5 Ways to Reduce Student Loan Debt

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“The weight is absolutely killing me. Talk about an extra load. It’s not affecting me the way you would think. It’s a headache. A huge one. You were thinking this was going to be another weight-loss article? Well, sort of. Yeah, I don’t need to lose weight. I need to lose my student loan; which is a result of a few loans I took – car title loans, payday loans etc.”

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, it was reported that 6.9 million Americans are severely delinquent in their student loan payments. So, I’m not alone. It looks like I’ve got a lot of company who needs to lose the load.

At a glance, it seems absolutely impossible to lose the load. We may not even know where or how to get started with what looks like such an overwhelming burden. Here are five options to consider to lose the weight:

auto payAutomatic Payments

If you set up an automatic monthly payment from your bank account with your lender, you may receive a cut rate or other bonuses. Even if the federal government is your lender, they get into the action to the tune of a one-quarter of a percentage point rate cut. This adds up to about $500 off a $30,000 debt over 10 years.

Pay Twice a Month

Most of us budget to make one payment a month and therefore make 12 payments in a year. Did you know if you were to pay twice a month or half your payment every other week, by the end of the year you have made 26 half-payments? This will add up to 13 full-sized payments made in a year, and you may not have even noticed that you made one full extra payment during the year.

This idea is even better if you get paid biweekly. Some months have an extra paycheck, and the extra amount coincides with those months. If you’d like to make it an even sweeter plan, round your payment up to the next $10 or $100 to save on interest.

Volunteer Away

Here’s the next greatest idea in student-loan payback opportunities to come along in a very long time. Most of us love to volunteer. But when you’re fresh out of the gate and working to establish yourself in your career, volunteering can take last place on the to-do list. Volunteerism can help you chip away at the debt. Check out www.sponsorchange.org for opportunities in your area.

Here’s how it works. Volunteers match the skills they have worked so hard in college obtaining with needs listed on the website. For example, you have web development skills and an organization could use you for a project. You volunteer and complete a project for them. They pay $10-$20 an hour in the form of a student loan payment. It becomes a win/win/win. You win by volunteering time. The organization wins because they get skilled help they may not otherwise be able to afford. You win again by having a payment made toward your student loan debt.

teacher1Public Service

If you are working in a public service sector such as teaching, the Federal Government will write off the balance of your loan after you have made 120 payments. You will need to file paperwork for that to happen. It’s not automatic, and you must take care of making sure that everything is squared away. You may file your own paperwork with the Department of Education; however, many people may find this task daunting and prefer to use a third party to tackle this process. They are out there, but thoroughly check them out so you don’t get taken by a scam.

Align Payments with Income

Did you know your payments can better match your income? There is a process available online at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand/plans/income-driven for those of you who have loans through the Federal Government. Some rules apply, but why not see if there is something that can be done for you?

Have you been able to escape your student loans?

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Money

Derek

AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

2 Comments

  1. If they are that much of a weight, then you often have to make tough choices to get rid of that weight. For example, if you get a refund, put 100% of it toward your loan. It’ll hurt to not take that vacation or put in those granite counters, but those things won’t reduce the weight of your loans, but ripping out a big chunk certainly will go a long way.

    • Definitely! The last bit of my student loan was paid off in a large chunk thanks to a signing bonus from my new job. It wasn’t necessarily as fun as a two-week vacation might have been, but the feeling of the debt being gone was a whole different kind of fabulous feeling. Definitely worth the “sacrifice”!


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