The usual feelings that are associated with debt are anxiety and stress. That’s no surprise to anyone who has ever had to deal with the burden of paying their debts down.
If you’re struggling with anxious feelings, always worried about when the endless student loan bills are going to stop coming, we’ve come up with some tips to help you pay your loans down faster.
With just 7 simple changes to your lifestyle, you could be debt-free before all your peers.
Live at Your Means
Your rent, daily expenses, monthly bills, and any other expenses should be affordable, given your income. You want to be comfortable, but just enough where you will be able to save a meaningful amount, pay off those monthly loans, and hopefully have some leftover to enjoy life a little.
Put Your Extra Income Towards Your Loan
Congratulations on your raise, bonus, or a new job. The extra income you are making goes straight to your student loans. You lived without it before, and you can do it now. All to get those loans paid off faster so you can enjoy life later.
Use Your IRS Refund
If you get a considerable tax refund at the start of the year, put it towards your student loans. The average tax refund in 2019 was $2,899. That’s a huge chunk off your student loans. If you did that every year, it could seriously help.
Cook your own food
I am not asking you to never go out for a meal, don’t get ahead of yourself. I am asking you to get your lazy bum off the couch every Sunday, grab your favorite sandwich or salad fixings, and meal prep for the week.
Blast your favorite tunes, dance around your kitchen for 30 minutes, and boom, you just saved $3,000-$4,000 per year. Better yet, if you choose to cook dinner during the week, just make extra food for the next day’s lunch or dinner. It is not that hard, and it saves you a ton of money compared with eating out all the time.
Use a savings app
For example, ChangEd is a savings app to help you pay down loans. Sync up your bank accounts and get ready to see your loan balance go down.
ChangEd rounds up your daily expenses, takes the change (very clever name), and creates a piggy bank. Every time that piggy bank reaches $100, it goes straight to your student loans. The app costs $1 a month, and you should download it right now.
Earn your tax credit and deduction
There are several tax credits available for student loans. The credits can increase your overall tax refund. Which just puts a little extra money towards your student loans.
The information on your tax credits will either come from your loan processor or your school, and it is super important. From there, you can use a tax prep app, like TurboTax, to do the work for you during tax season.
Debt = New work Benefit
If you’re in negotiations for a new job, and there are some reimbursement benefits on the table, see if you can make a deal that works for you.
If your company offers a stipend for the gym, say a $100 stipend, join a cheaper gym, and ask if they can write a check for the difference to your student loans instead. If your company offers to cover $150 worth of phone bills, choose a less expensive phone plan, and ask if your company can pay the difference to your student loans. You would be surprised to hear the flexibility that companies have when it comes to student debt.
I get it. It sucks to not be able to take your tax return and go wild. Or spend money on those desired items. But these steps can seriously make a dent in your student loan debt. And the upside to that is you get out of it faster.
Check out these inspiring stories about how other grads tackled their debt faster. In the end, you will have a higher credit score, a lighter load of responsibilities, and be a wiser individual.