Student loans are a burden for a lot of people. Trying to make ends meet while repaying your loans can be a real hassle, and that is why it serves to know what you are dealing with. Here are some actionable tips on how to pay off your student loans even without using a money counter machine.
Know what you owe
This may sound a bit on the nose, but the truth is many graduates only know a rough estimate of what they owe. This kind of attitude will not help you be very efficient when trying to pay off your debts.
It is essential that you know exactly what you owe, to what institution, what are the amounts, the interest rates, and so on. So, first things first, take inventory of your student loans and put it all down on paper.
Learn if you’re paying too much
Not everybody takes advantage of this simple solution: refinancing. Are you aware of how much interest you pay? If the percentage is more than 4%, don’t let yourself be fooled anymore. You can reduce your interest rate by refinancing.
Your credit score plays a role in all this. If you are already working and have a stable workplace, the chances are that your credit score is much better than for someone who is still looking for a job. People with a credit score of 650 or more can qualify for lower rates, and that is something you should investigate.
Cut back on big expenses
Student loans should not plague your existence for a long time. You may hear a lot of financial advice on how you should cut down on drinking specialty coffee, but even if you don’t drink coffee at all, you will still not be able to make a difference for the loans you have to repay.
Instead of focusing on the little things that would take a lot of energy and time to deal with, take a look at the bigger picture. You can postpone getting a mortgage for a few years until you climb up the well of student loans.
Not spending on big stuff is highly recommended for graduates who struggle to repay their student loans. Also, if you concentrate on just repaying them, without accumulating other debts, it will be much easier for you to keep track of everything.
Automatic billing can save you up some money
Lenders want to know that you are going to pay on time, and to stimulate their borrowers to do that, they offer the possibility to enroll for their automatic billing service in exchange for a discount. This discount is usually 0.25% off the interest rate, so it is safe to say that it is a good incentive.
Also, you don’t have to worry all the time about failing to remember to pay your loans on time. This will allow you to concentrate on making money and getting out of debt the intelligent way.
The easiest way to get out of debt is to earn more money and repay your loans faster. Here, you have several methods to consider. For instance, if you have already been working in the same workplace for a while, maybe it is time you asked for a raise.
Check the salaries in your industry and don’t hesitate to go forward to the upper management with a request for an increased wage. You may even try to find a new job that would pay you better.
Use your hobbies to generate extra income. It is not uncommon for many people to practice what they like in their free time, and earn some money on the side from that. From teaching yoga classes to designing websites for small businesses, there is always something that pays.
Get rid of the stuff you don’t use that just lies around the house. You will declutter efficiently, and you will be able to make a bit of money in the process. The sharing economy can also offer you some extra income venues, such as being an Uber driver or renting out a room.
Check for student loan benefits at your workplace and your state laws
Some places offer college graduates incentives to come work for them, and even entire states practice such benefits. Of course, you will have to commit to specific requirements, such as working for the same company or in the same state for some years, but the incentives are not to be overlooked.
You can end up getting up to 15,000 dollars in student loan benefits, just by making such a smart move. At the same time, you will get a good job that will help you pay even more off your debt.
Pay in advance whenever you can
When you are dealing with debt, every little thing counts. If you happen to get a bonus at work or earn some extra money from other sources, you can use it to repay more off your loan. Even if you cannot turn this into a monthly habit, it will surely help you get at the end of the line faster, and that is all that counts.
Don’t ignore short-term sacrifices
If you have already dealt with big expenses, by postponing them, as mentioned earlier, but you are still not satisfied with the pace of repaying your loans, you can trim down your budget even more.
There are little joys in life that you would rather not live without, but there are also expenses that you don’t have to hesitate to cut down. If you have a TV subscription, for instance, but you almost never watch TV, the time has come for you to tell your service provider goodbye.
Hanging out with friends is a pleasure, but if you are all graduates with student loans to repay, it can be a good idea for everyone to skip expensive restaurants, and head over to casual places where food and drinks are much cheaper.
Use the money you would spend on small things in a month to repay more of your student loan in the said month, even if you will not do it every time. Or invest in a washer and dryer and stop spending money at the Laundromat.
Don’t apply for forbearance too fast
Even if you are going through a difficult time, consider paying your loans on time a priority. Applying for forbearance will only complicate your situation in the long run, by adding to the money you owe and prolonging the debt period.
See what tax deductions you qualify for
You can use the money you get from tax deductions to pay off some of your debt. Depending on where you live and other factors, you can add up to 2,500 dollars to the amount you repay each year.