Hacks Of Life: Everything You Need To Tame Your Student Loan Debt Immediately

Graduating college should be one of the happiest times of a person’s life, but thanks to crippling student loan baggage, most graduates celebrate their entry into the “real world” feeling as though they’re already falling behind.

Universities have become pricier than ever and the average student loan debt is increasing. However, there are plenty of things a college graduate or parent can do to help pay off student loan debt in a manageable way as well as make college more affordable in the first place, so that you can graduate with less student loans.

Here are several options to choose from when paying off your student loan debt.

1. Refinance your student loans.

There are several benefits to refinancing your student loans. You may have taken out a student loan with a considerably high interest rate and may want to refinance your loan to lower the interest rate, which could lead to a lower monthly payment.

If you’re a parent, you have the option of refinancing student loans you have taken out for your kids. There are lenders that offer special benefits for parents who are considering refinancing their children’s student loans.

Perhaps you want to consolidate your loans and bundle all of the loans up into one monthly payment. This can relieve stress for parents that are paying their children’s student loans, as all of the bills are in one place. This is especially helpful if you have more than one child who has attended college.

By refinancing student loans, the borrower has the option to have a more flexible budget in their every day life, instead of not having much wiggle room to pay for other bills in their budget. Refinancing student loans is not for everyone, but can be beneficial for those who need help lowering monthly payments.

2. Make early payments to unsubsidized loans.

If possible, make early payments to unsubsidized loans while you’re still enrolled in college.

Unsubsidized and subsidized loans are vastly different. The key difference between the two loans are unsubsidized loans start charging interest immediately. Subsidized loans do not accrue interest while you’re school or during deferment periods.

If your unsubsidized loans are fully paid off, make extra payments to the other student loans you have borrowed.

Create a budget to help make early payments. Find ways to spend less money and see if there are ways to lower your bills. Instead of going shopping for things you don’t necessarily need, put that money toward your student loan debt. An extra $100 a month can potentially lead to a college graduate saving a lot of money in accrued interest.

3. Attend community college.

Attending a local community college can decrease overall tuition costs.

Before you enroll in a university, take all of the required general education courses at a community college. The savings of this can potentially be thousands, which will save you plenty of time and money once you’re graduated.

Not only that, you’re essentially getting the same education you would receive at a university, only for a fraction of the cost. And since most universities only require 60 college credits completed at the actual university for graduation, you may have the option of completing 2 year’s worth of courses at a community college instead.

4. Educate yourself on how financial aid works.

Unfortunately, many college students and graduates are not fully aware of the ins and outs of financial aid and the interest that can accrue while in school.

Learning how student loans work, especially before enrolling in college can be tremendously helpful. Reaching out to a financial aid counselor at a high school or college can help you make better decisions when it comes to accepting financial aid.

Related: Money Advice I Wish I Had Gotten Sooner

5. Do not take out 100 percent of the aid awarded to you.

Often, students will accept 100 percent of the financial aid awarded to them even if it not needed. Meet with a financial aid counselor or calculate yourself how much you will need to attend college.

Many students get offered way more financial aid than is necessary, leading the student on a much longer journey of paying off the debt. By taking out only what is necessary, overall student loan will decrease and paying the debt off can be much quicker.

6. Take out private student loans as a last resort.

Private student loans should only be taken out once all other options are exhausted. Before taking out private loans, look into applying for scholarships or grants. Many students feel intimidated or overwhelmed by applying for scholarships and opt to avoid applying for them altogether. There are thousands of scholarships college students can apply for that will relieve the overall debt after graduation, which makes it very important to at least try to get a scholarship.

7. Start a side hustle.

If you have the availability, consider starting a side hustle to pay off your student loans quicker. This extra money can be put towards your student loan debt and make the overall payment process plenty less stressful.

For me, I was able to pay off my $40,000 in student loans in just 7 months, almost primarily due to side hustling. Learning how to make extra money completely changed my life.

And, before you think you don’t have enough time, let me tell you something. The average person spends over 30 hours a week sitting in front of the TV. That is time that could be better spent!

Student loans can seem overwhelming and intimidating at first, but there are many things you can do to lower the overall debt. You have the options of refinancing your student loans, attending a community college instead of enrolling straight into a university, making early payments, and so on.

Staying educated and on top of financial aid and student loan debt is a crucial part to paying off student loan debt. The more you know, the better. As a parent, your child’s student loans can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, refinancing Parent Plus Loans may make the repayment process easier.