College Finance 101: How to make it to graduation without student debt

Many students have complained that they’ve made payments on the due date or mailed in a check to apply to their account, but the payment was never received, they were charged a late fee, the payment was never applied or it was applied incorrectly. It may be a pain to take these extra steps to document your payments, but it’s better than getting hit with additional fees and charges later on.

Quick Tips:

  • When making a payment online, save your payment confirmation by printing it out and filing it away, take a screenshot of the confirmation on your computer or document the confirmation number on a dedicated payment document.
  • If making a payment via snail mail, make sure you only write checks with a carbon copy backing and keep a photo of it on your cell phone until it’s processed with your bank account.
  • Document everything. Every single time you call in to speak with a representative about your accounts, write it down or maintain a document online. Be sure to note the date, time, duration of phone call, name of the representative, the reason for your call and the outcome. This will also come in handy when tracking your payments.
  • Commit to paying down your existing debt. Cut out any unnecessary spending and apply the extra cash to your principal balance. If possible, build in extra principal payments to your monthly budget, even if it’s just a small amount.
  • Start An Emergency Fund. Setting money aside for an emergency fund should also be a top priority. Dan McElwee, Executive Vice President and Wealth Manager at Ventura Wealth Management says, “It is incredibly important for young people to begin putting funds aside for a ‘rainy day.’ Job losses and unexpected expenses happen. It’s much easier to pull necessary funds from an emergency account than going back to the Bank of Mom and Dad.”

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