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Consolidating Student Aid Loans - A good idea?
I borrowed my way through College - I wouldn't change that fact, but I probably would have changed what I borrowed. Unfortunately, as time goes on (and the gradient payment amounts increase), it's becoming more and more of a burden on me to pay my student aid. I'm not in that bad of a spot, but I'm basically keeping my head above water, and it is making things like saving for a car a bitch - which causes other expenses, like food, to rise.
So here's my debts:
With the Federal Gov't, I owe $20k/13k/7k, with a monthly payment of $200 - graduated, so it'll go up again at some point in the next few years.
With my personal credit union, I owe just under 6k, with a monthly payment of $131 - this one they want paid off FAST.
With Sallie Mae, I owe 3.5k, with a monthly payment of $55 - This is my oldest loan, from a community college.
With AES/Chase, I owe 3.1k, with a monthly payment of $25 - I think I'm just paying interest on this one, as it never goes down.
So total, that makes in the neighborhood of $400. I make 31k a year (just got a raise), with $570 in rent and about $200 in utilities and $50-70 a month in credit card payments. As I said, not bad, but not great - I spent way too much on food.
I don't know if a consolidation loan is "Right." Part of me is afraid that on some level, I owe these people money and I should tough it out and pay it like a boss. Another part is REALLY afraid of going to a consolidation place and losing my shirt for the rest of my life, or possibly damaging something. But the truth is, I just really have no clue where to start, or if this is the right move for me. I think I've only missed 1 payment in years, which was 10 days late so they called a collections agency on my dad as the cosigner - it was the Chase loan.
What's the best way to proceed? Should I do anything?
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