Bronwyn Wilde trawls through IRD and Studylink (2 cursed sites) and returns with some money saving tips to add a little more weight to your wallet.
An extra $1000 of course-related costs might feel good in the short term, but what about some longer-term tips that could save you MILLIONS!!!!?!?! A slight exaggeration, but here are some Student Loan tips you might be surprised by:
- Already unnecessarily paying back your loan? You know that $15 that gets deducted from your paycheck every week from your part-time job at Cotton On? You don’t have to be paying that! If you earn less than $20,020 a year, you are eligible for a student loan repayment exemption – meaning you can drop that pesky ‘SL’ off your tax code. When you’re a student you need every cent of your earnings ($15? That’s an extra 2 bottles of wine a week!!) And I’m no economist but, as the saying goes – a dollar in your bank account today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow. Save paying off that interest-free loan for a time when you aren’t still adding to it every week, and have a full time job. It’s a future-you problem!
- Going overseas? You’ve probably heard of the dreaded 6 month cut-off at which point your loan starts accumulating interest. But were you aware that if you’re overseas volunteering for a charitable organisation, you can avoid interest for up to 2 years?! So say “holaaa putaaaa” to Peru and that gap year you never got to do – Inland Revenue might be treating you as “physically present” in New Zealand for the purposes of taxation, but you will be completely mentally absent while you trip ayahuasca in the Amazonian rainforest.
- Island goddess? Alternatively, if you’re living in Niue, the Cook Islands or Tokelau then you may be able to keep your student loan interest free. Got to love a little paradise! I’m sure it will do great things for your gram too.
- Feeling mature? Once you turn 24, you are officially regarded as independent from your parents (who knew 24 was such a landmark birthday!?!). This means you are eligible for student allowance, regardless of how baller your olds are. If free money isn’t the incentive you need to stick around at Uni your whole life then I don’t know what is! Just be careful not to run out of EFTS….
- Not a maths genius? Your myIR page has a Student Loan Repayment Calculator, so get ready for your new favourite procrastination activity to be working out how many years it will take to pay off your loan! For example, how great is it to know that if I earn the median income of $52,000 it will only take me 16 years and 5 months!?!?! It’s really not that long when you consider it is the same amount of time as bingeing every episode of Shortland Street, 45 times over!