When heading off to college, it’s easy to forget about the giant elephant in the room – your student loans. Student loans are a lasting remind of your four years of fun, friends and alcohol. Unfortunately, many people keep signing up for student loans without thinking about how they can possibly pay them back when they graduate. Once students leave the University, they are suddenly faced with mortgage-sized payments and little to no means of repaying them.
Instead of being bullied by your student loans, check out these 4 ways to take control and pay them off.
1. Look into loan forgiveness
If you’re in a field that is in-demand in low-income areas such as law or teaching, a few years of public service can reduce or eliminate your federal loans. Working for peanuts in the beginning of your career sure beats struggling for 30 years to pay off a mountain of debt.
As an added bonus, inner-city and low-income areas are often easier to land jobs in because of their undesirable location. Unfortunately, the pay in these types of programs is often very low, so you may have to live frugally for a few years while you essentially work off your school debt.
2. Look into refinancing your loans
Interest rates are near an all-time low and now is a great time to refinance your existing loans to take advantage of lower rates. If you have non-federal loans, refinancing with a private loan provider can consolidate your loans into one low payment that’s less than your’e paying now. Interest makes up a huge chunk of your loan costs, so consolidating makes sense in the long run.
3. Pick up some extra money by tutoring
Someone in a field like law, medicine or business can pick up some extra cash by tutoring struggling students in their field. Use the internet or word of mouth to find people in need of your services and make some extra cash on the side to throw at your loans to pay them down faster. A lawyer for example could charge up to 30 dollars an hour to tutor law students. Tutoring isn’t a great way to get rich, but tutoring for just a few hours a week can add a nice chunk of change to your loan payments.
4. Live frugally
Once people get out of school, they tend to head straight to the luxury housing. While ditching your law-school digs may sound like the most appealing suggestion you’ve heard in ages, the fact of the matter is that living like a student for a while longer will help you get control of your loans while you establish yourself in your career. Hold off on buying a new car and watch how you spend your money so you can put as much towards your student loans as possible.
Paying off your student loans will take a lot of work and some creative thinking. While it’s tempting to just make the minimum payments, adding a little extra can help get your debts paid off quicker, so you can enjoy the finer things later on in life or even save up to buy a house.