Attending college and earning a degree has become more than just an adventure that a high school graduate experiences for four years. It’s an adult responsibility that can weigh your pockets down until you’re permanently slumped over and depressed. As if eating Ramen noodles in between classes wasn’t enough, now you’re in the workforce and it seems your quality of life hasn’t changed because you’re stuck with an insurmountable mountain student debt.
If you’re struggling to survive with a burden of debt, consider the following tips to free yourself from it.
Cut Down All Your Controllable Expenses
You’d be surprised at the amount of money you’re likely spending each month that you could invest toward your student loan debt. Sure, you’ll have to sacrifice that lavish lifestyle you’ve grown to know and love, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be forever. It may even be worth your while to see if you can refinance your student loans to secure a more manageable rate. The sooner you pay if off, the faster you can spend that money on the extras you enjoy.
- Rent. Sharing a dorm room in college was an experience in itself, but you likely dreamt of the time you could live in an apartment that you could call your own. Well, if you want to pay off your student loan, keep dreaming for a few more years. Living with a roommate might seem like a hassle, but it’s the best way to put more money in your pockets considering rent is the biggest expense you deal with monthly.
- Cable. Not only is cable TV bad for your mind, but it’s an easy expensive you can cut out of your budget. Instead, opt for streamed shows on your computer or subscribe to cheaper services like Netflix.
- Gym. Staying active and healthy will help you alleviate some of the stress you feel from having student loan debt, but that doesn’t mean you should be forking over outrageous monthly gym fees in the process. If there’s a facility at work or where you live, use that instead. Instead of the treadmill, run outside.
- Phone bill. It’s easy to get sucked into the hype and buy the newest version of a phone when it comes out. Not only that, but the service provider you decide on can also have a tremendous impact on how much you’re spending each month just to talk and text.
- Online Classes. A student pursuing a taxation degree can save money and time by supplementing their campus experience with cheaper and more convenient online classes, that still deliver the same, if not better results.
Find Ways to Earn Some Extra Income
Now that you’ve cut out some unneeded expenses out of your life, it’s time to focus on how you can earn some extra income to put toward paying off your student loan debt. Here are a few ideas to help with that.
- Babysitting/Petsitting. Two things are a fact of life: people have kids and people own animals. If you’re good with either, try your hand at watching them. It’s a relatively easy way to earn a few extra bucks.
- Tutoring. Considering you went to college, you have some sort of expertise in an area that other people are lacking. Use that to your advantage by offering tutoring services to them.
- Odd jobs. There’s plenty of odd jobs out there at any time — just check Craigslist’s job section in your area.
- Mystery shopping. Before you accrued your debt, you probably thought this line of work was a hoax. Well, it’s not, and you should consider doing it to earn money. All you have to do is pretend you’re a customer at a restaurant, hotel, or entertainment venue and report back to the company with your experience.
Talk With Your Loan Advisers and Choose the Right Payment Plan
In addition to cutting out expenses and earning extra income on the side, paying off your student loan debt won’t happen unless you talk with advisers and choose the right payment plan. You should study your financial options as much as you studied for your finals (well, hopefully). The more aware you are of what you can do to pay off your loan faster without burying yourself, the better off you’ll be. So don’t run and hide from your responsibility.
Don’t let the weight of your student debt pummel you into your grave. Face it and pay it off today so you can have a better tomorrow.
photo credit © Sandor Kacso