Anyone can fall into debt for a number of reasons. Medical expenses, poor budgeting, fluctuations in the stock market –– these are all common causes of debt in America. In addition, student loans are a major pain point for individuals looking to balance their books and get back in the black. Indeed, 44 million Americans owe collectively around 1.5 trillion dollars in student-loan payments alone. It’s no wonder so many people are looking for ways to alleviate their student-loan debt. Thankfully, this post can help. Here are five tips for paying off your student loans once and for all:
Create a Budget Plan
The first step toward getting out of debt is to take stock of your situation. Determine exactly how much student-loan debt you have, what your payments are, and what you can afford to set aside in a given month for student-loan payments. It’s possible that you’re paying more (or less) than what you currently should to reach your goal of becoming debt free. Before you can begin to effectively fight your debt, you need to understand what you’re up against.
Pay More than the Minimum
When you have extra income available, you should consider paying more than the minimum monthly payment toward your student loans. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is and it isn’t. Many people set up automatic payments for their loans and don’t think about paying more than what’s required. Yet, it’s crucial to recognize when you can comfortably allocate a little more money toward your student loans. This will help you pay off your debt quicker, or at the very least, give you some cover during lean periods.
Refinance Your Loans
High interest rates on loans will serve to keep you in debt longer than need be. If at all possible, refinance or consolidate your loan payments to drive down interest rates so that you can start actually paying off the loan amount –– instead of interest.
Apply for Loan Forgiveness
Certain professions will offer student-loan forgiveness to employees who qualify for them. In addition, you can apply for loan-forgiveness programs that cap your student-loan payments at a certain level each month –– usually ten-to-fifteen percent of your monthly income. This can be a great way to free up extra cash when you need it!
Make More Money
Easier said than done, but perhaps the most effective way to ensure that you pay off your student loans is to start making more money. Whether you went to college to learn about sophisticated lab equipment like a laminin cell culture or to become a personal trainer, putting your degree to good use and earning your investment back is one of the best feelings in the world. And remember, getting out of debt is a process –– so don’t get discouraged if it takes longer than you initially planned!