How to pay off your student loans faster: Start before graduation

Domestic AmeriCorps volunteers, meanwhile, are eligible to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award at the end of their service that can be used towards paying loans. Getting a job Getting a job k s k s: This money can be used toward paying back student loans. But for some people, it can help. Selling a home Selling a home. Bonds Investing in bonds.

1. Have a Positive Mental Attitude

1. Pay down the principal early, rather than the interest.

Refinancing your loans is one of the best moves out there for paying off student loans faster. The goal of refinancing is to decrease interest rates, meaning more of your payments go . Oct 12,  · When it comes to that kind of debt, it's helpful to find as many ways as possible to pay back your loans faster. Here are four tips: 1. Pay down the principal early, rather than the interest. If you're making pre-payments while in school, make sure they're going to the the principal amount, rather than the interest. A 3- to 5-year plan gives you a sense of scope when you’re paying off student loans. By having an end date in sight, it’s far easier to commit to eliminating that student debt. Say, for example, you have a couple with a combined college debt of $50,

2. Understand Your Loans, and Make a Plan


I was going to be screwed by the interest if I didn't start paying," Patel said. The extra money came from part-time jobs she held during the school year and over the summer.

She admits the small payments felt huge at the time, and sometimes took up as much as half of her paychecks. Paying down the principal of your loans faster lowers the amount in interest you'll pay over time, said Phil DeGisi, the Chief Marketing Officer at the online student loan refinance company CommonBond.

Those tiny payments -- however small -- really do add up," Patel said. Don't be fooled by student debt relief scams. Here parents also borrowed loans to cover the rest of her tuition. When it comes to that kind of debt, it's helpful to find as many ways as possible to pay back your loans faster. Here are four tips:.

Pay down the principal early, rather than the interest. If you're making pre-payments while in school, make sure they're going to the the principal amount, rather than the interest. This might happen automatically, but it's best to call your loan servicer to make sure. Know which loans you should make prepayments on. If you have federal student loans, you're allowed to make pre-payments while in school.

But if you have private loans, there's a chance you could be hit with a fee for making payments early. Call your loan servicer to find out. There are two different types of federal student loans: If you're going to make payments while still in school, choose to pay down the unsubsidized loan so that less interest accrues overtime.

When Patel first graduated, her student loan payments were very high compared to her income. She moved home, commuting four hours a day. There are a handful of banks and online lenders that will refinance both federal and private student loans. If eligible, your new interest rate will be based on your debt-to-income ratio and credit score.

Once Patel paid off her own debt and was earning a bigger income, she was able to qualify for a lower interest rate by refinancing with CommonBond. It lowered the interest rate on the PLUS loans to 3. If you refinance a federal loan with a private, you might be giving up some protections -- like being able to apply for deferment or an income-based repayment plan in the event your finances take a hit in the future.

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There are several benefits to this payment method, and some lenders may give you a discount just for enrolling. If you have auto-debit, your loan servicer will automatically deduct the amount from your bank account.

You do need to make sure, of course, that you have enough money in your account each month for the payment to clear — otherwise, you could be looking at overdraft fees. Some lenders offer a discount for enrolling in automatic debit. If you have unexpected extra cash, you can still make a one-time payment to pay down your loan faster.

There are several programs already in place that help you pay back student loans. Some are through employers, while others are more public-service oriented:. Also in some cases you may be required to report forgiven loans as taxable income, so be sure to factor in any potential tax consequences in your decision. Similar to signing bonuses and health benefits, student loan repayment is another way for employers to attract top talent.

Bring up the idea to your boss and remember — this has to be a good deal for the company as well. In exchange for the student loan payment, you might offer incentives such as a promise to stay at the job for a specific period of time or agree to relocate to a branch office.

The most likely employers to offer this benefit? But several other employers have pay-for-school programs as well. Check out this guide from U. News and World Report on how to persuade your boss. Donating your time can help you pay off your loans while doing good. The two most well-known programs, AmeriCorps and Peace Corps , both offer some manner of education award or partial loan cancellation in addition to paying your living expenses during your time of service.

Peace Corps members volunteer internationally and receive two student-loan related benefits. This money can be used toward paying back student loans.

Domestic AmeriCorps volunteers, meanwhile, are eligible to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award at the end of their service that can be used towards paying loans. And, if you decide to pursue the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program mentioned above, your time in the AmeriCorps counts towards your 10 years of public service.

When you make a loan payment, you pay off any interest that has accrued since your last payment, and the rest goes to lower your principal balance.

There are two very basic ways to be able to pay more each month on your student loans: Investopedia does a great job at breaking down why paying biweekly instead of monthly is a good idea:. First, you are paying less in interest because there is less time between payments for interest to accumulate.

Second, you will end up making an extra month's worth of payments every year. This is because paying every other week equals 26 annual payments. It's a relatively painless way to reduce the cost of borrowing and pay off your loans faster. If you get paid biweekly, the payment feels the same on your wallet because you are taking half of a payment from each paycheck There are several websites and programs that allow you to earn rewards for spending money or paying down debt, and these rewards can be put towards your loans.

Some of these programs are education specific, allowing you to put any credits you earn directly towards paying down debt. Others reward you for paying down your debt by giving you credits that you can use to try to win prizes such as grocery gift cards, cash, or student loan payments. If you are able to pay your bill off every month, you could also consider getting a cash-back credit card and putting any cash back you receive directly to your loans.

Search around online to find a good rewards program for you. Your cosigner likely Mom or Dad is on the hook for your loan too, which means they have incentives to help you pay the loan back faster. They were there to help you attend school in the first place, and they probably have a continued desire to help you succeed.

Your cosigner might be willing to match your funds or supplement your payments. Or perhaps they would prefer to pay back your loans now and have you owe the money directly to them. No matter what, be sure to keep lines of communication open with your cosigner, so you can figure out a plan together.

Consider writing a letter to everyone to this effect, explaining the value of your education and how important this is to you. If you absolutely cannot pay your loans, there are a couple of options available to you: Avoid them both if you can; neither is an ideal option. For unsubsidized loans, you continue to be responsible for interest. Deferment can also be available to those in military service and to people in a few other situations.

Forbearance is intended for borrowers who have a temporary need to postpone payments and expect to be able to return to payments within a few months. Achieving goals is a lot easier — and more fun! While being debt free is certainly a reward of its own, planning to travel or even just treat yourself to a nice meal can be a great way to help you pay down your loans faster.

Reyna is Wise Bread's student loans expert and a regular contributor to U. This article is part of our New Graduate Help Center — a new Wise Bread section offering financial tips and life hacks to recent grads.

This section is made possible by the support of Sallie Mae. Check out more great tips from this section:.

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Matthew Burr paid off nearly $74, of student loans in less than two years. Matthew Burr 6. Start paying immediately. If you can, don't wait for the six-month grace period to end to make payments, . If you have unexpected extra cash, you can still make a one-time payment to pay down your loan faster. 6. Get Help From Your Employer. Some employers offer assistance with your student loans as part of a benefits package. Established Programs. There are several programs already in place that help you pay back student loans.

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