*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you make a purchase via one of the links, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog! Please see my disclaimer page for more information*
Paying off student loans can be a daunting task. Some people spend their entire lives trying to get rid of their student loan debt… yikes.
And instead of waiting to win the lottery or landing a job that offers student loan forgiveness, you will need to take action in order to get yours paid off quicker.
This will definitely take some diligence and determination. Paying off student loan debt doesn’t happen overnight (sorry, folks).
The good news is, there are ways to get those loans paid off much faster. And it will all be worth it once they are paid off for good!
If you follow one or more of the tips below, you will see your student loan debt start to diminish quicker.
Let’s do this!
1. Pay more than the minimum balance
If you are only paying the minimum amount towards your student loans, you are most likely paying more in interest each month than paying down the loan itself! That’s why the first step (and the most efficient step) is to simply pay more than your minimum balance.
Making extra payments is hands down the most effective way to pay off your student debt quicker. The more money you can throw at your loans each month, the quicker they will start to go down.
There are some incredibly effective ways of making extra payments each month.
Apply your raise
When given a raise, most people will automatically find something new to spend their money on and will then perceive these new things as necessities. This is called lifestyle inflation.
Lifestyle inflation can be completely avoided by spending the same amount that you have in the past, and when given a raise, use the extra money towards paying off debt or putting it into savings.
For the purpose of this post, you will want to put your raise money into paying off your student loans faster.
Just like applying your raise, using your tax refund towards your student loans each year can help pay them off quicker.
Overtime or side income money
We will discuss more on side hustles later. But you can also use any money you make working overtime or with a side hustle towards paying off your loans faster.
ChangEd is an app that helps you pay off your student loans with your spare change. This app will round up all of your purchases to the nearest dollar for you and then send over a lump-sum payment directly to your loan provider.
You won’t even notice you are making extra payments!
Now, you might be thinking “I struggle to pay even the minimum payment each month. How am I supposed to make extra payments?”. If this is the case, try one of the other tips below.
2. Refinance or consolidate
Throughout college, you may have incurred more than one student loan. Most people do.
In some circumstances, refinancing or consolidating student loans makes sense. But it’s not for everyone.
Let’s look at each one separately:
Consolidating your loans means combining a bunch of different loans into one, single loan. This keeps everything in one place so that you are not dealing with multiple loans and multiple payments each month.
You will only be able to consolidate your student loans if your loans came from government programs. Using debt consolidation on private loans would not offer you any benefit.
You can refinance your student loans whether they are federal, private, or a mix of both. When you refinance, you take all of your student loans to a single lender who will pay them all off for you. Then you will owe the lender for the money they used to pay off your other debt.
Debt refinancing makes sense if you are able to find a loan with a better rate and better payment terms than what you were previously paying. This ensures that you will be paying much less each month within a shorter timeframe.
If you are not able to find a lender to provide a better rate and better payment terms, then refinancing would not be beneficial.
If you are interested in refinancing, I highly recommend SoFi.
Sofi is one of the leading student loan providers and they offer some great rates with flexible terms. There are no application fees and no pre-payment penalties, so you can make as many early payments as you would like.
Plus, f you refinance through my link here, you will receive a $300 sign-up bonus!
3. Set your account up for automatic payments
As stated above, refinancing or consolidating your student loans might not always make sense.
If this is the case, you can set up your account to make automatic payments.
Most Federal and Private student loan lenders offer an interest rate discount for setting up autopay. This allows them to automatically take the payments out of your bank account so that you do not need to set up the payment yourself.
This is another way to potentially lower your interest rate so that you can pay more than the minimum balance each month.
If your student loan lender offers a discount for autopay, the amount will most likely be minimal. However, you can use the discount to apply more money towards your loan and less on interest.
You can visit your lender’s website to set up autopay or you can contact them directly to ask about these discounts.
4. Make a budget
One of the easiest ways to get your student loan debt paid off quicker is to simply make room in the budget for it.
If you are not sure how much money is flowing in or out of your bank each month, you can use tools such as Mint.com or Personal Capital to track your monthly spending habits. Then when you know how much money you have leftover each month, you can start using it to tackle your student loan debt quicker.
If you notice that you are overspending each month and can’t find any wiggle-room in the budget, then the next tip is crucial.
5. Make some sacrifices
As stated above, if you can’t find room in your budget to make extra payments towards your student loans, you will need to start making some financial sacrifices.
This could be making your own coffee at home instead of buying it from a coffee shop. Or saying goodbye to cable t.v., subscription services, and ordering fast food every week.
You could even use the service Billshark to help lower your monthly bills.
There are so many ways to cut costs. It’s as simple as checking your budget and cutting out unnecessary expenses. Just think, if it is not something you absolutely need to survive, then it is a luxury item that you can probably do without.
Once you are able to find ways to cut back your expenses, then you can start putting that money towards your student loans.
6. Make extra money with a side hustle
Ok, so on top of creating a budget and cutting costs, you may find it beneficial to start a side hustle to make some extra money each month to put towards your student loans.
A side hustle (or side job) will ultimately give you some additional fuel to dump on top of your student loan fire.
With so many different side hustles out there, it is as simple as finding one that suits you best and making it happen!
Some great side hustle ideas are:
- Dog walking
- Start a blog
- Sell stuff on eBay
- Driver for Uber or Lyft
- Complete tasks with survey sites
Check out these related posts for more side hustle ideas:
7. Make bi-weekly payments
Another easy way to pay off your student debt quicker is to pay half of your debt payment every two weeks instead of one full payment per month.
Now, you might be thinking, “That doesn’t solve anything if I am paying the same amount each month.” But, by paying bi-weekly, you will end up making an additional full payment each year.
This tactic can make a huge difference if you have a long payment term or if you are paying off a larger student loan balance.
8. Stay motivated!
It’s easy to get motivated at first to get your student loans paid down quicker, but it will get more difficult as time goes on.
It is important to stay motivated to do whatever you can to pay off your debt sooner.
Imagine yourself not having to pay hundreds of dollars each month towards your student loans. Envision yourself putting your hard-earned dollars towards something that isn’t your student loan debt. It will feel so amazing to finally get them paid off for good!
If you are able to follow these methods, sooner than later you will be able to say you are completely debt-free!
Hey there, welcome to my blog!
I’m Swati, a mom, a personal finance enthusiast, and the owner of TheBlissfulBudget. My work has been featured in major publications including Fox 10, Credit Cards, Cheapism, How to Fire, Databox & Referral Rock.
I help busy budgeters like you save and make money by utilizing simple yet effective methods that can create wonders.
My Mantra: You are entitled to live the life you desire, and financial bliss should be simple to obtain–check out my blog for helpful tips on acquiring wealth easily.