College is an important academic experience with lifelong benefits. Students receive an education, polish their skills and learn how to function as a responsible working adult. However, most college graduates will leave with not only a diploma, but tens of thousands of dollars of debt. Here are five ways to pay off student loan debts in a timely manner.
Anyone with student loan debts must have an established budget. Create a monthly budget for all necessary expenses, such as rent, gas, food and utilities. Compare expenses against your income, establish financial goals and formulate a budget that will keep you on track. Being able to show a clearly organized budget with minimal waste and extracurricular entertainment costs is an excellent tool when asking for loan forgiveness or extensions. Be sure to illustrate how your frugal shopping and cost cutting measures, such as coupons and zero vacations, has saved money.
Avoid Accumulating Debt
Many college students make the mistake of over relying on their credit cards, which will cause further stress and financial strain. Avoid carrying credit cards and spending more money than you make. If you do have a credit card, be sure to use one that offers cash back savings and excellent benefits. Always be on the lookout for helpful state, community or federal programs designed to relieve student loan debt.
Increase the Payments
A high paying job or a sudden windfall of money will tempt many people to enjoy themselves and blow off some steam. Consider taking a second part-time job. The Internet has plenty of legitimate work opportunities through popular websites. For example, Guru and Elance are two of the most popular websites for freelance workers. There are jobs available in software, translation, sales, marketing, finance, graphic design and even virtual admin support.
Ask for Help from Work
Some companies are willing to help their employees pay for college classes or pay off student debt. Most times, their policies will dictate that the employee must have worked at the company for a minimal amount of time, such as one year, and that only classes relevant to the industry will be reimbursed. When applying for a job, ask potential employers who are serious about hiring you if they provide tuition reimbursements. If necessary, agree to sign a contract that guarantees the length of time that you will work for the company.
Seek Extended Payment Options
It is entirely possible to request an extended payment period or debt reduction. Every year, the Department of Education in conjunction with major providers, like Sallie Mae and the College Board, provide resources for debt relief. If possible, ask for smaller payments and lower interest rates. As a final resort, explore the federal government’s official Student Loan website to consolidate different loans into one.
Loan debt is something that students must successfully deal with through sticking to a budget, carefully saving money and working longer hours. It is highly recommended that students occasionally seek help from financial professionals, like CPAs and financial planners.