Millions of Americans have outstanding student loan debt, and if you do too, it can hang over your head like a sword on a fragile string. You might feel OK about your monthly payment when your bank account is in the black, but what if your finances take a downturn?
Carrying excess debt can cause significant anxiety in your life. If you want to get a handle on your student loan debt quickly, try these seven tips.
1. Embrace side hustles.
I’ll be honest — I sometimes sit and fantasize about what it would feel like to work only one job. While others may dream of new cars and vacations, my wish is to have time to prepare a healthy dinner instead of shoving down fast food in between jobs. I can’t recall a time in my adult life when I haven’t worked two or three jobs at a time, but telling myself that my actions are necessary to get me out of debt helps me stay sane.
2. Pay a little extra if you can.
The fastest way to reduce your loan debt is to pay over the minimum each month. The amount of that extra payment you make may vary, but reinforce those old lessons about economic needs and wants. Do you really need that name-brand handbag? Or would you be OK with an off- the-shelf brand? I know that we don’t all have extra money lying around. But if you set aside $5 or $10 from each paycheck to put towards your balance, you’ll see that you’re making progress towards repaying your loans.
3. Minimize new credit purchases.
Everyone feels the urge to do some “retail therapy” now and then. However, wait until you have extra cash instead of immediately breaking out your credit card. If you have a credit card, save it for emergencies only. It might be tempting to spend when you can earn reward miles, but your discipline will be worth it in the end.
4. Live with your folks.
We all make jokes about being college grads and still living with our parents. But when you don’t have to pay apartment rent and utility bills, living with your parents is a pretty sweet deal. With the money you save, you can more easily pay off your loan debt.
5. Rent with a roommate.
Once you’re ready to live on your own ,try seeking out an apartment with a spare room and live with a roommate.. Not only will you save money and pay off your loans more quickly, but you’ll also have the opportunity to potentially make a new friend.
6. Use “found” money.
Tax time is just around the corner, so now’s the perfect time to pay off debt! If you’re anticipating a tidy refund check, try to dedicate most of it to pay down a little extra student loan debt. Yes, it sucks to forgo treating yourself with your “found” money, but think of how often you can splurge when you’re no longer making monthly loan payments!
7. Celebrate progress.
When you save a “goal amount,” reward yourself. Buy yourself something small but special, like a latte or slice of avocado toast. You don’t have to go overboard to celebrate!
Paying off student loans may seem daunting or even impossible at times, but it doesn’t have to be. Use these tips to help you pay more quickly, and just think about how good you’ll feel when you’ve paid off all of your loans!