Christmas came early for some fans of Nicki Minaj when the rapper followed through on her promise to pay their tuition and student loans last May. They’re very lucky indeed, especially when you hear or read about others who have massive student loan debt.
Of course, it’s great if you have a Nicki Minaj in your life who can take care of your loan payments. But what’s even better is if you can avoid being a student loan horror story.
Since you can’t expect other people to pay for your debt, you have to know how to do it right. Read on for the best tips to pay off student loan debts faster and smarter.
1. Be a Freelancer
Yes, school’s hard and your social calendar’s just filled with fun activities you don’t want to miss. But you should also try to take on side gigs even if you already have a regular or part-time job.
You want to create as many streams of income as you can not only to pay for monthly expenses but to pay the interest payments. Some loan companies allow this. You might be surprised that the small amounts you’re paying even before you graduate have made such a huge impact on your loan balance.
2. Live Within Your Means
And that means living like a student. Don’t be frivolous and spend money on useless things. It might be hard but remember you’re in college not to be a spendthrift but to earn a degree.
The financial sacrifices you make now will help you pay your student loan debt faster. If you live like a king or a queen now, you may find yourself having to struggle financially once you graduate and the grace period is over.
3. Consider a Public Service Career
Some undergrads make the mistake of choosing their major based on what they believe would provide them with a high salary. And while there’s nothing wrong with following the money, there are careers that may not pay as much but are very fulfilling and offer great perks including loan forgiveness.
If you’re considering a government job or working for a not-for-profit organization after you graduate, you may qualify for loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.
4. Avoid Scams
You might think it’s only private lenders you have to worry about when it comes to student loans. But as it turns out, you also have to be extra careful even if you’re dealing with a federal student loan servicer.
You might have heard about the lawsuit Navient is facing. As you know, Navient is the largest student loan provider in the US. Early this year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a case against them for several reasons including incorrectly allocating loan payments and failing to warn borrowers of deadlines.
Bottomline: If you’re considering Navient student loan forgiveness and other debt relief schemes, make sure you do your research first to avoid being scammed.
5. Learn All You Can About Student Loan Debt
Take it from Sun Tzu, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”
You can’t beat this debt problem if you pretend your loans don’t exist. Make sure you keep track of everything, especially if you’re dealing with multiple loans. You should also know your payment options, as well as the details of each and every loan you take out.
Final Thoughts on Student Loans
It’s never too early to think about repaying your student loans. When you plan ahead, there’s no room for nasty surprises such as finding out you are 100,000 or more deep in debt.
So take on side gigs, live frugally, consider a public service career, avoid scams, and learn all you can about student debts. They’re your best weapons against being a student loan horror story.