If this is your first time here, Molly’s Money is a regular series I write on this blog that includes ALL things personal finance – debt management, budgeting, home buying, savings, investment, etc. I am NOT a financial advisor, but I am married to one! These are just things that I have learned over the years as I struggled with my own personal finances and ultimately, became debt free in 2012. Got a question about money that you want answered? Leave it in the comments below or email me!
Ahhhhh student loans. Sometimes they are a necessary evil when it comes to getting an education. As much as some would love to avoid them, it’s often just not possible. But, that doesn’t mean you have to become a slave to them when it comes time to start paying them off.
You don’t have to feel like you’re staring at 5, 10, 15, or even 30 years of debt… you CAN pay them off sooner. It’s just a matter of purpose, planning, and a little know how.
Here are FOUR TIPS for paying off those student loans just a little faster…
1. Get an extra part-time job
One of the best things you can do is get a part-time job and take ALL the money you make at that job and throw it at your debt. Don’t spend that earned money on ANYTHING else. Just mentally prepare yourself for the fact that every dollar that comes in from that job is getting put towards your student loan debt. You’ll be surprised at how quickly that debt disappears once you make a commitment like that.
2. Treat your student loan debt like a mortgage
Similar to a mortgage, the longer it takes you to pay off your debt the more interest you will pay. And interest is pretty much the worst. It’s like throwing money away. So, the more money that you can throw at it early on – even an extra $10 here or $50 there or $100 everywhere, the quicker it’s going to go down and the less interest you will pay… thus, you could save hundreds, if not THOUSANDS of dollars over the course of a few years.
3. Write out a written plan
By taking the time to sit down and WRITE out a plan for HOW you’re going to tackle your student loan debt gives you the drive, the motivation, and the PURPOSE for which you’re going to pay off that debt sooner. Without a plan, it just becomes this nebulous thing that you pay for each month and it can seem really overwhelming. It’s pretty much a proven fact that people who budget, plan, and set a course of action for their finances are going to be successful in achieving their desired goals.
4. Consolidate your loans
Now, I have a caveat, ONLY do this if you are going to be able to consolidate and LOWER your interest rates. There are a lot of companies that will take all the loans you have and consolidate them into one payment for you and bring your interest rate down. This way you don’t feel like you’re tackling seven elephants… you just feel like you’re taking on ONE (with a much smaller trunk, or something).
Now what about you? What tips would you have for someone who is looking to get rid of that pesky college loan debt quicker?