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Credit: Noah Hinton
Paying off vast amounts of student debt is the all to common norm in the United States. This debilitating life condition makes it difficult to save enough to buy a home, build a comfortable savings, and it keeps you detached from financial freedom.
According to The Institute For College Access and Success, the average student has $30,100 of debt. This doesn’t even begin to factor in graduate school either. One-quarter of grad students borrow an astounding $100,000. So how can you fight back and take control of your own financial situation?
Here are a few tips on repaying your student loans.
Make That Side Money
Hustling to pay off your student loans is one of the most effective methods you can use to pay them off. Find a side job that you can work a few extra hours a week for and put all of this money towards your student loans on top of what you’re already putting towards them.
Side jobs can be pretty easy to come by on sites like Craigslist, Upwork, or even your own Facebook newsfeed via friends. There are plenty of great ways you can put yourself to work helping someone move, cleaning someone’s home, fixing cars, or other odd jobs around the community.
Continue to Live The College Student Life
You’ve been a college student for so long that when you begin to get your first full-time paychecks in your career it’s tempting to upgrade your living expenses. If you recently begun your career as a personal injury lawyer, don’t stop living like you did in law school.
Carry on a similar lifestyle and put that money towards your student debt. When we’re college students we tend to focus on restricting our budget with the foods we buy, the places we live, and the entertainment we allow ourselves to enjoy. Keep this up for a few more years and it will pay off.
Negotiate Salary Based Off Loans
When you’re being hired for a new job that’s salary based, negotiate that salary based off your student loans. This can include pay increases on your check and even bonuses. It’s an effective tactic that many employers will agree to because they understand just how expenses college is. Don’t feel awkward about negotiating your wage either. When you work for someone it’s a partnership between you and the employer and that partnership should sit on equal footing with pay and benefits.
Pay Off The Most Costly Loan First
Take a look at your student loans and find the one that has the highest interest rate. This is the loan that you should pay off first, whether it’s only a small $400 loan or something much larger. Otherwise it can end up becoming the most costly for you. Keep your average interest rate as low as possible and you’ll be on a good path to repayment success.
Look Into Loan Refinancing & Loan Forgiveness
Loan refinancing and loan forgiveness are two big options to consider. Loan refinancing typically isn’t a great first option unless you’re really struggling with debt repayment, but it is an option to research. There are a few different companies such as SoFi or Earnest that you can dig into.
As for loan forgiveness, this typically applies in only a few instances. If you’ve taken more than ten years to pay back your loans after making timely payments you may qualify. It’s also possible that employers may be willing to pay your loans off for you.
Pay More Than Your Minimum
Paying more than your minimum is a great way to pay less interest on your loans. Set up automatic payments and select more than your minimum to be drawn out of your bank account. This will help you to stay on track and avoid the temptation of only paying your minimum payments.
Apply Any Raises
Any raises that you make from your work should be applied to your student loans if you’re able to. The reason being is that this is extra money you are used to living without, so you won’t miss it if you immediately begin to put it towards your loans. This will make a noticeable dent in your debt in no time.
Pay Every Two Weeks
Lastly, by paying every two weeks you are able to pay more without feeling like you’re paying more. You by no means have to pay your whole monthly payment every two weeks, but decide to pay 65% of your payment every two weeks, or a figure along those lines. Plus, paying every two weeks is more exciting than monthly because you can see that debt number drop more often.
Paying off your student loans may feel like a herculean task, but it’s completely possible. Use these tips in order to get ahead of the ball and form positive habits to conquer your student debt once and for all.