This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sallie Mae Cash Back Credit Cards. All opinions are 100% mine.
I remember when I graduated from college, excited to finally move on to the next chapter of my life. I had so many plans for what the next decade would look like. And then I got the bill with the student loans I had racked up for the past four years. It’s a punch to the gut feeling that just about everyone I know has experienced themselves.
You’re so excited to start really living your life, and then you realize that the next decade(s) is going to be spent paying off that degree. As daunting as paying off those loans sounds, there are definitely ways to lighten the load a bit.
In this post, I’m sharing 7 strategies you can use to pay off your student loans faster.
7 Strategies to Pay Off Student Loans Faster
Get Yourself On a Budget
If you read my other personal finance posts, you’re probably a little sick of me constantly rambling on about starting a budget. I’ve gotta be honest with you though – I’m going to keep saying it.
Starting a budget and actually sticking to it is the absolute best way to get your finances on track. If you want to reach financial goals like paying off your student loans faster, getting on a budget is the way to get there.
Avoid Low Repayment Plans
I know the idea of getting on an income-based repayment plan sounds really appealing. If your lender wants to lower your student loan payment, why the heck not let them, right?
And while these payment plans can be helpful for getting back on your feel or helping you out when you’re going through a financial rough patch, they aren’t going to get those loans paid off any faster. At the end of the day, the more money you put toward your student loans the faster you’ll get them paid off.
Pay More Than the Minimum Payment
The only way you’re going to get your student loans paid off faster is if you make more than the minimum payment every month. This is where that budget comes in!
If you don’t think you have the money to pay more than the minimum payment, go through your budget. Is there a category where you could be spending less? Could you instead put that money toward extra payments on your student loans?
Start a Side Hustle
If you’re working a full-time job for someone else, you’re probably working with a finite amount of money each month. And outside of getting a raise, there aren’t many ways to increase your income at work. What you can do, however, is start a side hustle. And more and more people are doing just that.
Starting a side hustle has been one of the best things I have ever done. It’s been so much fun for me and has been an amazing way to increase my income and have extra money to put toward my student loans every month.
Use Cash Windfalls for Extra Payments
I know how tempting it can be to get a big tax return or a bonus at work and dream about all of the ways you could spend that money. I know a vacation comes to mind for me! But really, using those windfalls to make extra payments on your student loans will go a long way toward getting them paid off.
You could seriously pay your loans off years earlier by using those windfalls as extra loan payments. I know it’s not the fun choice now, but you’ll have a lot of extra money down the road to have fun with!
Consider Refinancing Your Loans
Depending on when you borrowed your student loans and who you borrowed them from, you may be stuck with a high-interest rate. Refinancing your student loans can be a great way to lower that rate.
There are plenty of companies out there these days who are helping graduates to significantly lower their student loan interest rates to get those loans paid off faster and for less money.
Find a Credit Card that Helps You Reach Your Goals
I know there are plenty of people who are skeptical of credit cards. And honestly, that’s fair for some people. If you’re someone who can’t handle the responsibility of a credit card, then think carefully before using them. But finding the right credit card can actually have a ton of financial benefits for you.
Cash back credit cards like the Sallie Mae Cash Back Credit Cards can earn you cash back every day. The Sallie Mae Evolve℠ Credit Card is literally meant for recent graduates who are trying to find their financial footing. They know we’ve got financial goals, and they want to help us reach them.
The Sallie Mae Evolve Credit Card gives you 1.25% on every single purchase you make. But they also give you extra cash back every month in the categories where you spend the most money.
You’re not the only one who’s a little freaked out about paying off their student loans. I’m right there with you! I’m just happy there are strategies that we can use to pay them off faster.
Every time I think about what I’ll use that money for when my loans are paid off, I’m even more motivated to use every tactic I can to get them paid off faster!
For more information on paying off debt, read about how my husband and I are planning to pay off six figures of debt together.