If no longer making a student loan payment has you excited, you’re in the right place. Today you’ll get 5 actionable tips on how to repay your student loans faster.
Student loans can sure be a burden. Having a chunk of your paycheck going towards debt repayment is never fun. It can hinder buying a home, saving for a wedding, or starting to invest.
Here are 5 practical steps you can take today to eliminate your student loans ASAP.
How To Repay Your Student Loans Faster
# 1) See What You Owe
When it comes to student loans, the first step is getting your facts straight.
You want to see what you owe, who you owe it to, and the interest rate you’re paying.
Credit Sesame, one of my favorite free personal finance tools, let’s you see how much you owe and to whom. Credit Sesame compiles the information from your TransUnion credit report, which all debts are listed on. So you get to see what you owe across all your debt accounts, in one place.
# 2) Lower Your Interest Rate
The rule of thumb with debt is you want to pay the lowest interest rate possible.
The lower your interest rate, the greater portion of your payment goes towards repaying principal.
If you’re serious about paying off your student loans, consider refinancing with a company like SoFi.
And don’t underestimate the impact of a lower interest rate can have. Consider two loans:
- Loan A: 10-Year $50,000 loan with a 6% interest rate
- Loan B: 10-Year $50,000 loan with a 4% interest rate
Over the course of Loan A, you’ll pay $16,612.30 in interest or $66,612.30 total.
With a 2% lower rate on Loan B, you’ll pay $10,747.08 in interest or $60,747.08 total.
Even though you may be paying a lower interest rate, there are some disadvantages to having a private lender.
Government student loans do come with some flexibility.
- Loan Forgiveness – Forgives loans for people working in public service careers after they’ve made ten years of payments.
- Income-Based Repayment Plans – Programs such as IBR, REPAYE, ICR of PAYE allow you to adjust your monthly payment based on your current level of income.
By refinancing with a private lender, you lose these options. However, if your goal is to pay off your debt as fast as possible, those two options have less value.
# 3) Increase Your Payments By Increasing Your Income
When I analyzed 11 case studies from individuals who paid off their student loans early–7 out of 11 earned income outside their job.
This included logging extra hours or taking a 2nd job. Another option is simply looking for a higher paying job.
The extra income went straight towards debt repayment–allowing these individuals to really speed up the process.
A few more simple ways to earn more, include:
- Swagbucks – By setting your default search engine to Swagbucks, which uses the Bing search results, you earn a small amount of money each time you search. Plus, there’s opportunities to earn more from surveys and playing games. It’s a simple way to see a trickle of money here and there for doing what you have been.
- eBates – Get up to 20% cash back for your online purchases.
- Selling items on Craigslist
- Earn cash for taking surveys
- Sign up for a few money making apps to earn passive income
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# 4) Increase Your Payments By Cutting Your Expenses
The gap between your income and expenses determines how fast you’ll be able to pay off your debt.
Not only do you want to increase your income, you want to lower your expenses. While I’ve written over 100 ways to save money, here’s a few ideas that offer big savings for little effort:
- Track your spending with a free app like Personal Capital (Click here to sign up for Personal Capital and get a free $20 Amazon gift card)
- Cut your monthly utilities bills with these 15 no-fuss tips
- Shop your auto insurance with a site like Esurance
#5) Keep Increasing Payments
Set an alert on your calendar to adjust the amount of money you’ll pay each month towards your loans.
Ideally you’ll put everything leftover, besides a small emergency fund towards your loans.
The goal is to keep increasing this number month after month.
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