ways to increase their credit scores.

In order to get on the path to financial success, you must make your first step! Why don't we take the first step and weigh both the secured and pre-paid credit cards, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Secured Credit Cards

Pros - Opening a secured credit card account is a simple and affordable way to start building your credit. Secured credit cards will also help you improve and rebuild damaged credit. These cards are used exactly like a standard run of the mill credit cards you are familiar with.

Cons - One of the major drawbacks to this type of card is that to secure the card you must put down a $200 to $250 deposit with your application. For many this may be a tuff requirement. These cards also tend to have much higher interest rates (15% or higher) and additional charges such as an annual fee (usually around $50). Despite these drawbacks, for many looking to rebuild their credit, these cards make sense.

2. Pre-Paid Credit Cards

Advantages- Pre-Paid Credit Cards are a very useful tool, because they give you all of the flexibility and freedom of using your own money. They look, feel, and spend just like a real credit card; they can be used in any occasion that you would use a regular credit card. With these cards, you determine how much money you would like in the account by "loading" money, instead of the company offering you a credit limit based on your financial history. Almost everyone can be approved for this type of card, and yes....even if you've had a bad credit past.

Negatives-This may not be the best choice if you're looking to establish or rebuild your credit. Pre-Paid cards may not report your repayment history to the credit bureaus. If the company doesn't report back on your account, this type of card, unfortunately, will not improve your credit. If you look at all of your options available, and compare cards based on your needs, you'll be just fine.

Note that pre-paid credit cards may not be allowed in some situations. When you rent a car or book a hotel, some places will not allow use of a pre-paid card to hold car rentals or rooms. Be safe and call ahead of time to ask about the company's policy on pre-paid cards before you're halfway through the process.

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Credit Cards: A Tool to be Used Wisely

By Paul J. Easton

When applying for a credit card, you must bear in mind that you have to use them wisely to make most of it. Using a credit card gives you access to more spending power in a moment than you realistically have. This in return entices you to spend more on luxuries, which can make you incur heavy debts.

Admit it; you can hardly pass up what conveniences credit cards can offer. With extra security, the quick identification, and as a source of cash when you need it most, credit cards are a necessity. But can you handle one?

Needing a credit card is a personal decision that depends on your responsibility to use it. Using a credit card needs thorough planning so that you use it wisely with your lifestyle.

Credit cards are convenient because they are now universally accepted as a form of payment. From movie theaters to the internet, credit card payments are now welcome. Add to that the issue of the safety of bringing cash around and you will understand the role of credit cards in making our life not only convenient but safe too.

Another advantage of a credit card payment is when you have a dispute with a merchant over a purchased item. In this case, you always have the right to withhold payment. In instances where you purchase high-ticket items with your credit card, you are more secured when the item does not work as advertised. Moreover, you can also cancel payments if the merchant fail to meet your expectations.

There are several benefits to using a card. This is probably the reason why it has become so popular mainstream. As a tip, make a note of all the transactions you have made for the week using your credit card. Keep a record and assess it by the weekend. Make this as a habit to account your expenses.

Once you establish that habit, develop a payment scheme for you to pay the full balance by due date. Only through that way can credit cards become your greatest tool.

For more information on financial directory, get FREE Articles Tips at Get debt-free today with tips on how to get rid of debt here. Start improving your personal finance today.

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How Beneficial Are Programs That Help With Your Retirement Plan

By Michael Geoffrey

Retirement planning software is essential in helping you to secure your retirement future. If you want to enjoy and maintain your life after retirement, then you really need to own retirement planning software.

Good financial planning depends on your ability to organize your current finances and plan for your financial future. The right software can put that ability at your fingertips.

The software helps you pull all your financial information together in one place so that you can have an overall picture of your finances. You can upload information from any accounting or budgeting software to incorporate those figures into your retirement plan information and create graphs that help you keep track of how your financial plan is progressing.

What You Gain From Using the Software

The retirement planning software has many new features, some of which are:

- Advisement when your financial situation is at a point where a reverse mortgage could benefit you

- Gives you the ability to evaluate different budget options

- Tracks your asset allocation

- Helps you estimate the security of your investments

- Numerous graphs and report options that are customized to your financial situation

- Helps you keep your finances uncomplicated and easy to manage

- It acts as your own personal financial consultant giving you the direction you need when you need it

- It reduces the cost of hiring a financial advisor

-It sets up real scenarios to explain and create financial plans

- It discusses different options from various angles so that the best choices can be made

- Project inflation needs so you can make necessary adjustments

- Demonstrate any health needs and cost so you can be prepared

A good retirement planning software will help you decipher whether your financial plan is such that will ensure a comfortable future for you. Retirement is a lot to think about and a good financial plan is a serious responsibility that takes time and effort. The right software can make it so much easier and down the road you will see the positive results of your hard work and effort.

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Sticking to your Plan to being Debt Free

By Paul J. Easton

How to stick to a plan in getting rid of debt? Start with stopping yourself from applying for a new credit card. Yes, stopping yourself from getting another credit card is the way to finally end being debt-free.

Never pay your old credit card balance with the available credit from the new one. To end the cycle of debts, stop getting new ones. Together with this plan, start targeting the credit card with the highest interest rate and insistently pay this account down as fast as you can. You have to reduce altogether the amount over the minimum payment on your other cards. Concentrate this time with only one card. You can pay the rest of the cards with the minimum payment.

Be sure, though, to continue making at least the minimums on your other cards every time without failure. After the account with the highest interest is paid off, begin paying off the next highest interest rate card. Work on this plan until you finish paying all your credit card debts, saving you more money from interest and finance charges.

Work on your budget as well. Spend the time to create one on paper before the month starts. When you are aware of your spending, you are spending with a purpose. This will totally give you a conscious effort to limit yourself every time you are faced with a bill or an impulse to buy something.

Your dream is to be debt-free this year. It will take some time and some effort from your end to realize this dream. Certainly, it will not happen over the weekend. Work hard on those aims and make decisions wisely along the way. You now have a plan you can stick with for the long haul, persistent implementation will only push you to success.

You are now motivated and have the priorities in order; it is time to make your life much better without debt. Good luck to you!

For more information on financial directory, get FREE Articles Tips at Get debt-free today with tips on how to get rid of debt here. Start improving your personal finance today.

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Understanding Your Student Loan Consolidation Program Options

By Dennis Powell

Ok, you've worked your butt off at college for the last four years, and thanks to your student loans you were actually able to spend most of your time on schoolwork instead of flipping burgers. But now you're out of school, starting on a new career path, and suddenly those friendly student loans are looming ominously as your grace period draws to a close. Fortunately there are a variety of student loan consolidation programs available to help grads and former students make the transition to the regular work world without the specter of unreasonably high payments.

Most people start their borrowing with a Federal Family Education Loan or FFEL. FFELs cover both subsidized and unsubsidized loans, and an FFEL consolidation loan can wrap both of a borrower's federal loans into a single manageable package. FFEL consolidation programs offer extended repayment terms and fixed rates, and in some cases even those who have been in default in the past can qualify. If you have any federal education debt an FFEL consolidation loan should be the first place you look.

Of course not everyone was fortunate enough (or thrifty enough) to have their federal loans cover all of their expenses while in school. People who needed Private loans aren't left out in the cold though. Many companies also offer consolidation packages that will let you put all of your private loans into a single payment. Private consolidation offers many of the same benefits as an FFEL consolidation, but be aware that FFEL and private loans cannot generally be consolidated into a single package. You may need to get two separate consolidation loans, one for your federal loans and another for the private ones.

PLUS loan consolidation offers the chance for parents who have borrowed to fund their child's education to get many of the same benefits as FFEL and private loan consolidation. In addition to an interest rate reduction Plus loan consolidation offers the option of extended terms to make repayment more manageable. As with any consolidation loan, extended terms also increase the total amount of the loan so borrowers need to make sure that they are making the right choice for their financial situation.

There are many alternative ways of consolidating education financing. For homeowners a second mortgage may provide a better solution to a consolidation loan giving the borrower the option to put of their education loans into a single package. Private loans from family members are another way some grads handle their finances, and for a lucky few, some employers even offer tuition reimbursement programs.

New technologies have come to the lending world where the idea of peer-to-peer programs and micro-financing has taken root. Peer to peer financing allows the borrower to present a request for funding to a group of potential "micro-investors" who then bid on the loan by offering different rates and terms. Once a deal is struck the network services the loan, ensures payments are made and the necessary paperwork is taken care of. For borrowers with needs outside the comfort zone of traditional banks a P2P loan may help them get started down the path to getting their loans paid off.

Making the transition from school life to your career is a road with more than its share of lessons and challenges. Having to make large student loan payments on an entry level salary while trying to save cash for a professional wardrobe, deposits on housing, and other "grown-up" essentials is enough to stop that progress dead in its tracks. There are many things to consider when applying for a consolidation, but knowing that you have options available can help make your transition manageable.

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