Student loan debt can feel pretty heavy month to month. Payments may take a large chunk of your income and the payoff date probably feels light years away. But there are ways to manage student debt that won’t feel so suffocating.
The team at Broussard Poché, LLP has a few planning and budgeting tips that can make your student loan debt more manageable.
- Start Paying Early
Early means while you’re still in school, if possible. Even a small monthly payment will add up over time. By the time you graduate, you could have paid off thousands!
- Extra Payments
Plan on making at least 4 to 5 extra payments a year. There is no penalty for paying early! Just be sure to contact your lender letting them know you plan to make extra payments and when they can expect them.
Make budgeting a priority. Consider a spreadsheet with all of the figures properly laid out. Don’t forget to include things you need to save for and plan for emergencies! Once you have a proper budget, stick to it. This will ensure your student debt is paid on time (or early) and it won’t interfere with the rest of your financial life.
- Pay Over the Minimum
If you are just making the minimum payment, it will take you years to pay off your student loan debt. Plus, you will be paying off way more interest than you have to. Try to make room in your budget for paying over the minimum.
- Snowball the Payments
Most graduates have multiple loans to pay off. You should consider the “snowball” method to paying them off one by one. Make sure you are paying the minimum for each loan, then choose the smallest one to put extra money towards. Once that one is paid off, take that money and put it towards the next to smallest loan, so on and so forth. This method helps you make progress and could lead to paying off your loans early.
If you can find a way to incorporate each of these tips, you will chip away at your student loan debt. If you still feel buried after a solid effort at paying off the debt, consider refinancing your loans. The refinanced loans may be a bit easier on your pocketbook.