Are you one of the many millennials saddled with what seems like an overwhelming amount of student loan debt? Graduating from college and having to deal with finding a decent paying job, while finding the money to pay your loans every month, can often feel like a balancing act.
If you’re ready to get off that roller coaster, then read on.
Yesterday, we gave you a few tips on how to continue living your life while paying off debt, and today, we’re giving you 7 ways to pay that debt off quicker.
These tips aren’t necessarily just for student loan debt – if you have credit card debt or medical debt, you can still use them.
The important thing to remember is your debt doesn’t own you. No matter what you do to pay off your student loans, the attitude you have throughout this journey will make the biggest difference.
Ready to get down to business and up the ante on your student loan repayment?
Let’s take a look at 7 different things you can do to make paying off your student loan debt a little easier.
1) Use the Snowflake Method
This trick is handy if you can’t afford to make a large one-time payment to your student loans each month. Instead, whenever you come across extra money (gift money, bonus, tax refund, random cash found on the sidewalk), you put it toward your debt immediately.
You might think little amounts won’t add up to much, but they do, and every little bit counts. As with saving, you want to make it a habit to put extra money toward your debt to pay it off faster.
2) Get a Side Hustle
We’ve spoken about this before, but having a side hustle or any extra income stream will really help accelerate your debt payoff. If you can’t spare anything extra right now, then the best solution is earning more.
One of the easiest ways to start side hustling is to monetize a hobby or passion, this way, you have fun doing it outside of your regular job.
Some ideas might be freelance writing, social media management, petsitting, dog walking, cutting people’s lawns, repairing or building computers, creating websites for small businesses, or graphic design.
How can you start? Ask people you know if they need your services, create a free website/portfolio, search Craigslist, or open a store on Etsy or Fiverr.
3) Declutter and Sell
Do you have a closet (or basement, garage, or attic) full of stuff? Stuff you’ve been meaning to sort through, but haven’t?
Take the time to do it! Decluttering has many benefits, but if you manage to find a lot of things you can sell, then you stand to make a nice profit.
Yes, it might be a one-time thing, but it could be the boost you need to continue making extra payments on your loans.
4) Put Savings Toward Debt
What I mean by this is any time you go to the store, put the amount you saved toward your debt. Most cashiers will tell you how much you’ve saved, or they’ll circle the amount on your receipt. Find that amount, and transfer it over to your debt.
Similarly, if you walk away from a purchase instead of giving in and buying it, take the amount you would have paid for it and put it toward your debt.
This is almost like the snowflake method – hopefully you’re being a savvy shopper and saving money on a regular basis, so this will help speed things up!
5) Cut Down Needless Spending
When you do finally land a job after college, it’s super easy to give into lifestyle inflation. You can afford to do so much now that you have a decent paycheck!
Hold up. Ask yourself which you want more – debt freedom, or whatever you’re inclined to spend money on?
We’ve covered meaningful spending before, but it bears repeating – you want to cut down on all the meaningless, needless stuff to make room for what’s important to you.
If money is tight, it’s always worth taking another look at your spending and your budget. Is there anything you can cut that you won’t miss? You can always try going without a certain expense for a month to see if it’s worthwhile for you.
You might be surprised at how much money you’ll save just by being a conscious spender.
6) Make it a Challenge
If you have the extra income to pay toward your student loans, but find yourself tempted to spend all of it, consider declaring a challenge to your friends: whoever pays the most toward their student loans each month wins a prize.
This might sound a little cheesy, but it works! You and your friends will hold each other accountable, and you’ll all have an obvious shared goal.
This might cause you to think twice about going out to eat, going to the movies, etc. Instead, focus on cheap ways to hang out and still have fun, and enjoy the friendly competition.
7) Rethink Subscriptions
Are you subscribed to any services you don’t use that have a monthly recurring charge? Reconsider whether they’re worth it.
This can be anything from your gym membership, to Netflix, to an online course, to a monthly box subscription, or a magazine.
We live in a very subscription-based world, and it’s important to keep on top of what we’re paying for.
If you don’t track your spending on a regular basis, it will pay to go back through the last 3 months of your statements to see what charges are being made. This can free up a significant amount of money.
Focus on Paying Your Student Loans Off
There are many ways to speed up your debt repayment. Besides keeping a good attitude and being hopeful, you also need to maintain focus. If debt freedom means a lot to you, this shouldn’t be a huge issue, but we all lose motivation from time to time.
It helps if you establish one or two main reasons why you’re working to pay your debt off early. Is it because you’re tired of the emotional strain debt puts on you? Is it because the amount of interest you’re paying on your loans is sickening? Or is it because you can’t wait to start a new chapter in your life where you don’t have to worry about paying a lender every month?
Whatever your reasoning is, write it down and keep it close at all times. When you hit a rough patch with paying off debt (which is inevitable!), go back to this reason. It will help you stay focused and motivated.
How have you made strides in paying off your student loan debt?