5 Steps to Paying Your Student Loans

Did you know that the average college graduate has $35,000 in student loan debt? Yikes! If you are dealing with student loans, you are definitely not alone and you are not defined by your debt! When I speak to groups, over half of the audience typically has some form of debt, whether it’s a personal debt or a student loan debt. Luckily, there’s something we can do about it! Here are five tips for paying your student loans as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Five Tips for Paying Off Your Student Loans

Get Naked With Your Debt:
 
I know, it sounds a lot sexier than it feels. But first and foremost, we want to take inventory of the debt we have. This sounds pretty simple, but listing out the information for each loan can be an extremely liberating exercise. When you do this, write down the loan amount, who the loan is with, the interest rate, the monthly payment amount, and the payment date. Once we know what we have, we can put together a plan and do something about it. We’re back in power.

Decide What Comes First:

Now it’s time to prioritize. We will decide which debt to pay off first while maintaining the monthly payments on the other loans. The pay down priority will be different for everyone. You may want to pay off the smallest loans first to build momentum, the highest interest rate debt first because it’s costing you the most money, or the debt that makes you the most upset. Write down the priority of each loan on your debt inventory.

Try and Negotiate:

This may sound too good to be true, but negotiating down the interest rate on your debt can actually work. I’ve seen it! Call up a representative and ask to be directed to someone to talk to about the interest rates on your loans. What’s the worst that can happen? They might say no, but they could also say yes and that would save you a lot of money!

Get Smart With Your Payments:

If you are excited to put more money toward your student loans than the monthly payment, beware. Your student loan website might be set up to put any extra payment toward future payments rather than toward paying down principal.

While you have someone on the phone to negotiate interest rates, bring up your payments. Find out how much of your monthly payment is going towards interest and how much goes toward paying down principal. If you are mostly paying interest, your loan balance won’t decrease much. If you have some extra cash available to put toward your loans, make sure to confirm where it’s going.

Celebrate and Enjoy the Ride:

Once you make your plan, you will want to decide how to celebrate along the way! How will you celebrate important milestones? Will you treat yourself at each $5,000 increment? Maybe you will have a debt-free party when you pay your loans down completely? This might sound too fun to be helpful, but it’s extremely important to celebrate how far you’ve come. Don’t skip this important step!

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley is a money coach demystifying the world of money and personal finance. Get her exclusive how-to guide “30 Days to Financial Bliss”. It’s free for Elana Lyn readers! Image via Design Sponge.

14 Responses to 5 Steps to Paying Your Student Loans

  1. I was so happy when I paid off my student loan! It was such a great feeling. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips.

    http://www.livinginsteil.com

  2. Mindy says:

    Having an understanding of your student loan debt is so important. I’m almost done paying my off which takes time but is so exciting! Xoxo Mindy

  3. Hannah says:

    I would have never thought to simply call your bank and see what they can do about your interest rates (plus I think it’s much less hurtful if they say no over the phone rather than in person)! I also love celebrating little milestones; it makes a daunting task seem so much more manageable. Thanks for sharing your tips! -Hannah // theswirlblog.com

  4. Mikayla says:

    Get smart and prepared! I love this. These kind of posts are always preparing me for my future.

    Mikayla | A Seersucker State of Mind.

  5. Laura says:

    Such great tips! Love your steps for getting rid of student loans!

  6. Ashley says:

    Student loans are terrible! Love these tips for dealing with the debt!

    xo Ashley

  7. Alex says:

    Love this! Thankfully, my husband and I didn’t have any student debt for our undergrads, but we are taking on 20k of debt for his masters. Will definitely keep all of this in mind!

  8. Morgan says:

    Fortunately I had no student loans, but these are fabulous tips! If I ever decide to go back to school I will need to look back at this!

    -Morgan
    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

  9. I haven’t had to get any loans yet, but I am sure I will before my schooling is over. This looks like useful information to consider.

  10. Kayla says:

    Really great tips! I’ll have some debt from undergrad and I’m paying for grad school all on my own! Eek!

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

  11. adriana says:

    I love this! I just graduated last weekend and thankfully my loans are totally manageable but it’s still stressful! Haha great tips! And I will most definitely be treating myself when I reach certain increments! 😉

  12. Tiffani says:

    This are all great. I was fortunate enough for have an amazing job throughout college so I have been able to pay for 75% of school on my own, and only have small loan amounts, but I know I will want to streamline the process of getting them paid off when I’m done. Definitely get info to have for later!

  13. Chronicling Home says:

    All very important tips! I had no idea you could negotiate!

    Nicole // Chronicling Home

  14. Sara Kate says:

    Yessss!! This can be so overwhelming, but what great tips.

    xo,
    Sara Kate Styling

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