How to Ask for Student Loan Money for the Holidays This Year
Houses are adorned with festive decorations, busy shoppers are filling the stores, crossing items off of their shopping list—the holidays are here. It’s a time full of family, friends, traditions, and new memories.
Unfortunately for the millions of Americans facing the hefty burden of student loan debt, the joy of the holiday season can be overshadowed by the stress and anxiety that can come with making student loan payments during the holidays.
The average student in the class of 2017 graduated from college with $32,731 in student loan debt. If you’re a parent or family member looking for good gifts for millennials this holiday season, you may want to consider making a student loan payment on his or her behalf.
With the rising cost of higher education, it’s no wonder students are less interested in the newest gadgets and more interested in repaying their student loans. In 2017, The Student Loan Report surveyed 1,000 borrowers, asking them:
“If you had the choice this year, would you rather receive a gift this holiday season or an equally valued payment toward your student loans?”
Nearly 70% of those surveyed said they would prefer a loan payment made on his or her behalf.
The same survey also asked, “If you receive money as a gift this holiday season, are you planning to use the money to make a payment toward your student loan debt?”
Nearly 59% of the respondents said that yes, they would use any cash gifts they receive to make additional payments on their student loans.
If you’re like any of these students, you may be wondering how to ask for a student loan gift this holiday season. While it can be difficult to ask for cash, it could be worth it if you’re able to make an additional payment on your debt and work toward your goal of repaying your loans.
One thing to keep in mind before you start asking for student loan contributions is that there may be tax implications that come with friends and family giving you money. However, there is currently an annual gift tax exclusion of $15,000 , so unless someone is giving you a sizeable chunk of change, it probably won’t come into play. Keep in mind that anyone who is a cosigner on your loans can contribute to them tax-free.
Here are a few tips for those thinking about asking for a student loan contribution as a gift this holiday season.
Asking Nicely and Making it Personal
Gifting cash can feel impersonal, and that’s a reason why people opt for more traditional gifts. If your family asks what you’d like for the holidays, you can kindly and thoughtfully tell them that you’d like money to put toward paying off your student loans. Perhaps take a moment to let them know how grateful you are that they’re asking you what you might like.
If you’re initiating the conversation with your family, it may make the conversation easier if you can be specific and honest about why this is important to you.
If you’re feeling stressed or anxious because of your student loans, tell them. Let them know how much it would mean to you to be able to pay off your loans sooner. You may be surprised by how receptive they are.
Giving Them Options
If your family or friends seem hesitant to just write you a check or give you an envelope full of cash, you can let them know there are other options when it comes to student loan repayment.
Friends or relatives can make a student loan payment on your behalf if you make them an authorized payer on your account (if your servicer lets you).
Alternately, they can look into sites which allow you to purchase gift cards, either online or in select stores, that can be used to either contribute to a 529 savings plan or pay a loan servicer directly.
Finally, you can consider setting up a GoFundMe-like page where loved ones can make contributions to your student loans.
Saying Thank You
Make sure you thank your family and friends for the gifts you receive, whether or not it’s a cash gift you can use to make a contribution to your student loans. Expressing gratitude can go a long way in letting your family and friends know how much their gift meant to you.
You can thank them in-person during your holiday celebrations, and it never hurts to send a handwritten thank you note, even to your family members.
A thank you note takes minutes to write, but can be extremely impactful in showing your family how much you appreciate their gift. And hey, maybe it’ll inspire other family members to opt for their gifts to be in the form of student loan contributions.
Ways To Stay Ahead of Your Student Debt
By asking your family and friends for a student loan gift instead of a traditional present, you’ve already taken a step toward accelerating your student loan payments this holiday season.
Making additional payments on your loans is one of the fastest ways to crush your student debt. Here are a few other ideas you could use to stay ahead of your loan payments this holiday season.
Refinancing Your Student Loans
Another way to manage your student loans: refinance them. When you refinance your student loans, you take out a new loan, typically with a lower interest rate. A lower interest rate could reduce the money you spend over the life of the loan, if you refinance into the same or shorter loan term. You’ll also have the option to adjust your loan repayment term—either by extending or shortening the term length.
If you extend the term length, you’ll typically see lower monthly payments, but will pay more over the life of the loan. If you qualify to refinance your student loans, you have the opportunity to adjust the loan to terms that work best for your budget and lifestyle, which could result in spending less money over the life of the loan. To estimate what a new loan with SoFi could look like, you can use our convenient student loan refinance calculator.
Making the Most of Holiday Spending
Create a holiday budget and a plan to get the most out of your budget this season. Make a list of what you want to purchase for each person you plan on shopping for and get familiar with the average price of the items on your list.
This way, you can make the most of seasonal sales to make sure you are getting the best deals. If you’re able to stay under budget, you can contribute the rest of the money to your student loan payments.
Using a rewards credit card can help to earn some money back on the purchases you’ll be making. If you are going to charge your holiday gifts, however, it’s a good idea to pay off the balance at the end of the billing period. This can help you avoid racking up high-interest credit card debt in addition to your student loans.
If you’re looking for more ways to save money this holiday season, consider making gifts for your family and friends, within reason. Some DIY projects come with substantial start-up costs, so craft wisely.
Or if you have a large family or friend group, you can suggest doing a Secret Santa gift exchange to minimize the money everyone spends on gifts.
Considering Student Loan Refinancing with SoFi
One thing we know for sure is that the holidays are a time for celebrating—enjoying family and friends, reflecting on the year, and gearing up for the new one ahead. And with all that, no one wants to spend excessive amounts of time worrying about student loan debt.
By crafting a plan to actively repay your loans, you’re taking a productive step toward establishing a great foundation for your future.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.
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The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider its appropriateness given your own circumstances.