HOW TO PAY OFF STUDENT LOANS FASTER

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HOW TO PAY OFF STUDENT LOANS FASTER

Lexy Zorotrian

Have you ever just sat down and asked yourself what you’re doing with your life? What exactly ARE you doing with your life? Have you thought about going back to school? I’m sure you have; everybody has thought about it. Most people decide not to go to college. They either don’t have the money, or they don’t have the time, or they just don’t want to.

Maybe you’ve already been through college, or you’re still there trying to finish up for your career. Whether you’re thinking about going to college, or you’re still in college, or you’ve already graduated and you’re onto your career; you’re going to have student loans. Do you know how much it’ll cost, or have you seen your bill for your loans? They aren’t going to be easy to pay off. After you graduate from college and you go onto your career, you’re going to start to panic when you see those loans. How about I teach you a few things? I’ll go through my steps and I’ll teach you how to pay off those loans faster. So don’t panic, my friends. Just keep reading.

 

MORE MONEY DOWN

One of the first options to pay off those loans faster is to put down more money each month. This is actually one of the easiest ways to pay off some debt. So, each month, take your student loan payments and add some extra money to it. I’m not saying to put down $200 more down, oh no! I’m talking around $50 and below. If those payments are $400, then try paying $410 at first. Then work your way up from there. It’ll add up really fast.

I would recommend setting up automatic payments with some extra cash each month. This way, you’ll be less likely to change your mind about giving more.

 

WHAT IN THE WORLD IS A WINDFALL

Now; onto cash windfalls. Cash windfalls actually can help you out significantly! A cash windfall comes in different kinds of forms. Let’s say you get a huge settlement from a lawsuit, or an inheritance. Maybe you won the lottery and got a million dollar, or an insurance claim or maybe a yearly tax refund! It’s basically when you suddenly get a huge chunk of money handed to you! It might be really tempting to go out and spend all this money on pretty things for yourself; but how about you use it to pay off some debt? Come on, be smart about this.

Did you know that a least 70% of people who get a windfall will spend it all within a year or two?  What’s better: a new Mercedes, or a debt-free life? I know you know the answer. So pay those loans off!

 

FORGIVE ME FATHER, FOR I HAVE LOANED

Here’s a fun fact: certain jobs actually offer forgiveness for parts, or all, of your student loans! Those certain jobs are jobs like:

  • Federal Agencies
  • Public Service
  • Doctors
  • Lawyers
  • Automotive Workers
  • Nurses
  • Teachers
  • Volunteer work

They basically give you free money to pay off those student loans of yours.

Now, it is a little difficult to actually find a job that will give you forgiveness. You need to meet all of the requirements given to you, and you also will need to complete a full term of work required to receive any forgiveness. If you do get accepted for forgiveness, your payments will decrease, but your interest rates will increase. If you find yourself ineligible for forgiveness, you will be stuck with higher interest rates.

So you kind of have to ask yourself if you can REALLY get forgiveness, or you’ll be stuck with worse loans.

 

RAISE YOUR HANDS TO A LOWER LOAN

Say you graduate from college and find yourself the best job there is. Let’s say each year, they offer raises! Now, what would you do with that money? If you’re asking for my advice, I’ll advise you to pay your loans with that extra money. Say you’re making an extra $200 a check with that raise, throw that into the loan bucket! You were perfectly fine before you had that extra money, and you’ll be fine without it. So, before you go out and buy you some pretty things with that extra cash, ask yourself if you really need those things. I’ll answer that question for you; no, you don’t! Okay, let’s say you do need some extra money. You were barely getting by, so some extra money will really help you out. Can you live with only $100 more a pay day? Try putting half of that bonus toward the loans. Like I said earlier, any amount will go a long way.

Pay those loans my friend.

 

LET’S MERGE TOGETHER

Have you thought about consolidating and refinancing? Think about this one. Refinancing is one of the best moves for paying off your loans! The main goal of refinancing is to decrease you interest rates! That means more of your payments will be going to those student loans. Now, after you refinance your loans, you’ll start getting one consolidated loan with only one monthly payment! Cool, huh? I’ll answer that question for you, my friend: the answer is yes. Now you’ll most likely want to include those loans that you can lower your interest rate down. Moving on, friends.

 

STAY AWAY FROM PROGRAMS

Let’s talk about loan repayment programs. Don’t do it, my friend. You want to avoid loan repayment programs like the plague. They may sound tempting; lower payments by lengthening the loan term. Admit it, the only part you read from that is “lower payment”. What about the rest of it? You’d want to be paying student loans off for 30 years instead of 10? NO! Why would you want to do that? They’ll probably follow you to the grave. There’s this program called “pay as you earn” (PAYE). This program stretches out your loan repayment term from 10 years to 25 years. This is an example, of course, but it’s a real life example! Another bad option is direct loan consolidation. This is also a bad idea because it prevents faster payments. You’re wondering why, aren’t you? I’ll tell you why! You’re taking all of your student loans and squishing them together into one big loan! You need to watch out for the interest rates. With this, you aren’t able to target the high interest loans with extra payments after you merge the loans together. Bad idea!

 

What I’m about to tell you is probably one of the hardest things you can do; cut back. Yeah, yeah, you’re probably laughing at me and thinking how easy it is to cut back, or maybe you just lost your mind and don’t know what to do anymore. So anyway, lower your budget. I’m not saying to eat noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner, or use leaves as toilet paper. Cut out the small things.

I guarantee you; you’ll be able to pay off at least $50,000 of student loans in 3 or 4 years! Here’s how:

  • Move to a cheaper home (house, apt, etc)
  • Give up the bar or happy hour
  • Stop eating out
  • Get a little side job
  • Get rid of cable TV
  • Work extra hours

These are all short-term adjustments! After you pay off that student loan, you get to go back to normal. This all might seem a bit extreme, but I promise you, it’ll get easier. If you don’t want to make all these adjustments, try dedicating a whole month to saving. Maybe every other month can be a “low cost living month”. Instead of buying shiny new toys for yourself, try saving that money. Cut back on food and alcohol also, and put that extra money towards your loans! As long as you have the motivation and a little bit of creativity, you can make this work!

 

-BE STRATEGIC ABOUT YOUR DEBT

  • First step is add more money to your student loan repayment
  • But how you apply extra money could make difference, too
  • For all loans, makes sense to pay off highest interest loans first
  • This is called “debt avalanche” meaning you pay just the minimum on all but loan with highest interest rate
  • Might be best off targeting private loans first
  • Repaying private loans often mean higher interest rates and less flexible repayment terms compared to federal loans
  • Private loans have variable interest rates too

 

 

REDUCE MY INTEREST RATES

Sometimes you’ll have the chance to take an interest rate reduction. I recommend taking this because it’ll add up in the end. This won’t save you thousands and thousands of dollars, but it will save you a little bit. Money does add up! Sometimes you’ll get an interest deduction just for signing up with automatic payments, which if you remember, I recommend you do! Automatic payments can help you in paying your loans. You won’t have to worry about missing a payment, or even being late! They’ll make your life easier.

Now, reductions are usually only about a 0.25% smaller interest rate. Like I said, it’s not a ton of money, but it’s still something! Every penny counts, my friends!

 

I’LL TAKE A TAX REDUCTION, PLEASE

Take advantage of tax deductions! If you’re paying off student loans, you’re most likely eligible for interest deductions on your federal taxes! This is a wonderful thing! You’ll get SO much money taken off loans! If it takes you 10 years to pay off your loans, you can get up to almost $30,000 deducted in just taxes! Each year, they can deduct up to $2,500 just for the interest of your loans! Now, you can probably guess that you need to reach some requirements to get money back! I wouldn’t worry about it too much, considering most loan holders in their 20s are eligible, which are, like, all of you! You don’t even need to worry about keeping a record of your taxes; you’ll still get that deduction. Which, you’re in your 20s, you’re poor, you’re stressed out and studying every second you get; who has time to keep record of taxes?

Tax credits can actually be a bit more valuable than tax deductions. Overall, a $2,500 tax credit can save you more money than a $2,500 deduction! If you’re paying tuition at this moment, you’re most likely eligible to tax credits! Tax credits aren’t exactly related to paying student loans; it’s definitely worth looking into!

 

I GOT ME SOME GOOD DEBT

My friends, I hear a lot of people raving about how student loans are “good debt” to have. I think a lot of you misinterpret this. Out of all the loans you get, a student loan is definitely the best loan to have for your credit. This doesn’t mean you can take your sweet time to pay them off. You need to pay off your loans on time! They just build up over time! You can’t miss payments or be late all the time and expect it to not have any effect on your credit; because it will! You don’t get special passes just because you have student loans.

The whole “good debt” and “bad debt” is actually about how debt will increase value over time. In this case; the vale that’s being increased is your salary!

 

BIWEEKLY PLAN

                Something you can definitely do, is pay biweekly! This is such a wonderful idea because it’ll put you on a set schedule that’s easy to follow! How you can do this, is slit up the payments in half! That way you aren’t overwhelmed and broke when your due date comes for the bill. Sometimes there will be five weeks in a month, right? If you continue to pay biweekly, you’ll actually be paying extra when that fifth week hits. Say your bill is $400 a month. Every other week you’re paying $200, right? In the month that has 5 weeks, you’ll actually be paying $600 for student loans! I recommend paying this extra week because it’ll put you ahead of the game easily! You’ll also be able to stick to your biweekly schedule.

 

I CAN SEE THE FUTURE

                This next idea for you is more of a visual motivation idea. Imagine yourself debt-free. You have no stress over the bills, you have so much more money in your pocket, and you can look into buying that new Mercedes you’ve been drooling over! This is you new happy place, isn’t it? Come back to reality. You can’t afford to go on vacation like all your friends, you can’t go celebrate your bestie’s birthday because you have no money for drinks, or maybe you just have a lemon car. Nobody wants this life, my friend.

Keep imagining yourself debt free and you’ll soon start to become more motivated! You’ll start wanting to work more for that extra money, or you won’t mind living in a low cost apartment because you know this won’t be forever! This life is only temporary! Thank the Heavens, am I right? Make your future become your reality! Bring that pay off date closer to the present!

Remember my friends; use that beautiful head of yours! Think straight and clearly and you’ll be able to pay off your debts in no time at all!