Thank you for the reply, accidentalpancake. It seems that you have some of the same CCs as me with similar limits as well.
My question with regards to getting a mortgage someday (this is a few years away), is whether my DTI will be a problem with my student loans. It's really, really high.
I actually just got an e-mail today stating that my Dept. of Ed. loans were transferred to FedLoan Servicing, but I can continue with the IBR (I did a lot of researching after I almost lost my breakfast over this little tidbit). I actually made less than my state's federal poverty line last year, so I know I'm good for another year at least. They aren't even showing up yet on their website and they are gone from the Dept. of Ed. website. But I am going to look into consolidation. How will consolidation affect the IBR plan?
Well, off to start "gardening" as you refer to it here.
I can relate! If your federal student loans are on IBR at 0, just keep going on with what you can do for now. I am with FedLoan Servicing, so a word of advice: when your IBR is up and you have to reapply, you need to make sure you do so in a timely manner! Last year, they were great with processing times, but this year, they've gone downhill.
I've been able to get 2 car loans with my student loans on there. However, I would say not to worry too much about that stuff till the time comes. If you worry now about what might happen 2 years from now, it will drive you crazy. I know you want to be prepared and ready when you need to obtain a loan, but deal with things one day at a time.
This thread is a couple months old and the OP may not be around anymore, but I wanted to shout out some encouragement to everyone who is in this situation.
I was in this situation for the first 4-5 years that I was paying my SLs. I borrowed a LOT (and so did my husband) and despite my best efforts in college and grad school to research salaries in my field and not borrow more than I could pay back, I didn't realize how competitive my field is until I entered the workforce. Over half of my SL debt and most of DH's is private loans - though our interest rates are much lower than most people on this board mention (probably because they're older loans vs more recent loans). During the first few years when our salaries were very low, paying everything was a struggle. When DH lost his job a few years ago and it took 15 months to find a new one, paying everything was a struggle. We deferred, took forbearances, changed payment plans, and lived on a very tight budget - but made sure to never miss a payment. As we have progressed in our careers and our salaries have gone up, making our SL payments has gotten easier and we've been able to loosen our budget and enjoy life. Now, 6-7 years into repayment, we're about to start paying everything off. It's going to take another five years or more until ALL of them are paid off, but considering we were originally looking at 25 years of payments, I am REALLY happy to be getting out from under them in 10 or less.
It REALLY sucks to be stuck under SL debt, but keep at it. The balances eventually go down, and your salary is likely to increase as you progress in your careers. Focus on making that happen - find your niche and excel at it, recognize good opportunities, work hard, and keep looking for opportunities. Keep focused on your finances - even when they depress you - and if you see a potential problem developing, do whatever you need to do to avoid missing a payment. If you can't pay everything, apply for a deferment or forbearance. Don't worry about being on the longterm or income-based repayment plan if that's all you can afford right now - when you get promoted or get a better job in the future, they will let you switch payment plans, and they will ALWAYS accept extra payments. Don't worry about your DTI right now. Yes, your SLs will affect some of the decisions you make in the future. You may have to put off buying a house or starting a family until you get your SLs paid down to a more reasonable level. I agree that that sucks, and I've sometimes felt like my SLs have held me back from progressing in some parts of my life. But getting my education - and SLs were a necessary part of that - has resulted in so many cool opportunities and a pretty great life. I'd do it smarter and borrow less if I had it to do again, but I don't regret it.
Keep paying your SLs and do whatever you need to do to avoid missing payments. Your situation will get better in the future and the balances WILL go down. Set yourself little milestones to celebrate - I remember doing a HUGE happy dance when the balance on my first SL reached the amount that I had originally borrowed, because it felt like I was going to be paying accumulated interest FOREVER! Hang in there and don't miss payments, and you'll have awesome credit.
Thanks Rikku. Great tips to keep in mind.
Good topic. I can relate. I'm still in grad school & afraid to stop school, because then I'll have to pay everything back. But there is hope. My job is paying the max amount to my grad program (almost $6K a year). Plus, I'm looking for doctorate programs that pay me to attend... so I'll still be in deferment, but won't be racking up more debt. I'm also paying some each month now, to bring it down, but I owe over $100K... yep, that's right. It's frightening, but I know we'll make it!