Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Student Loan debt - It keeps going and going and going...

Student loans are horrible. They follow you from college until, well until you let them! I've heard horror stories, stories about people who don't pay them off until they're in their 40's. There's nothing wrong with waiting to pay them off if thats what you have to do, but sometimes people with student loan debt just spend spend spend until its too late...and their interest has wracked up, and their principal hasn't gone down in years. Its a scary thing, especially because by the time you are mature enough and old enough to realize how much you've spent in school, you are faced with a monstrous bill reminder at the end of every month.  If you pay the minimum due, you're paying interest and not very much on your principal. If you pay the interest and extra so that you're paying down your principal, rent might not be paid that month. While college and education are invaluable I spent way too much on things I shouldn't have. Its a scary situation. I spent way too much in college, decorating my dorm, or my apartment room or on whatever else before I really had time to understand the value of what I was spending money on. Now I am focused, I'm on a plan, a countdown to 0$ in student loan debt. I loved going to school and learning and being a student but I'm determined to clear old student loan debt! Some of the ways that I can and you can work towards lowering your student loan debt is to:

1- If you are just entering college or in college now, get the minimum student loan that you can! Work a part time job so that you can pay for other things that you need. Think twice about decorating your dorm with expensive furniture/objects and go to IKEA.

2- Make inexpensive handmade holiday and birthday gifts for friends and family.

3- Make your own meals at home. Invest in lunch containers to take lunch to go when you are out of your apartment or house.

4- If you do not have a computer in your dorm or apartment, use the computer at your public library or at your university. In NYC there are great Internet Cafe's where you can use the internet for a pretty low price.
Here are a few:

ING Direct Internet Cafe
968 3rd Avenue, New York, NY

(212) 752-8432

Little Skips
941 Willoughby Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11221
(718) 484-0980

5- Instead of shopping a fancy stores that charge an arm and a leg, try a thrift store or a consignment shop! Sometimes they have great buys with cuter stuff than whats at the Gap or Banana Republic.

6- Instead of buying books at a bookstore, head to the library or go to a Barnes and Nobles and spend the day studying! This saves a bunch! I remember in college me and one of my best friends used to go to B&N and just spend so many hours there. I think it actually helped the studying because we were around so many books! :)

7- Make paying off your debt fun! Making yourself a reminder of how much you are borrowing in student loans is a great idea to help paying down debt fun. I think this helps alot. Its easy to spend and spend and forget about how much debt is accumulating. If you are out of school and paying off student loan debt, its a great idea to keep a ticker, like a little countdown that will go down everytime you make a payment. I have to tell you it feels wonderful whenever I make a payment and I can see the amount going lower!

8- If you are having alot of trouble paying off student loans, you can contact your student loan provider and ask about income based repayment, which bases your payments on the amount you receive in income. Its a great way to get through tough times.

Good Luck paying off your student loans! Do you have any special ways that help you pay off student debt? Please leave them in your comment!


  1. I should print this up and hang on to it for when my kids to college. They will definitely be using student loans!

  2. Such great advice for soon to be college kids! My only big tip is the meal plans schools offer. I really studied them to see which would fill my belly without taking too much $$$. Kept my grocery store visits to a bare minimum. Oh, and taking a big bag to the caf to squirrel away an extra box of cereal or piece of fruit ;-)

  3. Yeah I dream of paying it off maybe the time I'm 40... it will probably be done closer to 60! and I'm totally not kidding. the total is exhorbitant and the breaking the bank payment i make is SERIOUSLY never going to help.

  4. Very good advice! Oh man I hate student loans. I was paying on my ones from my undergrad program for part of this year. Now that I'm in grad school those loans have been deferred. My goal now is to work, save and pay as much as I can in this next year. It's such a good feeling to get debt paid off!!

    Another tip too is to only take the loan amount that you really need. I was allowed to take about 18k for my grad program but I only needed the amount for tuition. So I only took out part of the subsidized loan (was given about 8k in that loan but only needed 6k for the school year). Subsidized loans are so much better-- keeps the interest from accuring while you're in school. :)


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