07 Sep Paying Off Your Student Loan Debt the Smart Way
So, you’ve officially graduated from college and are looking for a job, place to live and on top of everything else, you have student loans that you haven’t started to pay off yet. Sound familiar? Starting the process of paying off your student loans can be nerve-wracking, but there are useful steps that you can take along the way to make it easier on yourself-and your wallet!
Understand Your Situation
Make sure you understand your specific loans and what paying them off entails. This means paying attention to all of the details and fine print. Do not be afraid to ask questions if you do not understand what something means. Take note of whether the interest rates on your loan are fixed or variable, meaning that they will either stay the same or change throughout the duration of your loan.
Once you have a firm grasp on your loan, you can determine the steps you’ll need to take to repay it. Devising a repayment schedule will help you figure out how long it will take to pay off the loan, how much you will have to pay, and when you will have to pay it. There are a number of tools that you can use to help create a repayment schedule, one of which being a repayment calculator, such as this one on FinAid.org.
Do you monitor your finances regularly? If you do not keep track of your income, expenses and spending already, now is the time to start. Making a personal budget is a smart way to not only see what money can be allocated to pay off your student loans each month, but a budget will also aid in keeping track of other expenses and spending.
Once you create your budget, implement it into your everyday life, and have a steady stream of income, an option to consider is auto-debit. This option allows your loan servicer to deduct a set amount of money from your bank account each month to pay off your loans. In order for auto-debit to work, you must have enough money in your account each month to cover your monthly payment. If your finances are unstable or income is irregular, this option is likely not a good fit. You can always talk to a Bank of the Lowcountry banker at your local branch for additional financial information and advice.
While this option may not be practical for everyone, one way to pay off your student loans sooner is to pay more than your monthly requirement. This is where your budget can come in handy. A simple way to gain the ability to spend more money to pay off your loans is to spend less money on other things each month. If you sit down and evaluate your budget and spending habits, it is likely that you will find several places where you can cut costs. Cutting costs on unnecessary expenses each month will help you actively work towards eliminating your debt for good!