Student loans are one of the hottest topics in the United States right now and a common source of financial hardship. For a while, it was expected that President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program would kick in and many would have to worry about their student loan payments. But now loan repayments are back in full swing.
If you can’t pay your student loans, you’re probably not alone. Between rent, insurance, and all your other bills, sometimes there simply isn’t enough money left over for your student loans.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who’s burdened by student loan debt and can’t afford your monthly payments, you’ve come to the right place. This article looks at eight practical ways to help you maximize your savings so that you can make those pesky loan payments.
Try the Following If You Can’t Pay Student Loans
These tips are great for anyone on a graduated or standard repayment plan, but especially for those who don’t qualify for income-driven repayment plans, student loan deferment or forbearance, public service loan forgiveness, or a revised pay-as-you-earn repayment plan.
Cut Daily Costs
The first and most practical way to afford your monthly loan payments is to cut costs in other areas. That could mean eliminating your daily grande mocha latte from Starbucks or watching the new Marvel movie at home rather than in a theater.
Essentially, cutting daily costs means doing things such as making coffee at home or buying your groceries at Aldi or Walmart rather than at Whole Foods.
Cutting daily costs also means fewer shopping sprees or late-night purchases on Amazon.
Find a Side Hustle
Another great way to afford your monthly payments is to increase your income with a side hustle or part-time gig.
Thanks to the prevalence of online work and similar opportunities, side hustles are more popular than they’ve ever been. You can do anything from delivering groceries with Shipt or Instacart to delivering food with DoorDash or Grubhub.
You can also use skills from your day job to start freelancing on the side. Job sites such as Upwork and Fiverr, for example, list thousands of freelance gigs requiring skills such as writing, marketing, social media management, screenwriting, and much more.
There are also more labor-intensive side hustles, such as mowing lawns, cleaning houses, and assembling IKEA furniture.
Another great tip if you want to save money is to shop smarter. Shopping smarter means looking for sales and using coupons to purchase anything from groceries to clothing and everything in between.
Shopping smarter could also mean signing up for loyalty and rewards programs or purchasing things at a thrift store.
Cook at Home
Anyone who has a budget or tracks their spending knows that eating out is getting more expensive than ever. As such, preparing your food at home and eating out less is a great way to save money so that you can afford your loan payments.
It’s important to note that cooking at home more often doesn’t mean you can never eat out. Instead, you should change the way you think about eating out and view it as a special, occasional treat rather than an everyday thing.
Cash Back and Rewards Programs
While you can certainly cut back on your spending, you won’t be able to eliminate it altogether.
You still need to purchase groceries and clothing and make essential payments. Therefore, if you’re going to have to spend money anyway, you might as well join a rewards program so you can earn points and cash back when you do.
Many credit card companies, for instance, offer points and rewards when you use their card to make purchases and payments.
You can also do this with cellular apps, making rewards programs a great way to earn back some of your money as you spend it.
As many savings-savvy individuals know, people spend way more on their monthly subscriptions than they realize. Whether it’s your gym membership, Netflix, or a monthly meal, magazine, or newspaper plan, monthly subscriptions can be absolutely killer on the budget!
That’s why it’s a good idea to evaluate each of your subscriptions and see if there are ones you can cut out.
There’s also a chance that you can share or split subscription costs with friends and family, as is the case with streaming services, your internet plan, and others.
Refinance Student Loans
Most of the methods we’ve looked at so far are practical ways to save money so that you can stick to your student loan repayment plan. But in addition to being practical, hard-working, and stingy, you may also have the chance to refinance your student loan debt.
Refinancing can be a great option, especially if you’re on a standard or graduated repayment plan and your rate is set to increase soon.
Refinancing your student loan debt is where you take your federal student loans and sell them to a third-party lender. The lender then pays off the original loan servicer and you start to make payments to the new lender rather than the old one.
Refinancing your student loans is a great option if you have a high interest rate, multiple loans, or bad repayment terms. This process allows you to merge all your student loans into a single payment with a lower interest rate and choose extended payment plans with a longer payout period.
Refinancing with Credit & Debt Partners
If you decide that refinancing is the right route for you, using Credit & Debt options is the way to go.
Credit & Debt helps you find the third-party lender offering the best interest rate, payment plan, and terms and conditions.
Here’s what you need to know about refinancing:
- Comparing pre-qualified rates is 100% free.
- In just a few minutes you can check pre-qualified rates from multiple lenders and choose the best one.
- Credit & Debt partners with third parties to help you refinance private loans in addition to federal and parent PLUS loans.
Consolidate Multiple Loans
Direct consolidation loans are similar to refinancing in the sense that you’re taking multiple loans and combining them into a single payment. The main difference is that consolidation isn’t available for private loans, just federal ones.
On top of making it easier to keep track of and repay your student loans, debt consolidation also offers more favorable repayment terms. For instance, you can increase your repayment period up to 30 years rather than having to pay them back in 10 to 20. This will likely decrease your monthly payments but not necessarily your interest rate or the overall payment.Credit & Debt financial coaches are standing by, ready to assist you with questions or concerns you might have about debt consolidation.
The Bottom Line About Repaying Student Loans
As you can see, there are plenty of great ways to cut your costs so that you can make your monthly student loan payments. While many of these methods require sacrifice and hard work on your part, it can be a small price to pay for financial freedom.
In addition to hard work and sacrifice, student loan refinancing or debt consolidation are also great options. Refinancing and loan consolidation can significantly reduce your monthly payments, decrease your interest rate, and provide a more favorable repayment period.
Get started for free with Credit & Debt if you think refinancing or consolidation is the right option for you.
Credit & Debt does not provide debt relief or loans and is not a lender. A Credit & Debt coach will guide you through a free financial evaluation, help you understand your options and connect you with a qualified partner.