How to Pay Off Student Loans Fast

How to Pay Off Student Loans FastIn July of this year, I finished paying off around $40,000 in student loan debt. This still does not seem real to me. I honestly thought that I would be paying this forever. The minimum payments scared me as well.

We were saving for quite some time, and then towards the end I just started plopping down as much money as we possibly could towards my student loan debt.

I worked like crazy as well. We both increased our day job income significantly over the year before.

We also never really increased our budget. Yes, we did buy new cars, but weirdly enough our budget did not increase.

This is because we switched to more frugal entertainment (such as hiking, riding our bikes, etc. – and not focusing on spending every last penny on clothing), and we also focused on cooking better meals at home for ourselves. So our income kept increasing, but our budget did not.

 

See if your employer will reimburse your education expenses.

Some companies will pay your student loans if you work for them. I even know of someone who receives a $2 bonus for each hour that she works for student loans. $2 may not seem like a lot, but if you work full-time then that’s over $300 a month. $300 a month for student loans is a good amount!

 

Reduce your interest rate.

If you automatically pay your student loans each month, or consolidate them, then sometimes you can get an interest rate reduction. With Sallie Mae, I believe the reduction is 0.25%. Not a ton, but that is something!

 

Pay extra towards your loans each month.

Even if you don’t have a ton of spare money in your budget, even an extra $25 is important. Most people can find a spare $25 in their budget, so go and look!

 

Increase your income.

It’s no secret that I love making side income. It makes life so much easier. Without it, I definitely do not think that I would have been able to pay off my student loans as quickly.

You can completely pretend that this extra income is not in your budget, and just shuffle ALL of this extra income towards student loan debt so that you do not miss it. If you have any extra time, then I’m sure that there is something out there that you can do to make extra money.

 

Think about your goal.

Yes, student loan repayment can seem very stressful when you think about it. Many people owe thousands and thousands in student loans. And, no matter how old you are, it can seem impossible. However, think about your goal and how good life will be once all of your student loan debt is gone.

Try to not let it get you down. Think positively and attack that debt!

What are you doing to attack your student loans?

 

Comments

  1. Allison says

    Michelle–I am so proud of you. You worked for a really long time to do this, and you paid them off early!!! I think the most important thing to pay off any debt is to pay more than the minimum. Like you said, even 25.00 more will help.

    Great job!!!!

  2. kelly @stayingonbudget says

    I totally agree that every extra dollar you can put towards loans makes a big difference. It can help cut the long term amount of debt you are paying since the principal is reducing at a faster rate. So every dollar you pay after making an extra payment has a bigger effect. It might not feel like it at first, but it does make a big difference.
    I enrolled in auto payments I think it saves money–any little bit helps. The thing with automatic payments is that you then have to remember to make the extra payments, since just the minimum is taken out–which will never get you out of debt! : )

  3. CF says

    I have about a year and a bit left to pay my student loans. I throw all the extra money I have towards it, bonuses, third paychecks, side income… $18k left to go!

  4. Andy | Income by Example says

    I doubled how much I’m paying on my loans every month which brings down my 25 year loan to about 6 years. I also pay biweekly which shaves some off. Will be putting more and more side hustle income toward it so I can totally destroy these loans in a matter of a few more years. Perseverance!

  5. Delano says

    Congrats!

    We started with $175,000 in student loans in 2010 and have whittled our balance down to $47,000 now. We hope to have them paid off by the end of 2014.

  6. krantcents says

    I have written a number of times that it is important to save and invest in your future. You should not just pay down loans because you are losing time in your investments which is meaningful over time.

  7. Christine says

    I have to admit, I’m kind of freaking out about mine. I’m very lucky because I had lots of grants and scholarships so I only have about $23,000 in loans but I just put in for a deferment. There’s no way I can afford and extra couple hundred dollar bill each month and I don’t want to hurt my credit or raise my interest because I can’t make a payment. I’m hoping that while I defer for a year, I’ll have at least a few times where I can still plop down some money. I wish there was an easier way to deal with these…

  8. Emily says

    I’m so glad that you posted about this, Michelle! My boyfriend and I are aggressively trying to get our individual student loans down. I’m down to less than 9K, my boyfriend has a much, much longer way to go. We are both trying to figure out how to increase income and pay down our debts. It’s challenging, but I appreciate blogs like yours to keep the momentum going and to learn more about the world of money. :)

  9. Jon Haver says

    Great strategy and congrats on getting rid of your student loans. My wife was lucky and had a full ride so she had no debt however I had 24k to deal with. There was no penalty to pay extra so I threw as much as I could at it by doubling my payments and trying to send another chunk of money towards it every other month. I have now paid off my student loan and trying to be equally disciplined about my mortgage but not quite there yet.
    Jon Haver recently posted..3 Things Every Student Graduating With Student Loans Should DoMy Profile

  10. Sally says

    Not having debt that takes up a huge chunk of your cash flow feels great. I think it’s worth the up front sacrifice to experience that relief of not owning anyone anything! Great work!

  11. dojo says

    I don’t have student loans, but this seems like a great way to pay off the debt faster. With a bit of effort and consistency you can increase your payments and get to some excellent results. I see many people don’t bother speed up their SL payment, thinking that it’s OK to pay for many years. Anyway, the faster you can become debt free, the better. Excellent job on your payment, it’s quite some work you’ve put into it ;)

  12. canadianbudgetbinder says

    I didn’t have student loans when I went to University in the UK or Canada but I did work and save up to pay cash for my education along the way. I think if you get loans or save up cash either way it takes dedication and a strong work ethic to set that money aside to pay off the loans. Good for you paying off your loans so fast.
    canadianbudgetbinder recently posted..The Saturday weekend review #39: New Blog Design Meet Greg at Engine1MediaMy Profile

  13. moneystepper says

    Michelle, first of all, well done for paying down the student loans. From experience, I know how good the feeling of sending that last payment off to settle the balance is!!

    Secondly, these are great tips. Putting additional side income to the student loans reduces the interest payment on the loans each month, so more and more goes towards the capital and with enough hard work and focus, voilà, the student loans have disappeared!

  14. Rebecca @ Stapler Confessions says

    Great job! We also increased our side income, but we did slash our budget. One of the most impactful things we did, actually, was mental: We put that loan as #1 priority in the month and it became a game to see how much we could pay it down that month. We still have just under $200k in student loans left, but we have 1 less monthly payment, which feels like a little weight has lifted off of our backs.

  15. Tiffany says

    Great post & great job! I have been creating additional income each month by showing people how to save money on their everyday purchases. So I agree with everyone that additional income is the key~

  16. Dear Debt says

    I am putting extra payments towards debt and really pushing my limits! I want these guys done! I still have 3.3 years to go on my timeline, but I want to try to cut it down to 2.5 years.

  17. Niki says

    Great tips Michelle! I’d also recommend contacting your loan provider to make sure that your extra payments will go to principle, since most lenders game the system so that any ‘extra’ goes to your next payment…which is not in your best interest! I did this with my Great Lakes and Sallie Mae loans, literally took 10 minutes and probably saved me hundreds.
    Niki recently posted..I Pay How Much in Taxes?!My Profile

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