Student loan debt causes major problems for today’s young singles and couples with college degrees. According to the Wall Street Journal, the average student carries a debt of a little more than $35,000. That’s a lot of money to pay back. Even when people find jobs right out of college, it is tough to learn how to adjust spending habits to pay back loans while living within their means.
What’s more, it can be nearly impossible for couples to save money for marriage between the monthly student loan payments, car payments and rent, and any other accumulating debt. As a result, if there isn’t enough money to get married, there won’t be enough money to buy a house and eventually start a family. Student loan debt leaves individuals and couples stranded on an island with little hope of rescue.
You are not alone in your student loan woes. In an article with Business Insider, Matthew Burr dealt with over $60,000 in debt, and shared the secrets to his success in paying off his student loan debt. He and thousands of other students around the country have found ways to make their debt payments work for their budgets, and you can too.
Changing your spending habits to budget for student loan payments can be a challenge. But instead of seeing your loans as an insurmountable mountain, here are a few ways you can challenge yourself to turn your spending habits into saving habits to help ease the loan debt.
Start making loan payments early.
When you graduate college, you have that six month grace period to find a job and make some money before the student loan payments begin. It’s tempting to leave those loans alone during that time, but even with the grace period, the interest on the loans continues to accumulate. Pay down some of the interest during the grace period to help decrease the amount of interest and the ultimate costs of your loans.
Pay more than once a month if you can.
If your monthly income allows for a little extra money to spare, you can make more than one monthly payment on your student loans. Another way to accomplish this is to pay more than the minimum on your monthly payments. Either option allows you to pay down your debt faster than by just paying the minimum payment every month.
Don’t run up debt on credit cards.
Having debt in more than one place can be stressful. Just like there is interest on student loans, there is interest on credit card debt. If you can avoid spending more than you can pay for on your credit card, you’ll save yourself the worries over the debt.
Live within your means.
Living within your means can be tough when there are so many tempting things out there. While you might want a new car, buying a used car is a great way to save money for loans and other debts that you would have spent on payments for a new car. Saving money where you can allows you to pay back more money on the loans. The more you pay, the sooner you can start living student loan debt free.
Set a monthly budget.
One thing that couples struggle with is not living within their means. They may not make enough money individually or together to afford the kind of lifestyle they lived when they were at home or in college. Keep a record of your expenses every month, and set a monthly budget based off of what you spend on. The more you understand your monetary influx, the better you will be at budgeting and saving money.
Debt can sometimes pile up and seem an insurmountable peak to overcome. Set goals for yourself for your payments and how you want to pay them off. When you pay off a loan, don’t forget to celebrate with a night on the town or a fancy dinner, because working hard to overcome debt deserves recognition.
Monitoring and changing spending habits to fit your loan payments and lifestyle will help you overcome your debt and learn to live more comfortably within your means.
Written by Stephanie Black, Journalist for Money on Your Terms