Dealing with student loan debt can be overwhelming.
But before you start to regret your college days, you can do some simple things to help pay down your loans besides just finding ways to make more money.
Here are four simple ways to save money and deal with your student loan payments.
4 Steps to Take Once Your Student Loan Repayments Kick In
- Determine how much you owe.
Chances are, when you were in college, those loans may not have seemed as real as you quickly found out they were upon graduation. In any situation when you’re trying to get rid of debt, you first need to know all the details about it. Figure out exactly how much you owe from each lender, what your interest rate is, and when that interest will go up. This way you can make a plan.
You should also find out what options you have. You may be able to temporarily defer your payments, lower payments, consolidate your loans, or go on an income based payment plan. Work with your lender to come up with a plan that makes your loans manageable and helps you pay them down. If the payments required aren’t feasible see How to Handle Your Student Loans When You Can’t Make Your Payments.
- Enroll in automatic payments.
While you’re tackling the idea of paying off your student loans, you should enroll in automatic payments. Some lenders, such as Sallie Mae, will lower your interest rate when you sign up. Lowering your interest rate by 0.25 percent may not seem like a huge amount, but it will add up.
Having your payments automatically deducted from your checking account also eliminates the chance of missing a payment. Once you miss a payment, you’ll start tacking on late fees and damage your credit score.
- Create a Upromise Account.
If your loans are through Sallie Mae, you can enroll in the free program, Upromise. After creating an account and linking it to your loans, you register your debit cards, credit cards, and reward or loyalty cards from grocery stores, retail chains, and dining programs. When you make a qualifying purchase with one of those cards, a percentage will go towards your loans. You can also score a percentage for your loans by shopping online through your specific Upromise shopping link. To make your earnings grow faster, you can share your online shopping link with your friends or family, and ask them to register their cards to earn you more as well. For more see How to Use Upromise to Help Pay Off Student Loans.
- Consider loan forgiveness programs.
Pending your career, you can qualify for a loan forgiveness, where the government pays a portion of your loans. Doctors, nurses, lawyers, and teachers who are willing to work in low-income areas or areas in need of these professionals, can be eligible for the program. Regardless of your field, you can join one of various volunteer organizations for repayment. These include Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or Volunteers in Service to America.
These programs require you to sign a contract before beginning. Be sure to thoroughly understand all of the stipulations of the agreement including how long you will have to work there and how much of your loans will be taken care of. In addition to loan forgiveness there are also Pay As You Earn Student Loan Programs.
How do you deal with your student loan debt?
More on Student Loan Debt
- 9 Student Loan Mistakes People Make
- Student Loans: The Effect of Extra Payments
- New Student Loan Forgiveness Program
- How to Get Rid of Your Student Loans (Without Paying Them Off)
- Should You Pay for Your Child’s College Education?
- Studying Abroad Advantages and Disadvantages: Is it Worth the Cost?
- How to Rehabilitate a Federal Student Loan
- Six Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt