guide for  magoosh-logo-purple-800x181  students

Making a financial game plan

Saving money, paying off loans and sticking to a budget can be tricky, but it’s a lot easier when you have the right plan for you. Magoosh Online Test Prep and NerdWallet have teamed up to help you figure it out. Take this quick quiz to get personalized recommendations, or read on for four steps to better money management.

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Compare savings accounts

Store cash for a rainy day in a high-yield savings account and watch your money grow with interest in the meantime.

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Get your credit score

The first step toward building your credit is knowing how you stack up. See where you stand and get free tips on building your score.

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Refinance your student loans

Have student debt? Refinancing could lower your interest rates. Compare multiple lenders and see your potential savings.


4 Steps to Better Money Management

Step 1: Prep for a rainy day

Even if you have loans and other debt, it’s a good idea to give yourself some wiggle room for the unexpected. An emergency fund can help keep you from defaulting on student loans or digging yourself into more debt. Try to save enough to cover three to six months of expenses. If you’re starting from scratch, shoot for $500 — that should be enough to cover unexpected costs in the short term.

Step 2: Create your student loan repayment strategy

We get it. Student loans are no fun. But there’s help if you need it. For example:

If you can afford your payments and want to save money: Student loan refinancing lets you swap out your loan for a new, lower-rate loan. This is a great option if you have a good credit score and steady income. Keep in mind, though, that refinancing a federal loan would mean giving up income-driven repayment and forgiveness.

If you’re having trouble with federal loan payments: Look into income-driven repayment plans, which cap your payments at a percentage of your salary and extend your loan term. And if you work in public service, look into forgiveness programs. Read about your options here.

Step 3: Make a plan with your finances

Take a look at how much money you take home after taxes every month and put together a budget. Be sure to set aside enough to cover your savings goals and pay down debt, like student loans and high-interest credit card balances.

Step 4: Build credit

A high credit score can help you qualify for better interest rates on future loans, including refinanced loans, car loans and mortgages. It might even help you land your dream apartment.

Build your score by taking steps like paying your bills on time, becoming an authorized user on a parent’s credit card and only charging what you can afford to pay back right away.


How NerdWallet can help you

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Compare options

Our tools offer an impartial look at financial products to help you choose the one that’s best for you.

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Get expert advice

NerdWallet helps you understand your options so you can make the best financial decision for you.

Student loan refinance options

The best refinance lender for you depends on your priorities. Borrowers often look for the lowest interest rate possible, but it’s worth checking out the various features each lender offers. See our reviews for the full details.

Lender APR ranges* Min credit score Details
Updated June 7, 2018
*All APR ranges include a 0.25% autopay discount if available. See additional offer disclosures below.

Fixed: 3.14% - 7.25%1
Variable: 2.72% - 7.27%1
660 Pros
Forbearance available for up to 24 months (longer than many lenders allow)

Cons
Only available in 44 states

Fixed: 3.09% - 6.69%2
Variable: 2.69% - 6.01%2
680 Pros
Offers a $100 bonus if borrowers accept loan offer within 30 days of initial application date

Cons
Must have at least $15,000 to refinance

Fixed: 3.25% - 6.32%3
Variable: 2.57% - 5.87%3
650 Pros
Offers bi-weekly payments, which can help cut down on total interest paid over the life of a loan

Cons
Only available in 45 states and Washington, D.C.

Fixed: 3.40% - 7.75%4
Variable: 2.63% - 7.70%4
Varies Pros
- Borrowers can refinance a parent PLUS loan in their name
- 12 months of forbearance

Cons
No co-signer release option


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Bev O'Shea

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