Statistics have shown there are 44.5 million student loan borrowers in the U.S. and they owe a collective $1.5 trillion as of March 2018. Many people make paying off their loans one of their top priorities after graduating. Unfortunately, what people discover is that life will throw those curveballs which will force them to change their priorities. In such cases, paying off college debt can often end up at the bottom of people’s to-do lists. However, when people do this, what they often find is that ignoring these debts is one of the worst things you can do. Loans which used to seem affordable as now become unaffordable debt. Below are some ways and steps you can go through in order to pay back your student loans and also manage them well.
Pay More Than The Monthly Minimum
When you are faced with a large debt to pay off, one of the smartest things to do is to pay more than the monthly minimum. You will be decreasing the amount of time you will be paying back and in turn you will accrue less interest with this simple way. The more you can put towards your loan each month, the quicker you will be done paying it back, meaning fewer payments and less time for interest to pile up. If possible, this is tip is a must do.
Never Skip Payments
If as a result of an uncontrollable reason you are not able to afford your payments, endeavor to contact your lender and speak with them immediately about your options. E lender would normally be willing to work with you and may allow you lower your monthly payment for a period of time. Under certain circumstances, with federal student loans you can receive a deferment or forbearance. This allows you to temporarily stop making your payments or reduce your loan payments. This will help you avoid defaulting on the loan.
Tighten Your Budget
It’s time you scrutinize your spending habits and cut down where possible. Take a look at your statements to determine where you are spending the most and what changes you can make to reduce those costs. For example, if you’re buying breakfast every morning before work, consider waking up earlier to make your own. These things add up and with just a few adjustments you will really start to see a difference in how far you can stretch your paycheck. You may even consider earning some extra income on the side. Check out these work from home jobs that can help increase your monthly income. To help see the impact of the sacrifices you are making take the money you are saving every day, week, or month and use it to make an extra payment on your loans.
Have an Emergency Fund
Unexpected car trouble or accident has the capacity of throwing off all of your careful planning and budgeting. A buffer between you and unpredictable events life hold is created by emergency funds. Having these funds built into your budget will make it possible to stay on track with your payments no matter what comes up. This is why it’s essential to start an emergency fund as soon as you can.
Explore Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
There are federal student loan forgiveness programs and there are state options too. You must meet very specific criteria before you are eligible for this offer. Your eligibility is based mainly on your types of employment. There are Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness programs. Although private student loans cannot be forgiven, federal student loans can be. If you do not meet the requirements for student loan forgiveness, you may want to consider your options to consolidate or refinance your student loan at a lower rate or longer term.