Are you burdened by student loan debts? Do you want to crush your student loan debts fast and save heaps on hefty interest payments?
Today, I have a special guest writer, Andrew from LendEDU – a consumer education website and financial product marketplace.
In this post, Andrew shares his best strategies on how college graduates can crush their student loan debts fast and save more money in the process!
College life can be highly demanding, so having more money during college life to help offset living costs can be a huge relief too.
Learning about these examples of college SMART goals will make your college life much more successful and rewarding.
Related post: Top 3 SMART Goals for the New Year.
Bankrate.com contacted More Money Tips and kindly offered this great resource, Debt Consolidation Guide, for anyone who is thinking of debt consolidation.
This resource discusses multiple ways to consolidate your debts and weighs the pros and cons of each method so you can decide the one that suits you best.
Bankrate.com is the trusted source of financial data for outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and CNBC.
So without further ado, over to you, Andrew!
Student loan debt continues to climb; in fact, the total amount owed by student borrowers is currently over $1.5 trillion—and that’s far surpassed the total consumer credit card debt by $620 billion.
The average student graduates with $39,400 in debt before they’ve even found a job.
With statistics like that, it’s no wonder that many college graduates are postponing life milestones, such as marriage, starting a family, or even purchasing a home.
The good news is that while you might end up graduating with debt, you don’t need to let it consume you or your finances. You can get your loans paid down—and save money with these tips.
Student Loan Refinancing
When students initially take out their loans, they often don’t pay much attention to the interest rate. When repayment starts, that mindset might change as you notice you’re paying a ton of interest each month. In some cases, however, you can refinance your loans with a private lender.
If you fit the eligibility requirements, then you may be able to qualify for a new loan with a new interest rate and repayment term.
With a successful application, you can pay off your old loans to be left with a new loan and monthly payment. If you can secure a low rate, then you should be able to save money by the end of successful repayment.
Are there drawbacks?
Refinancing your student loans sounds like a great deal, but it’s not that easy of a solution. Only the most qualified applicants with high income and excellent credit can secure the lowest possible rates.
If you find that you’re financials are lacking, then you may not be able to get that ideal, low interest rate. On top of this, refinanced federal loans are stripped of any federal benefits which may be useful down the road.
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Federal Debt Consolidation Loan
If you find that refinancing student loans isn’t in the books, then there may be an alternative to consider.
The direct federal consolidation loan program allows student loan borrowers to consolidate their federal loans together for one interest rate and a restructured repayment term. It’s similar to refinancing, but there are a few important distinctions.
By taking out a federal consolidation loan, you can merge multiple student loans into one. You are left with a weighted average interest rate on the debt, and you can select a new repayment term.
If you choose to extend your repayment term, then you can lower your monthly payment immediately. If you are struggling with your loans, then this could be a way to avoid default.
However, there are a couple of caveats to this.
Since you’re receiving a weighted average interest rate, you are not getting a rate reduction.
Technically, successfully repaying this loan on schedule isn’t going to save money. In fact, if you extend your repayment term, it would actually cost you.
However, there is a silver lining. If you’re about to default or really need immediate relief, taking advantage of this could still help you save money by avoiding any penalties.
Debt Avalanche Method
The debt avalanche is a repayment process that helps you save money by putting you on a self-imposed schedule for getting your debt paid off.
Where just paying your monthly minimum will drag out your repayment, the debt avalanche helps you get your loans paid down sooner.
To properly do a debt avalanche, you prioritize your student loans by the highest interest rate.
Each month, you will pay only the minimum on every student loan except the one with the highest interest rate.
Every spare penny you have goes toward that loan. Once it’s paid off, you simply repeat the procedure with the next high-interest loan in line.
As you pay off your loans in order, you’ll be able to devote more and more to the next loan – hence the avalanche effect.
The bad news is that in order for it to work, you have to stick to it—and that could mean living on a frugal budget for several years.
While it’s worth it to get out of debt early, some people have a hard time staying disciplined.
The major positive to this method is it’s all done out of pocket, so ideally you don’t need to rely on a credit solution of any sort to get this done.
The snowball method is a lot like the avalanche method, except instead of paying the highest interest loan first, you pay the loan with the lowest balance.
This can help if you’re in need of some tangible benefits up front; sometimes seeing the smaller loans getting paid off quickly it can help keep you motivated.
The downside to this method is that depending on whether your larger loans have high interest rates, you can still pay a bit more this way than you would if you took on the highest rate no matter what the balance is.
The good news is that with the avalanche and snowball methods, you don’t need to fill out any paperwork or ask for permission from your lender—it just requires self-discipline.
Another option is to split your monthly loan payment in two and pay it every two weeks.
While this might seem pointless, it helps you save money for two reasons.
First, it means that every two weeks, your balance is dropping slightly. That means the interest accruing each month is less—which is less money to get added to your balance.
The second reason this saves money is that not every month has a perfect 4 weeks, which means at the end of the year, you’ll have made a full extra payment without even realizing it.
The drawback to this method is that during some months, you may end up paying your biweekly payment twice in one pay period—and that might mean a tighter budget for the month.
Student loans are a financial issue for many college graduates. However, now that you are equipped with this newfound information, you’re in a much better position.
In fact, by reading this post, you’re already ahead of others who are still clueless. Help others – share this post so that they can benefit too.
I know it’s not easy, but I urge you to make a start. Decide today to take positive steps towards your goals. Only then will you be able to get on top of your loan debts. It’s only a matter of time.
Once your student loan debt is paid off, you can get on with the rest of your life—that much closer to being totally debt-free.
By Andrew from LendEDU – a consumer education website and financial product marketplace.
Thanks so much Andrew, for sharing your valuable insights that will enable students to crush their debts ASAP.
If you’d like to get more ideas on how to pay off debts fast, read this post that will help you to break free from the debt cycle.
Share this post to help others slash their student debts fast.