The original title for this article was “Student Loans: What a pain in the ass!” No but seriously, student loans are the worst. At least with a car loan or a mortgage, you get a new car or house. What have student loans ever given you? An education? Of you course you know I’m kidding. Stay in school, kids. Although I will say, if I was a high school senior, there’s a chance I would at least be considering other avenues besides college. In my day, it was pretty much what everyone I knew was doing after high school. But I’m not here to debate the merits of higher education. I’m here to encourage you to make this the year you finally make a big dent in those student loans. If your student loans have been lingering for far too long, here are three ways you can step up your game when it comes to paying them off…
STOP PAYING THE MINIMUM: I put that in all caps because that one hits home with ya boy. I didn’t have a ton of student loan debt after college, but instead of polishing the balance off quickly, I bought a truck and just threw the minimum payment at my debt each month. HUGE mistake. If you’re not making great money after college, paying the minimum is understandable. But in my case, I was living at home and didn’t have too many bills, and there’s no reason it should have taken me over a decade to pay off my student loans. I realize my college was probably a lot cheaper than yours, but the point is, minimum payments aren’t doing you any good. #GuiltyAsCharged #IDidFinallyPayThemOffThough
Make some sacrifices: Most of us don’t enjoy sacrificing. Unless we’re talking baseball and there’s a runner on third and less than two outs. In that case, I’m all about it. That joke was for an estimated 11 percent of my readers. You’re welcome. But back to the business at hand. Even if you’re paying more than the minimum on your student loans each month, you could probably pay more. People like to make memes in response to these personal finance sites that say cutting back on your lattes will help you save more money. I get the joke, but the point of the latte conversation is that you’re probably spending a few dollars here and there every day on stuff you don’t really need. And if you actually put an end to ALL of those little purchases, you probably will save yourself a good chunk of change.
Refinance: I turned my two loans into one loan by refinancing. It was great for me. My only regret is that I didn’t do it years earlier. If you’re 22-23 years old, your credit score might not be much to brag about, but it still might be a good idea for you to investigate further. If you’re interested to find out if refinancing your student loans is a good idea for you, check out this article from the good people at NerdWallet, and see what you think.