4 Steps to Paying off Student Loan Debt Without Having to Sacrifice Lifestyle
By Kia Imani
Paying off school debt doesn’t have to be as daunting and scary as people make it out to be. Granted, student debt is by no means fun but for a lot of us, student loans are a reality we can’t escape. Regardless how much student debt you’re in, there are countless ways to make timely loan payments without completely sacrificing your lifestyle. Below we’ve laid out four steps that will help you pay off those loans while still living your best life.
It’s important that you have a clear understanding of the things that take priority in your life. This will help you later down the road when you’re figuring out how to allocate your monthly funds. Siobhan Chisholm, a recent graduate from St. Johns University, shared her experience when she began paying back her loans. “When I first started paying back my loans, I asked myself a few questions to see how my money was going to be spent each month. I’d encourage everyone to ask basic questions like, ‘What are some things you absolutely can’t live without? What are some things that are going to require you to spend money each and every month? What are some things you don’t need to spend money on at all?’ These questions helped me when it was time to make myself a monthly budget that included all my loan payments.”
Paying off student debt is a very individualistic experience. There are some people who want to pay off their loans in three years and there are others that don’t mind paying them off over the course of ten years. You must figure out the timeline you want to follow in order to pay off your loans in full. “From the very beginning, I knew I wanted to pay off my loans as soon as possible. My loan provider gave me a ten year and a five year plan. I chose to follow the five year plan,” Chisholm explained. Once you have an idea of when you’d like to be completely done with your loans, it’ll be much easier for you to budget your funds to meet that goal.
While it may seem tedious, it’s extremely helpful to create a budget. “I needed to know where my money was going each and every month,” Chisholm explained. “I wanted to make sure I had enough money for my loan payments but also enough money to do the things I still wanted to do, like brunch on Sundays.” If there are things you absolutely can’t live without, a budget will help ensure that you always have funds for those activities. Most importantly, a budget will help ensure you always have money allocated to your student loans and never miss a payment.
4. Remain Disciplined
People make budgets everyday. Making a budget is just the first step of the challenge ahead. The act of actually sticking to the budget you’ve created for yourself is when things get a little difficult. It’s important to actually follow the budget and the priorities you’ve laid out for yourself. For example, paying rent on time may be a priority of yours. It would be a sad shame if you had an amazing month going out with friends and attending brunches and activities way out of your budget only to realize you don’t have enough funds for your rent. It’s all about finding a perfect balance of priorities, your budget and being disciplined about both.
Do you have any tips that you’ve found helpful when paying off your student loans? Share your experience with us in the comment section below!
Kia is a recent college graduate that's simply trying to grasp the concept of "adulting". She enjoys hugs, quotes, a good book, and all things motivational. Her favorite book is The Alchemist and she can watch Girlfriends all day long.