5 Ways to Tackle Your Student Loan Debt

I still remember the day I got my first bill from Sallie Mae after graduation. I walked to the mailbox like I did often after work, and pulled out the mail. Right there under the O Magazine was a bill from my good friends at Sallie Mae. My heart began to race, and I realized I just wasn’t ready. I had just graduated. Had six month’s gone by that fast? I didn’t make enough to add a $300+ payment to my budget. A student loan, for most, is the first major debt acquired. Once you graduate, that grace period fly’s by. Before you know it Salle Mae is calling asking where her money is. It is important to plan and prepare ahead of time to help make the repayment process painless. Here are 5 ways to tackle your student loan debt.

Plan Ahead

From the moment you take out your student loan, you know it will become due. Why not use that knowledge and plan ahead? One of the smartest plans for your student loan repayment is to start saving for the payments while you are in school. Most college students are not rolling in dough, but they are able to work and accumulate income while they are focusing on their studies. A student can figure out how much the interest payments are going to be and save that amount every month for their repayment or they can take that money and just pay on the interest every month while they are in school. This is great practice for learning how to pay bills on time without any consequences. Now this is something I really WISH I put into practice. I will be completely honest with you. I worked two jobs while in college, but not one red cent went towards my student loan debt. I was too busy buying clothes, TVs, and other worthless items I can’t even name. Learn from my mistake, and plan ahead!

Use Your Grace Period Wisely

Every student loan has a grace period before the first payment is due. This time is not a moment for you to pretend you do not have a large loan to pay back in a few months. This is the perfect time to begin preparing to pay that money back. The grace period is the time given to every borrower, as a courtesy, to find a job, get comfortable with it, and begin to make enough money to repay the loan. Use this time wisely! Save for the first few payments.  This way you have a few months of your  student loan payments in reserve just in case. You will feel more at ease.

Budget 

Student loans can be overwhelming once we start thinking about paying them back. As with all our finances, it is important to budget the amount of money needed to repay our loans. Sit yourself down and create a workable budget before the first payment is due on your student loan. Planning ahead will take the sting out of having to start paying this money back. Your budget will help you decide whether you need to cut other expenses in order to live comfortably with your current student loan payment. A good budget is a mirror into what your finances look like at any given point and time if you keep it current. 

 

Increase Your Income 

Unfortunately, in this day and age, we cannot count on graduating from college and landing our dream job immediately. Though this is a hard reality, it is not something to look at in a negative light. It is an opportunity to be creative. Sometimes we have to create the opportunity we are looking for, and use our day job as an investor.

Modern technology has opened the doors to opportunities we did not have just a few decades ago. Use these opportunities to your advantage! This is the time to find yourself a side hustle, and hustle smart! This source can come from multiple sources. You can create a blog, freelance write, sell unwanted items online, personal assist for a company in need remotely, and countless other ways. It does not matter how you create extra money as long as you do. The extra money you make can be the relief you need to help pay back your loan, and it can also

Utilize Your Deferment Option When Needed.

Life is not an experience we can predict with certainty. This is why loan providers offer a tool to help former students protect themselves, their finances, and their credit. The deferment is an opportunity to place your loan on hold while you get your finances together. Simply put, the loan provider will not require any payments to be made for a specific amount of time so you can become more financially stable. Deferment is good for situations where you find yourself without a job and unable to make your payments. I did defer my loans after I was laid off from my corporate job. I honestly didn’t know what else to do at the time. I had no savings, and I was seriously a paycheck away from homelessness. Deferment helped me save my credit. If I wasn’t able to defer my loans, I would have been forced to miss payments and fall into default. However, don’t defer too long. Interest quickly grows, and the goal is to get out of debt. Not create more.

Student loans are a big deal. We take them out in order to create a good life for ourselves, but we need to be wise about making the decision to take them out. When you make that decision, be sure to read all the literature on your loan, learn what all the rules and regulations are, and plan and prepare well. You do not want to take out loans you are not sure you will be capable of paying back. Student loans go into default every day because people take out loans they cannot pay back. Planning ahead and utilizing your options responsibly can save you a lot of headaches and save your credit.