If you’re anything like me, you chose not to think much about your student loans while in college. They seem like a nonissue. Sure, you have them but they don’t exactly impact your day-to-day life. It’s not a big deal. You’re living in the present. After all, debt isn’t a fun thing to think about.
But here you are. You’ve graduated. The debt is real and relevant. Your lenders have begun mailing you information about how to pay off your student loans now that you’ve graduated. You’re probably contemplating going to grad school just to quiet these nagging letters. If you go to grad school, your loans can be deferred.
But what if you don’t want to go to grad school? Well then you better face your loans. Note: The process is the exact same if you’re a newly graduated graduate student (and yes, that is confusing). Here’s what I did to pay off my $16,500 worth of loans upon graduating. It’s hard but not insurmountable:
Keep Lines of Communication Open
No matter what, keep communicating with your lender(s). They WILL work with you. Right now lenders have $1.2 TRILLION in loans. They will work with you to get even a little of their money back. Keep the lines of communication open. Even if you can’t pay a dime, tell them. They will work with you. They will tell you how to put your loans into deferment or forbearance, if nothing else.
Relish the Grace Period
Private loans generally don’t have any sort of grace period. However, federal loans do. What is a grace period? It’s a term of typically 6 or 9 months after graduating where you don’t have to pay a dime! YES! It’s pretty remarkable. Upon graduating, save up as much money as possible to pay off your debt. Then, when the 6 or 9 months expire, you’ll be able to throw a huge wad of cash at your debt. Who knows, maybe you’ll be like me and not pay a CENT in interest!
Get on a Payment Plan That Works
After you land your first job out of school, determine how much you can put towards student loan repayment. It may not be a lot but that’s fine! Just determine how much you can put towards debt each month. As they say, you can’t score if you don’t have a goal. If you have a goal of paying $250 worth of debt each month, you can do it!
Earn, Earn, Earn, Earn, Earn!
If you had a great income, you wouldn’t worry about student loans would you? Nope. You would just write a check and get on with your life. So what does this mean to you… this means you should get a great job! Earn, earn, earn, earn, earn! Making a ton of money will always be the easiest way to rid yourself of debt. Reducing expenses is smart but increased income is a life-changer.
There are TONS of great loan consolidation programs today. I know, I know, it seems like consolidation programs are a scam. Perhaps some are. But I’ve written a lot of articles on how to consolidate student loans. Every consolidation option I’ve read about is legitimate.
Consolidating loans is basically a way of simplifying multiple payments into one easy payment. You can typically get a lower interest rate by consolidating as well. Do this online. LendKey is pretty great for this and there are tons more!
Kiss Those Loans Goodbye!
Don’t get too attached to your loans. As Dave Ramsey says, “They’re not a pet.” Student loan debt does not belong in your life for the long-term. Don’t accept the negative attitude of, “Well, everyone has debt. It’s just a fact of life. College is expensive. I’ll probably be in debt until I retire. WHAH. WHAH.”
Focus on the end goal – debt elimination. Kill it! Determine when you can be debt free and hustle until you’re there!
Getting rid of your loans is possible. After you had a debt repayment plan in place, hustle like crazy! You can do this!
I’m a personal finance freelance writer and webmaster. I welcome you to visit me at www.thefrugalpreneur.com