There’s nothing quite as exciting as getting that college degree in your hand and added to your resume. A feeling of accomplishment, of believing you are almost invincible, ready to take on the world and fulfill all your career dreams. That excitement quickly turns to reality, when you get your first bill for your student loans. Wow, you may think, did I really accumulate this much debt all by myself, from working like a dog taking tests, writing essays, and doing internships? Yes, sadly that is the reality for most college grads who take out a student loan. But don’t feel defeated just yet. Get a game plan to pay it off as quickly as you can. The interest you will save in getting it paid off will be well worth it in the long run.
Here are some tips for paying off your student loan early:
Pay more than the minimum payment each month.
Why? The more you put towards your loans each month above the minimum amount, the quicker you will be debt free from your loan. Try putting an extra $10-$20 dollars per month on your loan payment; it could make a big difference in the long run. Just getting in the habit of paying off more is going to help you in the long term. Remember the rewards that lay down the road when you have that debt paid off and can keep your whole check for yourself. Well, after taxes, and living expenses, but that’s a topic for another article.
Find and accept a job offer that offers loan forgiveness.
This is one of my favorites because it worked for me. I graduated with a Bachelor’s and also Masters degree in education. I first accepted a job in an inner city school system that allowed me to be a part of a federal program that offered loan forgiveness. What it meant is that every month, my loan bill was paid for me while I continued to teach in the inner city school system. Seven years later, I realized that I wanted to live out West out of the confines of a city, and to my delight, I found that the forgiveness program was also offered in rural areas, so I accepted a job on an Indian Reservation and taught there several years. My debt was paid off without me having to pay it. I’d consider this perk as beneficial as is looking at the health coverage you will get. It’s a huge benefit to help you get your loan paid off.
Apply your Raises towards your loan.
Most jobs at some point offer a raise. It is tempting to buy that extra trip for yourself or upgrade to a new vehicle, but try to stay on the path to getting that loan paid off by applying your raise towards the loan. There will be an end to this debt, and when that happens, you will have a substantial amount of money that will be available to you at the end of each month.
Take on a second job.
If possible, and you can manage it, take on a second job and apply the whole salary towards your loan. It could be as small as taking on a part time coaching job or working a job half day on weekends. This will be a substantial way to get that loan paid off.
Avoid lowering your student loan by refinancing.
Although tempting in the here and now, this will only prolong the agony of carrying that loan. In the end, you will end up paying so much more overall in interest payments.
Trim down your expenses.
Can you move to cheaper housing and apply the difference to your loans? How about skipping a night out on the town? Or maybe you don’t need to buy the newest technology when it comes out. Make a list of what you can cut and choose some things from that list and do it. There certainly must be at least one thing you could cut and apply towards your loan.
Think of what your life will look like without the student loan.
This may sound too general, but motivation is everything. Visualize that first month without a payment. Think of all the extra things you can buy when you are free from this debt forever. Stay the course and dream, visualize what your debt free future will look like.
I hope some of these ideas will work for you. Your dedication to pay off your student loans early will be your reward. Or that new purse you’ll buy yourself with that extra money, but probably getting done with loans. If you have any more tips to eliminate student loan debt, feel free to comment them below!