You did it! You graduated from college and landed your first job. Now for the hard part, actually paying back any student loans you took out.
The following is a summary of different methods to help you pay back your student loans effectively.
Automated Payment Programs
Many people find that automated payment programs work best for them. Not only do you avoid the worry of missing payments, but you may get lower interest charges or rates. Automatic deductions can come from your checking or savings accounts.
Income-Based Payment Plans
There are programs designed to help you meet your obligations.
They can help if you have an emergency or are unable to make the required payments. Income-based payment plans may be available depending on your income and family size.
These plans are not long-term solutions but may provide temporary relief. They extend the payoff schedule depending on your circumstances. There are also loan forgiveness programs for certain teaching jobs and other public service roles.
These programs change constantly, however. They shouldn’t be your main plan for getting rid of loan debt unless you have already gotten approved.
Often, you need a long history (years) of repayment before you apply for forgiveness. Again, the availability of these programs is subject to review and change. This makes them unreliable sources reducing or getting rid of student debt.
But if you are working or plan to work in the public sector, investigate these programs to see if you qualify!
Creating a Budget to Pay Off Loans
For most people, creating a budget that includes student loan payments works best. If you reviewed your loans carefully, you know which loans have high-interest rates and need to be repaid first. If you get a windfall of cash or increase your income, you can focus on these loans.
Your payoff dates for your loans should also be influential in your money decisions. There may be advantages to making bi-weekly payments or extra payments when you can. This can reduce your total payout or interest charges, but it depends on your loan structure.
Student Loan Help at Work
Finally, a new opportunity has become increasingly popular over the past two years.
Some companies are offering an employee student loan contribution programs. They’re included in employee benefits.
Check with your employer if this benefit is available.
If not, see if the company is considering offering it!
Student Loan Checklist
Let’s review. To start paying off your student loans effectively, you should:
- Organize your loan information
- Find your anticipated payoff dates,
- Set up automatic payment systems,
- Add student loans to your monthly budget
- Check for loan assistance eligibility.
The good news is that if you follow a standard repayment plan, you may be free in fewer than 10 years!