Having student loans is a nightmare. And while the 6-month grace period you’re likely given after graduation is essentially the same as if the government put a giant anvil in your room right below a massive clock that is loudly ticking down to the moment you’re going to have to start carrying that anvil everywhere you go. And since you won’t have a job, all you will be able to do is lay in bed and stare up at that clock, down at the anvil, then back up to the clock.
It’s always been hard to get off the ground once you graduate college. While most people consider college to be the best time in their lives, the time immediately after you graduate is… not quite that. With the current state of the economy and the stress student loans themselves, young people coming into the job market are being done no favors.
That’s why you need to put yourself ahead. If you are driven and keep your head down, you can get your student loans paid off. Just start with these tips.
Refinance and Consolidate Your Loans
It is likely that to cover the entire cost of your school, you had to get multiple different loans. The first thing you can do to help yourself once you need to pay these loans off is to consolidate the debtunder one lender so you can have a single, clean monthly payment. Refinancing your loans will also shrink your interest rates.
Become Eligible for Student Loan Forgiveness
Forgive me if you got so excited when you saw the phrase “student loan forgiveness” that your eyes rolled into the back of your head. Now that you’ve picked yourself up off of the floor and reoriented yourself, keep calm. It may be possible for you to get a job that offers eligibility for student loan forgiveness, but it can be a little tough. You will basically have to be a public servant or a teacher, which may require extra education. It is worth looking into, though.
Make Extra Money
Maybe you’re the type of person who will always make the maximum amount of money that they can, or maybe you’re more interested in pursuing your dreams and passions, regardless of the associated income. But when you’re in the process of paying off your student debt, you need to focus on bringing in as much money as possible. Obviously, the initial goal is to get the highest paying full-time job available. On top of that, you should also find creative ways to make extra money that fit outside your 9-5 schedule.
Pay as Much as You Can Each Month
Once you’ve started making that extra money, use it to make loan payments that are far above the minimum payment. This will make your life easier in the future and move up the date when you are debt-free.
Get Another Degree
This one is tough because it will actually increase your debt, but in the long run it will help you make more money in the future. Plus, if you get an online degree — like UAB’s online masters in accounting — you can still work while going to school.