If you’re between the ages of 25 and 35, chances are you have student loans you’re still paying off. That’s just the sad reality of my generation.
As soon as we graduate from college, most of us have Sallie Mae hunting us down for her monthly payments. If you’re in that situation, I want you to do this one thing: Pay off those debts as quickly as possible!
Here are some practical ways to get those student loans off your back as fast as you can:
1. Make (and stick to) a budget
Yes, a budget! If you have no idea where your money is going every month, then it’s impossible to make sure you’re putting that hard-earned cash toward things that matter — like getting out of debt. With a monthly budget, you should be making sure your basic needs are taken care of — food, housing, utilities, transportation — and then paying off as much debt as possible. The budget will help you see how much you can put toward that debt.
2. Pay your smallest debts first
If student loans are your only debts, then get moving on them. But if you have other debts like credit cards or a car payment, list all your payments on paper, including the student loans, and pay them off from smallest to largest. By paying off the smaller ones first, you’ll get a couple of quick wins that will help you stay motivated.
3. Consolidate your debts
This is the only time I will ever tell you to use debt consolidation. A few guidelines: Make sure you consolidate into an interest rate that’s lower than the one you have now. Also, mentally prepare for a larger balance on your one loan. Two $20,000 loans would consolidate into one $40,000 loan.
4. Take an extra job or work overtime
I know, I know. If you’re working a full-time job, the thought of working even more hours might wear you out. But remember, this is just temporary. The faster you get these loans paid off, the faster you can return to a sense of normalcy in your life.
Moving forward, I want you to focus as much as possible on getting rid of those loans. All the money you send to Sallie Mae every month is money that could be going toward building your future — emergency savings, a down payment on a house, and retirement.
Don’t let student loans hang around any longer. Be intentional, make a plan, and knock them out as quickly as possible!
About Rachel Cruze
As a #1 New York Times best-selling author and seasoned communicator, Rachel Cruze helps people learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. She’s authored three best-selling books, including Love Your Life, Not Theirs and Smart Money Smart Kids, which she co-wrote with her father, Dave Ramsey. You can follow Cruze on Twitter and Instagram at @RachelCruze and online at www.rachelcruze.com, youtube.com/rachelcruze or facebook.com/rachelramseycruze.