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The question an entire generation is asking is “How can I pay off my student loans quickly?” It’s a good question since we’re pretty much all drowning in debt. If you know anything about me, or if you’ve been following Accidentally Adulting for a while, then you know I went to law school. That means I also went to college. Which basically means student loans and I are no strangers to one another.
I took out private student loans to pay for college. The interest rates were CRAZY. But I knew absolutely nothing about finances, and the long term implications of high interest rates. For law school I ended up getting lucky and got a full scholarship. However, my law school is in Boston. So although I didn’t have to pay for school, I did have to take out student loans to cover the cost of living. You guys, that’s even with a job. Living in Boston is NOT cheap.
As you know, after graduating all of those loans came knocking. The amount of interest that accrued during deferment was just…unreal. So naturally, my monthly payments were insane.
Have you noticed I’m speaking in the past tense? Yup! Thanks to a whole lot of research I was able to CUT MY PAYMENTS IN HALF. And due to this I was able to pay off some of my smaller loans. I’ve still got a long way to go but I’ve already eliminated 3 years of payments!
CHECK YOUR CREDIT SCORE
It’s going to be pretty difficult to implement some of these tips and tricks without a good credit score. So it’s super important to check it. You’ve probably heard that checking your credit score a lot could hurt it. That isn’t necessarily the case. It only hurts your score when you’re getting credit checks for things like getting a credit card, getting approved for a home, apartment or car loan. When you do those kind of credit inquiries often you can see your score dip.
However, staying on top of your credit score is totally fine. I personally use Credit Karma to check my score (they are not sponsoring this is). First Credit Karma is free. So that’s pretty awesome. But most importantly it highlights your issues. So let’s say that you have a score that you’re not so happy with. The website has a section where it breaks down the reasons why your credit score is what it is. It shows any late payments you may have, it itemizes the debt you have. It also provides recommendations to improve your credit.
So definitely check them out! They are a huge help!
- It explains why your score may be low.
- It explains how you can improve your score.
- It also recommends low interest credit cards (which if used correctly can boost your credit quickly).
- It doesn’t use the scores reported on all the bureaus. So your score can be off by a few points.
The one thing that helped me sooooo much was consolidating my student loans. Like I said before my monthly payments were off the wall, and my interest rates were just as crazy. My most insane student loans were the private student loans I took out in college. Those interest rates were between 8 and 10 percent. Honestly, most of my paychecks went directly to those two loans. I was so frustrated.
My boyfriend actually used SoFi to refinance his private student loans years ago. His monthly payments decreased by $300, and his interest rates dropped too. The best part is, after refinancing you get a month or two where you don’t have to make any payments. So OBVIOUSLY, I jumped on this opportunity.
This is where having a solid credit score is important. You do have to do a credit check in order to be approved. So make sure your credit is on point. I was approved for refinancing, and it has been amazing!
- I only have to pay one person a month for all of my student loans.
- My total monthly payments decreased by $450.
- My interest rates were essentially cut in half.
- My favorite: the period when I didn’t have to pay allowed me to put a bunch of money into my savings.
- You do need (at the very least) an okay credit score.
- If you have a temporary (temp) job you will not be approved. (Read my post: How to go from Temp to Perm)
Investing is something that I wish I cared about, or knew anything about way earlier in my life. The first time I really looked into it was when my boyfriend (he’s really awesome with his money. It’s super inspiring and intimidating lol) purchased BitCoin. Now he’s been buying Bitcoin for a few years. When he first purchased BitCoin they were like $20 a pop. Last week they were going for about $5,000. Which is absolute insanity. Just like any investment the prices will rise and fall. I’m personally waiting for them to go back down to like $100, before I make any purchases.
This is just one example of how you can invest your money. There are so many other ways, and products that you can invest in. Investment options are so vast that it really would require it’s own post. So if you’d like more options let me know in the comments and I’ll definitely do an entire post about it.
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My final piece of advice: use the money that you’re saving and apply it to your smallest debt. This is known as the snowball method. Again, I learned this from my boyfriend. The monthly amount that I saved from consolidating my student loans did not go into my savings account. And I didn’t use it to buy clothes…even though I really wanted to. I decided to keep my eyes on the prize.
At that time I was paying about $100 per month to my credit card. The first thing I did was to temporarily stop using my credit card. Then I applied the $450 I was saving from the consolidation and applied to my monthly credit card bill in addition to the $100 I was already paying. This allowed me to eliminate the balance on my credit card in only 3 months. Then I took that money (a total of $550) and applied it to my smallest government loan. I was able to pay that loan off in only 6 months. I plan to continue snowballing payments until I’m debt free.
The Pros of this method are obvious, and there really are no cons.
Have you paid off any loans? Do you have any tips/tricks for paying down debt quickly? Let me know in the comments below!