What to Consider When Choosing Private Student Loans

What to Consider When Choosing Private Student Loans

Know what to look for in student lenders - before fall.


It's June, so student loan season is around the corner. Most of the time, you can't choose a student loan until you have your final bill from the university or college. As a result, June is a great time to research so that you have the right loan provider ready to go when the bill arrives.

Compare Interest Rates

Different providers offer different interest rate ranges. Make sure to look carefully not just at the minimums but the maximum as well.

Pay attention to whether the loans are fixed interest or variable. By reviewing a variety of providers, you'll be able to focus on those who offer the best rates. It's even better if you can get prequalified. A prequalification allows you to answer a few questions and the bank will do a soft credit check, which doesn't impact your credit. With this information, you can get a much more accurate idea of what interest rate you'll receive.

As you compare rates, don't overlook fees. An origination fee can make a lower-interest loan more expensive because of the percentage you lose when the loan is disbursed.

Interest rates are a major determiner of the best student loans, but it's not the only one. There's more to look for as well.

Consider Repayment Terms

Do you have to start paying a private student loan back immediately, or do you have options? Can you just pay interest while in school, or choose a fixed lower payment? Or do you need a full deferment until graduation?

Different lenders will have different repayment options. You should also look at how long you have to pay. Do you have choices in how long you take? Being able to choose between 5, 10, and 15 years can make a big difference in how much you spend and how much your monthly payments are.

Also, find out what provisions there are if you run into financial hardship. Can you defer payments, take a break, or take advantage of other options? If you can't find the answer on the website, call the customer service line for more information.

Look at Other Considerations

Interest and repayment are the two "big boys" when it comes to comparing lenders. But other factors matter as well.

For instance, if you need a cosigner for a loan, one of your primary concerns should be when and if the cosigner can be released. This is a big deal for those who might be helping you with your loan!

Another factor is what the lender does to be active and responsible in the community. Commonbond Loans has a social component to their business – for every loan issued, the company commits to fund the education of a child in need.

You may also find specific discounts that apply to you, or cashback offers, or other special conditions. Be sure these are considered along with everything else!

Take Your Time and Compare Carefully

Private student loans will impact your life for years to come. It pays to take time to carefully compare all of the terms and conditions before school starts.

By the time the bill comes, you can know exactly which lender to reach out to for funding!

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6 Helpful Tips For Every Broke College Student

It's okay, college is the time of life to be broke.


Let's face it. You're broke. Keeping in mind the hundreds of thousands of dollars you are paying in tuition, it's time to cut back on unnecessary spending and embrace reality. Here are some helpful tips from one stingy college student to the next. Your bank account will appreciate this.

1. Wait AT LEAST a day to make an impulse buy

"Wow, I really look great in this shirt. And look at that it's only $60." Potentially one of the most detrimental moments to our wallets, that ALL of us experience. Don't let that fancy new suit or boujee pair of shoes tell you that you look great the second you see them. After all, you don't get married after the first date. Take a moment, or a day, step back and think, "Will this be worth a paycheck?" Commonly you will find yourself regretting impulse buys, so make sure that you're actually in love with the item before you say "I do."

2. Carry around cash

Whether you know it or not, there's a hole in your wallet. It's that little piece of plastic that you always have trouble getting to work when you pay for something. Yes, I'm talking about your credit card. I find it so much easier to swipe than to hand over cash. When we buy things with cash, it is almost painful because you watch yourself loose money. Whereas, paying with a card, many develop a mindset involving something with the likes of "Oh, i won't have to worry about paying for that until my bill comes in the mail." Carrying around cash will make you want to get rid of it slower, compared to just a piece of plastic that tells you that you can afford anything.

3. Do not waste your money balling out on food

At the end of a long week, we all know that it is nearly impossible to not cash out on a nice dinner or an extra dessert. Be strong. It is ok to eat out in moderation but don't get hooked. It is time to dabble in some of the food in your pantry that you forgot existed.

4. Try to find ways to make money off of some of your hobbies 

People these days will buy ANYTHING. Do you enjoy throwing paint on a piece of paper? Sell it. Makeup connoisseur? Charge people to do their makeup. Instagram freak? Offer to edit people's posts for a couple of dollars. No matter how little you think your hobby may be, it can be extremely helpful or valuable to someone else. It's time to kick back, have some fun, and make a profit.

5. Don't stop into that coffee shop on your way home

You might have convinced yourself that a vanilla latte with an extra espresso shot is the primary energy source from which you will pump out the 7-page essay you've been avoiding, but in reality, it probably won't do that much. You do not need that cup of coffee to keep you going, and your bank account doesn't need it either. It's time to break that caffeine addiction and give your wallet a break.

6. Embrace the dinning halls

I love a burrito from chipotle as much as the next person or a nice fancy dinner with some friends after a long week of work. However, your wallet does not. Try to limit yourself to purchasing food that you have not already paid for. Dining halls are a great option for low-budget ballers. Save your money and spend as much time as you want getting food that has been covered in your tuition. An occasional treat is allowed, but give your wallet a treat too.

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How to Fail in Business – When You’re Really Trying

You can try so hard - and mess it all up. Learn how not to!


I've been working my business full-time for almost four years. Despite my hard work, my business very nearly failed.

I made a lot of mistakes that lead to this. I want to share those with you, so that you can learn from what I did – and have better success than my business has had.

Wait Too Long to Make the Leap

I was in a very comfortable, stable, and BORING day job. I had dead-ended in my career years before I finally had the courage to leave.

68% of employees in corporate jobs are disengaged. I was one of those folks. I had my business as a side-hustle, and it provided additional income. But I waited three years before I took my business full time!


Honestly, I let fear and security win the day – until I was truly desperate and HAD to leave. And unfortunately, that led to my second mistake.

Leave Your Job Without Savings

So, while I was comfortable, I wasn't building my income. I let myself get lazy – even though I had a business on the side. It was very difficult to prospect at night when all I wanted to was veg.

Plus, at the same time I was running my side-hustle, I was dating and eventually marrying my husband. That took a lot of energy, and I was more interested in spending time with him than in building my uncertain business.

As a result, when I finally reached my absolute limit and finally gave my two-week notice, I didn't have a cushion saved up. I had a retirement account – and I used it entirely the first year of my business.

Not recommended.

Fall For All the Marketing

I'll tell you the honest truth. It's really hard to resist the temptation to spend like crazy when you have your own business.

I had excellent credit. (HAD.) As a result, I was approved for a strong credit limit on my business credit card. And I took full advantage!

A lot of this had to do with the fact that I fell for a LOT of marketing messages. You know all the folks that say, "I built my business 1000% in one month using these five strategies?"

They're lying!

If I had realized that MUCH earlier, that alone could have helped my business stay a lot more healthy.

Here's the dirty truth – they grew their business 1000% by preying on the uncertainty of beginning business owners like you. They'll give you some generic strategies in their course – assuming you even finish it. But your results will not be theirs, because you're not following the REAL business model.

I also liked the feeling of traveling to business conferences. And those conference hotels are NOT cheap. I whipped out the credit card, oblivious. Oh – and business conferences are one more giant sales pitch. Don't fall for it.

Finding Your Footing

I made all of these mistakes, and my business is still alive. It's very rough and my family is in a deep hole. At this point I only qualify for the types of credit cards Bonsai Finance recommends for folks with bad credit. But I'm still kicking!

A lot of what I did to right the ship was to get back to my core service – freelance writing – and stop chasing every other "success story" out there. I started ignoring the marketing messages. I stopped believing the "I can show you a way to easy money," lies.

If you've found yourself struggling in your business, you may be making these mistakes. Hopefully this article has given you some clarity so you can see the way out!

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