Here's The Student Loan Payment Strategy 8 Women Use To Pay Back Their Debt
College can be one of the most exciting and fulfilling times in a person's life. However, graduating comes at a hefty price tag for many... and paying off those student loans can be a tricky (and lengthy) process. For those who are enjoying that sparkly new degree, but wondering how they're going to pay for it, these eight women have explained their student loan payment strategy. Take notes, people.
The student debt crisis is one of the most serious issues facing college graduates today. According to the U.S. Federal Reserve numbers, student loan debt in 2019 is overwhelming, with some 45 million borrowers owing over $1.5 trillion as of the end of 2018. In 2017, borrowers owed an average of nearly $29,000 of student loans, and per CNBC, it can take over 20 years to pay that debt off. While there are student loan forgiveness programs that can assist graduates with the hefty price tags, that doesn't mean your student loans will just vanish.
While the thought may be nerve-wracking, don't fret, graduates. Before all of you start stressing out about the process, here's some advice from eight women about their strategy to pay off student loans, because some helpful hints never hurt.
1. Vero, 25
My strategy is to just pay it off month by month! I don't totally have any other strategy besides that one. If I can afford to pay a little bit more than the minimum balance per month, I try and do that, but it's usually a little tough for me to do that so I just stick to the minimum payment.
2. Tina, 26
My strategy for paying off my student loans was to literally make the minimum payment. That's it. I had heard about snowballing and other methods to pay debt down quicker, but I had to make a minimum payment on each loan regardless, and paying off more than the minimum just wasn't possible for me.
3. Laurel, 32
The more you think of saving money as an investment in your future self rather than "things I have to sacrifice", the easier it becomes to cope.
Prioritize what you can save on vs. splurge, otherwise it sucks all the fun out of life. I can be a huge cheapskate for certain things and then feel good about diverting that money to loans or splurging on other things because it makes me happy. I've eaten the same homemade breakfast every day for the past year, used my (expired) student ID to get discounts, frozen my butt off in winter because I don't want to pay for heat, etc. But I've also spent $600 a night on a boutique hotel because life is short. Seriously, I work with dying people every day, we are really lucky to be alive.
Ask for discounts everywhere, especially on big ticket items like rent. If you don't ask, the answer is automatically no. My dad always says "money is meant to be earned and spent [within reason]". It's much easier to make $100 than to save $100, and when you extrapolate that out to bigger numbers, it's even more mind blowing.
Because of our loans (~$250k prior to repayment), my fiancé and I both have second jobs in addition to our daytime ones as a doctor and physical therapist. It's stressful and we're often exhausted, but it's temporary, and I'd rather do this in my 30s than 10 or 20 years from now.
4. Flose, 27
It took me four years to pay off $32,762.17 in student loans. When I started paying off my loans, my strategy was a mix of cutting out "luxuries" like drinking, meat, and flights home to visit my family. Most recently, it involved itemizing my skills and taking on side gigs while working full-time.
5. Adeline, 25
Right now, my strategy for paying off my student loans is simply to have my loan servicer auto-withdraw a certain amount from my checking account each month. That monthly amount ($235) has been the same since I started paying my loans right after college. I probably could afford to pay a bit more per month to speed up the overall process, but like many millennials, any and all decisions involving money give me quite a lot of anxiety.
6. Maya, 25
It's hard to have a strategy when incomes in my field(s) are so low, job security feels nonexistent, and it's nearly impossible to save because cost of living is so high in most cities. My current strategy is to make my payments on time until I don't have to anymore.
7. Sam, 32
I took out loans in 2005. I've paid about half of it. If I get a well-paying job after this I could conceivably pay the balance in another year, but more realistically it will be another 3-5 years. My strategy is to get as much as I can reliably afford automatically deducted each month and pay extra when I can.
8. Lynn, 30
It took me about three years to pay off my student loans ($190,000). I refinanced, paid above the minimum and asked that the extra go to the principle, and worked a second full-time job and used that salary solely for my debt. I don't think this is feasible for the majority of people, though.
Whether you're almost finished paying off those student loans, or just getting started, it's key to think thoughtfully and thoroughly. Even if it seems daunting at the moment, you'll get through it.