Oh how much I miss college! The memories made over those 4 years were ones I know I will never forget. College left me with a ton of memories, but also a ton of bills. Those loans come knocking on your door the moment you cross that stage… not literally but it sure does feel like it! While student loan debt tends to plague most of us, I chose not to let it plague me… and here’s how...
The fact that you are reading this means that you are on the right path! One of my biggest regrets was not taking the time to learn more about my loans...before I graduated. The loan repayment process is usually coupled with a ton of interest and disinterest… in paying!
Take some time to visit the FAQs section of your loan providers website. Familiarize yourself with how much you will owe and how you will be required to do so. Questions you will want to find answers to, prior to graduating include:
How much will principle will I owe
What are my loan interest rates? About how much interest will I owe?
When do I have to start repaying my loans?
Are there are programs or assistance I can apply for to assist with my repayment?
Are there any penalties or non-standard fees I should be aware of?
Waiting To Pay
The thought of having to pay off your loans is one I know we all try NOT to think about. It’s all fun and games until you get that email from your loan agency reminding you that your repayment process is going to begin soon. I will never forget the first time I got the “It’s Time!” email. That strange overly-friendly email advising you that it was almost time to start paying them back. It was time to become...dare I say it… an ADULT!
Try easing into adulthood by paying small increments ahead of schedule. Most student loans allow for a repayment ‘grace period’. Post graduation, you will be given a few months before payments are due. Although no minimum payment will be due, there is nothing stopping you from making payments. I used the grace period as a way to set up my own plan for how I was going to pay off my loans. I created a timeline and an amount I could afford to put towards my loan each month. Once I set my plan I started paying every 2 weeks like clockwork! By the time my grace period was over I was already so used to putting money towards my loan, it didn’t send me into shock when I had to start making the required payments!
Reading the FAQs can be more rewarding than it seems! During my research, I found that my loan provider offered a special interest rate reduction if you joined their direct debit program. Essentially, I was given a lower interest rate if I set my minimum payments to be withdrawn automatically each month. Not only was I able to lower my interest rates, but I also secured a way to ensure I would never miss a payment… #GoodCredit!
Tip: Don't change the amount you already set to pay during your planning phase. Deduct the amount your loan provider will debit each month and plan to make a payment to cover the rest.
“Never ease up on the goals you've set simply because you are closer to the finish line”
Securing a lower interest rate doesn’t mean you don't need to continue applying some strategy towards how you repay your loans. If you have multiple loans, like I did (1 for each year of undergrad), focus on putting more of your money towards the loans with the highest interest rates! Focusing on lowering your your higher interest rate loans will help reduce the amount you will end up paying in the long run!
Focus On Your Goal
Make your loans the front runner for accomplishing your goals! The money you are using to repay your loans is money that could be spent on other things… hence why they tend to feel like such a burden, right!? Try associating the goal of paying off your loans with a reward. Are you looking to buy a car, a home, or maybe there is a vacation you’ve always wanted to take but just couldn't spare the cash. Pick a reward or two and use that for your motivation!
Setting a goal is only half of the battle though isn't it? First we need a plan for how we plan to reach out goals. To help reach my goal, I created my own personal timeline. I determined how much I needed to pay off monthly in order to reach my goal. Each month I reviewed my spreadsheet to make sure I was on target. Tracking my progress was the most important part of my repayment journey! It allowed me to stay focused and and ultimately pay off all of my loans in record time.
Preparation always leads to success! Are you ready to tackle those loans and say goodbye to your student loan debt? Download your very own loan tracker and begin your journey today!
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While on your journey, always remember these few things:
Alway leave room for saving! Paying off your loans contributes to your future, but so does saving. Pay AND save… that is the key to true success.
Plans can always be adjusted. If you need to adjust your timeline, don't beat yourself up about it. Adjust and keep moving forward, just never give up!
If you have questions about your loan, call your loan provider! After you’ve reviewed the FAQs, if you still have questions or concerns don't hesitate calling the help #. They have all of the answers that you’re looking for. Just ask!