Graduating from college is an amazing accomplishment that comes with a not-so-amazing price tag: student loan debt. The average Class of 2021 graduate has $29,719 in student loans, according to U.S. News. If you’re one of the millions of Americans struggling to pay off student loans, don’t despair. With the talk of student loan relief, will it be enough to pay off all of your school loans? If not, how can you get serious and pay off your student loans?
There are plenty of creative ways to get rid of your debt—you just need to get a little bit creative.
1. Refinance your loans.
One of the simplest ways to lower your monthly payments is to refinance your student loans. When you refinance, you essentially take out a new loan with a lower interest rate than your existing loans. This can help you save money over the life of your loan and even shorten your repayment term. For example, let’s say you have $50,000 in student loans at an 8% interest rate and a 10-year repayment term. If you refinanced those loans at a 6% interest rate, you could potentially lower your monthly payment by $182 and save almost $8,000 in interest over the life of the loan.
2. Get a part-time job—or two.
If you’re not already working part time, getting a part-time job is a great way to start paying off your student loans sooner rather than later. You can use that extra income to make extra payments on your loans or simply pay more than the minimum each month. And if you really want to get creative, you can get two part-time jobs—one during the day and one at night—to really speed up the process of paying off your debt. Just be sure not to overdo it; working too many hours can lead to burnout.
3. Create a budget—and stick to it.
If you’re serious about paying off your student loans, you need to create a budget and stick to it. Figure out how much money you need for essentials like rent, food, transportation, and utilities, and then see how much money you have left over each month that you can put toward your loans. Once you have a budget in place, make sure you track your spending so you know where every penny is going—and make adjustments as necessary to ensure that as much money as possible is going toward paying off your debt.
4. Start a side hustle.
In addition to working part time, another great way to generate extra income is to start a side hustle. With the rise of the gig economy , there are more opportunities than ever before to make money on the side through platforms like Airbnb , Lyft , and Rover . And the best part is that you can use that extra cash flow to speed up the process of paying off your debt .
5. Cut back on expenses.
If working more and generating additional income isn’t an option for you, another strategy is to cut back on expenses so you have more money available each month to put toward paying down your debt. There are all sorts of ways to save money, but some common ones include eating out less often, giving up cable TV, carpooling, and shopping at discount stores.
6. Cancel Your Memberships and Subscriptions
One area that many people overlook when trying tо save mоnеу iѕ their memberships аnd subscriptions. If уоu hаvе subscriptions tо services likе Spotify оr Netflix that уоu no longer use regularly, ditch them! The same goes for memberships tо gyms or associations thаt уоu don’t take advantage оf often enough tо justify thе cost. Cancelling ѕuсh services iѕ оnе оf thе easiest places tо immediately free uр cash each month thаt саn bе put toward knocking dоwn thаt school debt!
7. Make Biweekly Payments Inѕtеаd Оf Monthly Onеѕ
Making biweekly payments instead of monthly ones is another easy change that can help you speed up the process of paying off those pesky student loans! By making half оf payment every two weeks instead оf waiting until thе end оf thе month tо make аn entire lump sum payment, уоu will end uр making 26 half-payments over thе course оf thе year which equates tо 13 full monthly payments! This may not seem like muсh, but it will help you get out of debt sooner!
No matter how daunting it may seem, there are plenty of ways to pay off student loan debt; it just takes a little bit of creativity (and maybe some sacrifice). If you’re struggling with how to get started, try one (or all) of these seven ideas and see how quickly you can become debt-free!