Once you get that diploma in your hand, you are ready to go after that dream job and start rolling in the dough. Life is good. But wait, what is that bill that arrived in the mail? Could you have really borrowed that much while earning your degree? In a perfect world, college would be free, and when you graduate, you’d be on your way up the financial ladder of success. But back to planet earth. Not too much is free, and college education in the U.S. is definitely not one of them. So, let’s start talking about how to get that student debt paid off as quickly as possible. I’ll outline some tips below.
Make a Plan
Your loan is not going to go away without a plan to pay it off. The minimum plan should be to pay your monthly loan bill on time. This plan is designed get your loan paid off, but it may take many years for that to happen. Try to think of a plan to get it paid off sooner, and then write down your plan.
Try to Make Double Payments if Possible
Can you do without some extras in your life and make double loan payments? If you are looking for a new apartment after college, how about not going too upscale yet. Wait until your loan is paid off before getting a nicer place. The sooner you get the loan paid off, the more money you will have. If you can’t make double payments, then try paying a little more than the payment that is sent to you each month.
Consider Applying For Jobs That Make You Eligible For Loan Forgiveness
Some places will help pay off your loan in return for you working there. There are also national programs that will forgive your loan and make your monthly payments for you if you accept work in a place that your service is needed. These places are sometimes rural or urban areas that have a hard time attracting professionals in your field. I was in a teacher forgiveness program when I taught in an inner-city public school district, and then was again in the same forgiveness program when I moved to teach on a rural Indian reservation. I enjoyed working in both settings, and my monthly bills were being paid each month that I worked there. Check into what may be available in your field.
Take On a Second Job
Imagine how much faster you would pay off your student loan if more money were coming in. A second job can be just the ticket that you need to bring in money to get you out of student loan debt. Think of this second job as a temporary way of life until you pay off the loan or until you get it down to a manageable number. The sooner you pay it off, the less interest you will be paying overall.
Apply That Tax Refund To Your Student Loan
We all love getting tax money back. Just think of all the things that you could spend it on. An exotic vacation, a new toy, or a shopping spree. But none of those ways will get your student loan paid off. Before that IRS check starts to look too tempting, deposit it into your bank account and send that same amount off to your student loan debt. Remember, there will be a day when you can use a tax refund to do all the fun things that you want with it. In the future. But not yet.
Become a Frugal Person
Every dollar not spent is a dollar that could go towards your student loan. Instead of visiting your favorite coffee shop every day, consider making coffee at home at your workplace. You may be surprised at how quickly those dollars that you don’t spend can add up. If it helps, put the amount that you would have spent on something like coffee into a jar and pay yourself instead. At the end of the month, send that money off to be applied towards your student loans, in addition to the monthly amount due.
Refinance Your Loan
Check to see if a lower interest rate is available. If so, go through the paperwork process and refinance it to a lower rate. If you do refinance to a lower rate, try to still pay the amount due that you were used to paying. Or better yet, pay more than the old amount that was due before you refinanced. The goal of refinancing is to get your interest rate down. Get it down so that you can use more of your money to pay your debt off, instead of it going to interest fees.
Apply Your Raises To Your Loan
It’s easy to get excited when you get a raise to think about the new lifestyle you may get to have. But try to maintain the same lifestyle you have always had even when you get a raise. Instead of living up to your new salary, apply it towards your loan. Think of it as your employer rewarding you by helping you to pay off your student loan debt.
I’ve given you some tips on how to pay off your student debt. Consider trying one or more of these tips and watch your loans start to vanish before your eyes. When the going gets tough, and you want to quit and just start making the monthly payments, think about how good it will feel to be debt free. Also, remember that this is just a temporary time in your life. Taking on a second job or not getting to change your lifestyle because of a raise is only for a season. A day will come when you will have no more student loan debt. Concentrate on how good it will feel to make that day come sooner rather than later.
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