Student loans can really wreck your mood and your budget. It costs a lot of money to go to college, and while it’s worth it, it can take decades to pay back that loan. If you want to get out from under that debt, there are some steps you can take to pay it back faster without having to skip your weekly happy hour with friends or your yearly vacation. Try one of these things to help you pay back student loans once and for all.
1. Add a Bit of Extra Money to Each Payment
Even if it’s only $20, you might be surprised at how adding a bit of extra cash to each of your student loan payments can help lower it pretty quickly. Because a lot of what you pay is interest, you can put a good dent in your loan total by adding money to the bottom line each month. Whenever you can, send a bigger check and watch the loan dwindle faster.
2. Look into Refinancing Your Loan
This is especially effective if you have more than one student loan. Consolidating all of them and then refinancing can save you tons of money. Shop around and see what you can do about lowering your payments and/or paying them off faster by getting a whole new loan.
3. Find a Job That Will Help You
Certain jobs offer student loan perks by helping you pay some of them back or by helping you get forgiveness on some of them. Often this is a public servant job like a teacher, police officer or firefighter. Once you have the job, seek out the requirements and see if you meet them. If so, it’s like having free money to pay off student loans. Sounds pretty good to me!
4. Got a Raise? Adjust Your Payment
Anytime you get a raise, adjust your student loan payment accordingly and you can pay that total down much, much faster. You don’t want to stretch yourself too thin and find that you can’t pay your other bills, but like I said in #1, paying just a bit more each month can really help you pay it down faster.
5. Get a Second Job to Help You out
Sometimes getting a second job can really drag you out of debt. Perhaps you work a couple of nights per week as a waitress or bartender. Or you babysit on the weekends or take in dogs over the holidays for people who are traveling. Whatever you do, send all that extra money to your student loan company and you should see a huge dent in no time.
6. Examine Your Budget and Find Places to Trim It
Cutting back in your budget gives you the extra money to pay down student loans more quickly. Keep track of everything you spend for a couple of months and see where you can make cuts. Perhaps you can make your own coffee rather than hitting Starbucks or pack your lunch instead of going out every day. These little changes will save you money and can even help you get healthier.
7. Ask for an Interest Rate Reduction
It never hurts to call your student loan company and ask them to reduce your interest rate. A simple call can save you a few dollars here and there that can bring your total down more quickly. Call often and take advantage of every percent they are willing to give you.
Which of these ideas do you plan to try? What other ideas can you share?