If you have recently graduated from college or you are about to graduate, you may be worried about your loan debt and how you plan to pay off your student loans. Many students worry about this and the debt can cause a burden for those who struggle to make the payments each month. Before you panic, consider the following stories from students who were in your situation once before. You can gain some insight, gather ideas, and then work toward paying off your student loan debt.
1. Learn to Budget and Save
My name is Lawrence Terry. I graduated in 2012 with a loan debt of $25,000. This is a steep amount, but below the average in the United States. Although this number is lower than the average, I did not have the money just lying around to pay off my loans.
I knew that if I did not want to be in debt for the next 10, 20, 25 years, I needed to make some drastic changes to the way I was spending my money. So, one day I sat down and started to break down how much money I made per month and I wrote down a budget.
It simply was not enough. When I realized this, I was disappointed, but was determined to make sure I would pay off my student loans so I started to look for ways to save money. I cut out coffee, turned down the AC, and I stopped driving around to places I could realistically walk to.
Due to all of the efforts I put forth, I was able to pay $5,000 toward my student loans in the first year! This was a huge accomplishment and I am on track to pay down my debt in just three years.
2. Earn Additional Money
My name is Roger Achefield and I had a lot of student loan debt. While I graduated with a degree in environmental science, I was unable to lock in a job in my career of choice. Working minimum wage jobs was not going to cut it and my loan debt was starting to pile up.
While I was working at my night job, I started to brainstorm additional ways to make money. I started out by walking around the neighborhood during the day and offering lawn services to those whose grass was growing wild. Soon, word got out about the work I performed and soon I had more customers than I could keep track of.
My side job turned into a full time job and I was able to quickly pay down $10,000 of my debt within the first year and a half!
3. Don’t Forget About Community College
My name is Dianne Summings and my dream was to go to a big University and involve myself in all of the great study abroad opportunities and much more. A couple semesters before applying for college, my parents let me know they could not help me pay for it. So, this meant either I take on a ton of student loan debt, not go to the college I want, or completely give up and cry.
I chose to forgo the dream school and I took advantage of the course offerings at my local community college. And, you know what? My community college offers almost all of the exact same courses as the degree I was going to pursue at the University of my choice.
In addition, my community college courses only cost me $120 per credit hour instead of $300 per credit hour. That is a HUGE savings and it allows me to not worry about as much student loan debt.
While I am going to school, I am able to work so I make interest payments towards the loans I have taken out and everything is coming together perfectly for me.
As you can see by these three stories, it is always possible to pay off your federal or private student loans and not be in debt forever. These three students have great stories and they found something that worked for them. Remember, it is not always about the school you go to or the job you take, but about how you make it work for you.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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