Tips for Paying Off Student Loans - Brink's Money
Tips for Paying Off Student Loans
24 Aug 2021
Congratulations on graduating, that’s a well-earned achievement! As you step into the workforce, you’ll be taking up new responsibilities such as budgeting your income. With financial responsibilities comes paying off your student loans, which can sound daunting at first. The truth is that tackling student loans isn’t impossible, and you can get on the fast track to paying them off with just a few helpful money tips. Read on for some guidance on how to get started.
Make Additional Payments
To start off, one of the most effective initiatives you can take toward paying down your debt is to make additional payments. If you can afford to make these payments, then do so to minimize the principal and reduce your payoff time. An important piece of advice here is to ensure that your payments are going toward the current balance rather than next month’s payment. You can make this request by contacting your loan provider by email, phone, or online.
Stick to a Repayment Plan
After you graduate and enter your grace period, the government sets you up on a 10-year repayment timeline for any federal student loans. Normally, ten years is the standard time frame, and if that works for you, then you can stick to it or choose a different repayment plan. When creating a plan for repayment, it may also be helpful to set up automatic payments from an account specifically for student loan repayments or your checking account. This way you don’t have to worry about remembering when your payment is due, and you can ensure that everything is paid on time.
Reconsider Your Budget
When you are employed with a steady income, one of the most important money moves you can do is understand your monthly cash flow. Figuring out how much you make each month after accounting for all of your immediate expenses will put you in better shape to develop a budget. With a budget, you get a better sense of how you’ll be able to make payments toward your student loans and make any necessary sacrifices to have more disposable income each month.
Have a Strategy for Your Debt
If you have more than one loan, then you might be figuring out where to start. Financial experts recommend that you implement the “debt avalanche” method, which means paying off the highest interest loans first by paying the minimum for the loans with the lower rates. With the “debt avalanche” method, you’ll save money on interest.
Apply Every Raise, Tax Refund, and ‘Found’ Money
As you gain more experience and boost your career, you’ll get pay raises and promotions. Most people see these raises as a chance to treat themselves and may blow through it before it even gets a chance to reach their savings account. The same can be the case for tax refunds or when you get your hands on some extra cash. When you have the opportunity of more disposable cash, be sure to put it directly toward paying off a few student loans.
Make Biweekly Payments
Another student loan strategy that often works for people is making student loans payments every two weeks. Keep in mind that this does not mean you're paying the amount twice per month. On the other hand, you split your monthly payment in half and make that payment every two weeks. This strategy helps if you are paid on a biweekly basis, and you don’t want to feel the weight of paying it all in one chunk.
It might seem as though paying off your student loans is easier said than done, but it really doesn’t have to be. Once you evaluate your financial situation, and determine which repayment plan is suitable for you, the rest is just sticking with it and checking in on yourself occasionally to stay on track. Paying off your student loans takes time and patience but staying motivated means you’ll be debt-free faster than you realize.
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