Today I have some smart tips to help you in paying off student loans fast and (almost) pain-free!
The looming thought of having to pay off student loan debt after you graduate is not something to look forward to.
Business Insider ran a feature on me, covering how I paid off my student loans fast, with side hustle income (that later grew into a corporation!).
Well, I have some more tips for how to pay off student loans. Read on!
7 Smart Tips For Paying Off Student Loans Fast
If only I could go back in time and tell myself NOT to go to college! I didn’t know back then that I could have just started a blog to make a living.
I probably didn’t need to go through a four-year bachelor’s degree program or face that pile of student loan debt at the end.
Unfortunately, taking out a loan to pay for college is something that most people who want to go to college have to do.
Due to the ever-increasing tuition and fees associated with getting a higher education.
Depending on which type of school, and which specific one you attend, you could be facing tens of thousands, if not more student loan debt when you finally graduate.
For many, this is extremely daunting and can seem like a never-ending black hole. But don’t worry, there are things you can do to lighten the load!
Although I think free college would be great, that’s not going to help you know if you already have student loan debt
Pay Off Student Loan Debt Fast – Free Budget Planner
To start paying off student loans fast, I recommend keeping a budget sheet to track your bills and expenses.
Use ours, for free! You can get a free copy here:
Here are 7 things that you can start working on today to start paying down those student loans.
1. Start as early as possible
First of all, you should make sure that you really know what kind of student loans you have. You may have to start paying your interest on your loans while you are still in school or if your loans are in deferment.
You want to be aware if you have any unsubsidized loans, as these are the ones that you are responsible for any accrued interest.
The good news is you have a 6 month grace period after you stop going to school or you switch to attending part-time.
So save up as much as you can during that 6-month period to try and get a head start.
You don’t have to pay anything as long as you are enrolled in school at least half-time. Even putting in a few dollars a month is going to help in the long run.
Whatever you pay off while you are still in school won’t accrue any interest that you will have to pay on later.
How I Paid Off My Student Loan Debt
When I graduated in 2007, I had about $9,000 in student loan debt. Which is fairly low, compared to the average. But to me at the time, that was a LOT of money. (Actually, It still is!)
I was 22, and completely on my own, rent, tuition life was always on me already (no help from parents or anything like that). And I knew that I didn’t want to have to pay more money by having to pay interest on top of the loan.
In my country, you get a 6 month grace period before interest starts being charged. So I made it my prerogative to work like crazy to pay off that $9,000 in 6 months.
- So, I immediately went full-time at my restaurant job where I made about $200 a day in tips, plus $65 / day wage waitressing.
- I also took an evening bartending job that paid about $350 per night in tips, 3 nights a week.
- I also started a dropshipping business
- And, I hawked just about every piece of furniture I could find in the alley behind my apartment on Craigslist
It paid off! I was able to pay off my student loan in full before any interest was charged.
Nowadays, my money-making is done completely on the internet, thanks to my blog. But back then, going out and hustling at a J.O.B. was really the only thing I knew of.
I’m so grateful that there are all of these amazing ways to make money from home. I only wish that I knew about them back when I was in my paying off student loans phase!
How you can start paying off your student loan debt fast
Take a minute to think about it.
For however long you are in school-4 years, 12 years…if you are putting anything towards a subsidized or unsubsidized loan that is a lot less than you will have to pay off after you graduate.
So you can actually start living your life after graduation and not continue to live off of Ramen noodles.
Quick tip: talk to your lender – they are not that scary. Ask them if you are able to apply the payments you are making while in school to your accruing interest. If your loans aren’t accruing interest, ask for the amount to be applied to the loan with the highest interest rate or balance
2. Snowball your student loan debt
If you know anything about personal finance, then you have probably heard about Dave Ramsey’s snowball method.
Let me give you a quick breakdown…
The gist of the debt snowball method is to pay off your debt as fast as you can. Generally focusing on those lower monthly payments first and working your way up to the larger monthly payments.
So when you are planning your debt snowball there are 3 things that you need to consider: the total loan amount, the interest rate, and the minimum monthly payment.[adsense]
3. Student loan forgiveness programs
They are ways to pay the minimum on your loans and have them forgiven after a certain period of time.
If you are employed in any type of public service or are a teacher, you may be eligible for a forgiveness program.
The general requirement for this is that you need to work in that field for 10 years.
I know, that may seem like a long time, but if it’s something you were going to do anyway, then why not!
In order to truly take advantage of this though, you should apply for income-based repayment plans.
This goes specifically off of your income, not your spouse’s.
If you don’t apply for the income repayment plans, it would generally take you 10 years to pay off your loans.
This kind of defeats the purpose of loan forgiveness. Why struggle to pay your loan payments every month when you can have the payments significantly reduced through income repayment?
You can find more about forgiveness and income repayment plans on the Federal Student Aid website.
4. If possible, pay extra
Unfortunately, student loan debt is not as easy to get rid of as other types of debt. If you file for bankruptcy, your student loans stay!
So you might as well suck it up and pay it off as soon as possible.
I know you don’t want to use that precious beer money to pay more on your student loans, but let’s look at the reality here.
It’s the smart thing to do. Take whatever extra you can and put that towards your loans with the highest balance or the highest interest rates.
Do you really want to be paying off your student loans debts for the however many years? Of course not.
So suck it up now and live below your means for a little while longer so that you can live better later in life.
5. Avoid defaulting like the plague!
So if you read this post about fixing bad credit, you already know that your payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score.
This includes your student loan payments! “Defaulting” is a fancy way of saying that you are paying your student loans late, and this is something you do not want to do.
If you fall into default it can cause a lot of issues.
You may not be able to get additional loans for school. You might be turned down for other types of loans, like for a new car or house.
It also affects your credit score-remember 35% of your score is calculated by whether or not you make your payments on time.
35% of your credit score is calculated by whether or not you make your payments on time
Unlike other loans that are defaulted on, this is the government we’re talking about, and they don’t mess around.
With a car or house, the bank has something physical that they can take away from you.
The government can take your taxes, or garnish your paychecks. Don’t let this happen!
If you have problems repaying your loans, talk to your lender. See if there is something you can work out.
How one woman tackled her student loan debt, after losing her job:
When my grace period was over and the time came to start repaying my loans, I had just been let go from my job, and my minimum payment added up to about $2,000 a month!
Yeah, I had A LOT of student loan debt. Ph.D.’s aren’t cheap. I had a slight heart attack-thinking “how in the world am I supposed to pay that!? That is over twice what I pay for my mortgage!”
So I called my lender and asked what I could do. They gave me a couple options-income based repayment (which come out to $0) or unemployment deferment (also $0).
I chose to go with the unemployment deferment because that had a timeline associated with it. I believe it was 6 months spans and then I had to reapply for it and I could only have it for a total of 18 months.
Whereas the income-based repayment method is something you can use at any time.
So, considering I knew that I wasn’t going to go out and get a traditional “job” I opted for the unemployment deferment.
This way when I started making money working from home, I could switch over to the income-based repayment, and my payments would stay low. You know, until I started racking in the big bucks!
Remember, everyone is different, you have to elevate your situation and see what will work best for you.
Just know, if you lose your job or your income is reduced, don’t have a heart attack about your student loans, there are options.
6. Use OPM (other people’s money)
Did you know that certain companies will help you repay your student loans?
Although the company has to benefit from this also.
In these situations, companies will probably make you sign a contract to stay with them for a certain period of time and you have to be working on a degree that will benefit them.
You can’t work for a tech company and expect them to pay for a history degree.
Maybe you got into the company with an associate’s degree but you need a bachelor’s degree to advance to the next level.
Your employer might be willing to pay for it. Higher degrees and additional certifications normally equal higher pay.
You might think that it’s too late to apply for scholarships if you are already out of school, but it’s not!
There are scholarships available specifically for those individuals looking to pay off student debt. These are called debt scholarships or deb relief scholarships
7. Make More Money
Waiting around hoping that your job will pay you enough to pay your student loans off is not fun. Be proactive and start making more money now.
- Start a blog – Blogging is how I make over $150,000 per year
- Start a business – Check out our entrepreneurship resources and work from home archives.
- Start a side hustle – There’s a lot of lucrative things you can do on the side of your job.
- Set up some other passive revenue streams.
Pay Off Student Loan Debt Fast – Conclusion
Paying back your student loan debts is going to take time and patience.
But you CAN do this!
Don’t forget to download your free copy of the HerPaperRoute budget planner to help you.
Get a free copy of our AWESOME budget planner + worksheet here:
You might even be able to find some of that extra money I was talking about earlier to help pay those student loans faster.
What tactics have you used to pay off student loans fast? Comment below!