Everyone understands that the best way to pay off your student loans is to pay more than your minimum amount due every month. That’s kind of a given. But what if you are barely able to make the minimum payment, let alone pay extra? Here are five strategies to put your student debt behind you:
Refinancing is a great way to pay off your current loan and get a new loan at a lower interest rate, and there are lenders who have much lower interest rates than the federal student loan rate. Each lender will have their own individual requirements, and you should apply to multiple banks at the same time to maximize your chances of getting approved.
Apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness or Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness
Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs are available for students who meet the following criteria:
Currently have federal student loan debt
Are enrolled in a federal repayment plan
Are employed full-time in an eligible state, local or federal public service job or an eligible non-profit job
Who make 120 eligible on-time payments.
Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness is available for debtors who meet these requirements:
Are full-time teachers
Have five years of teaching experience in a selected school, either elementary or secondary.
Have five years of employment with in an educational service agency which serves students who belong to low-income families.
Use Extra Cash or “Found” Money
Next time you get a birthday check from grandma or find a dollar bill in your sock drawer, commit to setting it aside to pay down your loan. The same goes for your federal income tax return. Using your income tax return to pay down your loan could save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan and allow you to get out of debt sooner than you think. It's a financial move that makes sense in the long run.
Take on a Side Gig
There are hundreds of small side gigs to work at where you can make a little extra every month to pay down your debt. Apps like Field agent, Easyshift, and Gigwalk allow you to earn extra cash doing quick field inspections and audits at chain stores all over the country. You can do these jobs on your way to another event right from your cell phone and rake in a few extra bucks to set aside. Every little bit counts.