After graduating from college, you may be daunted by the fact that it is now time to pay off your student debt. Typically, you have a few months before repayments kick in, but they are coming.
It’s especially scary or stressful as you are just joining the working world. However, there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel!
The process of paying back your student loans can be simplified and sped up if done correctly.
However, every person has a unique situation and amount of student loans to repay. So it’s important that you don’t compare yourself to others with loans and create your own repayment plan.
Here are some simple tips for paying back your student loans efficiently and quickly that you may want to explore.
Create a Budget
Postgrads should have a pretty keen idea as to what functioning off of a tight budget looks like. Now that you’ve landed your first job, establishing a budget can play an important role in how you are going to support your new lifestyle and what you can afford on top of your student debt.
Calculate your income to debt ratio to ensure you are not dishing out more money than you are currently making. If you realize this is the case, find areas that you can scale back on and live under your means for a while.
Be sure to track your budget using tools such as Excel or Intuit Mint.
Placing bill payment reminders in your phone with alerts attached to them will also help keep you on track. Utilize the technology at your fingertips to keep you on your toes and stay organized while managing and maintaining your budget.Note: If you’ve read my past blog posts, you’ve seen me mention how I’m not the biggest budgeting fan or obsessed with it. But there are a few times where creating a budget is crucial and paying student loans is one of those necessary budgeting areas.
Prioritize Debt Payments
Since your loans with higher interest rates will likely be your credit cards, pay those off first. Paying off these high-interest loans will save you from paying more in interest over the long run.
Once your highest-interest card is paid off, make that same payment to the card with the next-highest interest rate. Continue the process until all the credit card debt is paid off. And in the meantime, limit your credit card usage. This will help improve your credit score and keep your debt from increasing.
You may also have heard about the debt snowball effect, which was made more popular by Dave Ramsey. Basically starting with the smallest debt first and pay that off. Then proceed to the next slightly larger small debt, so on and so forth, gradually proceeding to the larger ones later.
The goal is you feel like something is being accomplished and are more satisfied with the results.While this applies to credit cards mostly, you can even use this approach with your student loans repayment.
Set Up a Payment Plan Right Away
It is vital to stay on top of your incoming mail and emails that are associated with your student loan payment(s).
Consider tracking the end date for your loan repayment term so that you can avoid late fees and default status. This can ultimately result in a low credit score is you’re not on top of it. Paying student loans is critical to obtaining a positive credit score.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to rebuild your credit easily if this were ever to occur.
Once you know when your grace period ends, get ahead of things by working with your bank to set up an automatic payment option. This will make it possible for your loan payment to be automatically taken out of your paycheck.
This entire process will save you a lot of hassle and can keep your payments timely.
Americans owe over $1.56 trillion in student loan debt, spread out among about 45 million borrowers. That’s about $521 billion more than the total U.S. credit card debt.” (Student Loan Hero)
Refinance or Consolidate
As you begin to make regular loan payments, you may realize that your amount or interest rate is preventing you from paying off your loan as quickly as you would like.
It is critical to research other lenders to refinance your loan through so that your payments can be more comfortable for you to make. Pay attention to loan repayment length, interest rate, and monthly payment before making your final decision.
Consolidation allows you to group all of your loans into one new loan so that you are making multiple payments to separate lenders. Loan consolidation can potentially lower a single monthly payment at a lower interest rate.
Increase Your Payment Contributions
As with some of the other above options, if you are able to, starting increasing your payments. Maybe that’s adding another $50 each month towards your repayments.
This of course is not feasible for everyone, especially if you already have quite the high monthly payment that already eats at your wallets.
However, if you have the option or make extra money, take the opportunity to fast track paying back your student loans.
A great place to start is even doing this every so often, not even monthly. If you are side hustling and maybe few extra bucks one month, consider adding that to your payment that month.
Every little bit that gets above your interest levels can help you pay off your student loans a bit faster. This is something I started applying myself to my loans, to start closing these out.
Maybe sort of counter intuitive to the title including “quicker” but paying off student loans no matter what, can take time. If you are not making well-above six-figures or getting financial help from family, it still takes some time even with the above tips.
At first, it may seem like you aren’t making significant progress but keep at it! There are tons of student debt stories online of people who accomplished some amazing pay off stories.
Again, everyone’s situations are different so don’t get frustrated. Instead, be motivated by what is possible and apply the above tips to elevate your student loan payments.
Staying on top of your student loans, saving money and weighing out your options for repayment will place you in control of your financial health!
Ultimately, how you approach paying student loans off is unique to your situation.
You can potentially use all of the above tips or select ones that may align with your process better. No matter what direction you choose, you’ll be on your way to faster payments and getting rid of debt quicker.Do you have student loan debt? How are you approaching paying them off? Let us know in the comments below!