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Paying Off Student Loan Debt

Check out these three tips to help you pay off your student loan.

Editorial Note: Articles published are intended to provide general information and educational content related to personal finance, banking, and credit union services. While we strive to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information presented, it should not be considered as financial advice and may be revised as needed.

Student loan debt can be intimidating.

When dollar amounts are that high, it’s difficult to make sense of it. It’s easy to let student loan notices pile up while you focus on furnishing a household or buying a more dependable car.

This is the path many young adults are taking. According to the Department of Education, only 56% of student loan borrowers are repaying their loans; a problem that’s going to get worse before it gets better. A study in the Wall Street Journal estimates that the debt load is going to increase by 6% per year.

It may be difficult to pay down debt, but it is possible. Even making just $30,000 per year, you can pay down your loan in three years. There’s no big secret; it’s just a matter of spending less than you make. Let’s take a look at three pieces of advice for paying off debts in record time:

1) Find your motivation

Getting out of debt is always an instrumental good. People don’t pay off their loans for the fun of it; they do so to get earlier or better access to something else they want.

Finding a motivation is imperative to make the debt-free project work. Getting rid of your debt will be expensive, and it can be easy to think of the opportunity costs to repayment. With $30,000, you could buy a luxury car. You could spend a month in Europe. You could buy five expensive coffee drinks every day for a year. If you don’t have a goal, that’s all you’ll see when you write checks to the loan company every month. Becoming motivated to reduce debt will help you avoid the temptation to cheat on your budget.

There are as many motivations as there are graduates. Maybe you want to be debt free to reduce stress, or you need to boost your credit score before buying a house, or maybe you want to reduce your debt so you can start saving for retirement.

Finding and focusing on a motivation to get out of debt can make sticking to your debt-free plan easier.

2) Cut your expenses

The biggest areas of expense in your budget are likely rent and transportation. Taking big steps, like getting a roommate, moving closer to your job or using public transportation will make big dents in your budget. Saving a few dollars by switching to store brands can help, but you won’t see real progress that way. Live like you’re still in college for a few more years. Eat ramen noodles, share a 10×10 space with another person, and call Chinese takeout and a Netflix movie a romantic dinner date. Defer these savings onto your loan repayment process.

3) Don’t forget to budget for fun!

A budget of pure austerity is one you’re not likely to stick with long-term. Constant denial and deprivation can really hurt your willpower.

Make sure you put room in your budget for little indulgences. Whether it’s travel, dining out or a hobby, you need to take care of yourself. It can be difficult to commit to unwinding if you’re staring down several thousand dollars in debt. However, taking these steps of will save you more in the long run.

Need some additional help creating a budget or finding a way to pay off your student loan debt? We offer many free resources and consulting to help with this very thing! Click here to learn more about our financial wellness educational opportunities.

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