When the graduation ceremony is over, the caps and gowns are returned, and your diploma is hanging on the wall, you’ll realize that you’re actually in the real world and out of the bubble of “college life”. However, this can be a startling realization as your student loans pile up, with no real end in sight.
Taking Care of Student Debt
If you’re a recent grad that has accepted money from the government or some other loan service to finance your degree, then the clock has already started ticking for you to pay off your debt. Luckily, you have a six-month grace period before you must begin paying it off.
While the amount of debt you owe may feel a little overwhelming, it is possible to get everything paid off in time. By following a few of these helpful hints, you can handle your student loans with ease. Here’s how:
Know Your Repayment Options
For the former student looking to pay off their student debt, it is important to research all of the repayment options available to you. Many people opt for setting up an income-driven repayment plan for their federal student loans.
Oftentimes, it is a good idea to get a handle on your repayment options while you search for your first job, and with the income-driven repayment plan, you get your payments pegged to your monthly income. This is extremely helpful if you haven’t secured a job yet, as you are not required to pay anything until you have a high enough income.
Students that struggle with a significant amount of debt often find that putting their payments on hold helps them take control of their financial situation. With this choice, you need to check in with your loan servicer regularly for mistakes or to record changes in your earnings, which might alter your monthly payment. As you start to increase your income, you can choose a monthly repayment amount that works for you.
Know How Much Debt You Owe
Once you take the time to assess the total amount of debt you owe, it can seem depressing and off-putting. Don’t let this fear get to you or cause you to avoid dealing with the situation entirely. Fear is the number one reason so many people fail to properly manage their student debt.
Instead of sticking your head in the sand, the reality of your situation is that even though you can push the bills aside, block the calls, and keep your mind off the debt itself, you are allowing interest to collect on the debt you already have to pay off. No matter what you do, the government will make sure that it gets its money from you. Imagine having to file for bankruptcy after hiding from your debt for so long. This is why it is so important to be well aware of how much you owe, ultimately working out a way to pay it off.
Avoid Taking on Private Loans
If you’ve already taken on private loans, try your best to see if you can get them refunded. The best loans to choose for financing your education are flexible ones rather than private loans. If you are still in school or are looking to get another degree, do your research on the best way to fund your education without putting yourself into an unnecessary amount of debt.
With private loans, students may find that the banks have defaulted their loans after just 60 or 90 days. Compared to the months that federal loans allow you before going into default, this doesn’t give you much time to figure out your repayment options.
Continue to Live Like a College Student
After graduating, many students make the mistake of trying to live the high life straight out of college. Unfortunately, going from staying in a dorm to buying mass amounts of furniture and paying for a condo isn’t the best way to make sure all your loans are handled.
This doesn’t mean you can’t buy anything, but do so wisely. Shop smarter when it comes to your clothes and shoes. You can still get brands you love like UGG or Nike–but at a fraction of the price if you shop around.
As you work to build your life outside of college, it is best to face the reality of the debt you are in and work toward getting your loans paid off, rather than living lavishly. If you are already used to living simply, it’s best to continue that practice until you get all of your loans squared away.
Perhaps you lived with roommates in college, choosing to do so again can leave you extra money to cover your expenses. As you continue to get your money together, it is a good idea to hold back on expensive dinners, pricy dates, trips around the world, and the like. Choosing to live in a spendthrift manner will pay off in the long run.
Don’t Avoid It
The adult world brings a lot of hard work and, in most cases, a huge amount of debt that needs to be dealt with. By making it a point to get your college loans covered, you will be one step closer to living the successful life that you have been working so hard for.