Instead of looking for ways to pay off your student loans faster, focus on the habits that prevent you from doing it.
Years ago I was stuck with over 10k in student loans that I took out to attend ITT Tech to study something I didn’t even end up doing. This really made me unhappy and stress, as I was desperately looking for ways to get rid of this debt and the debt, seemed to go nowhere.
Until I met a successful restaurant business owner while I was working for him. We became friends unconsciously just making jokes playing around he seemed to truly care about other people.
Then one day I approached him and asked him How do you keep making money and avoid debt? I see you have all these nice things, he responded with this ” I try to avoid being unsuccessful by avoiding the bad habits people with debt have” I didn’t know what habits exactly he was talking about but I knew he was right.
I started paying attention to my friends and things that prevent me from reaching my goals and paying off my debt.
Here’s what I discovered to be the 5 bad habits I had and if you feel familiar with any of these habits it’s time to reevaluate, reflect, and take action.
I was a total disaster I didn’t know exactly how many loans I had or anything about them. Even if you are not the most organized person a spreadsheet on google sheets o excel could help you a lot to organize your student loans or any debt you have.
Start by finding out how much in student loan debt you are, write down in the google sheet the total balance, loan status, type of loan or debt, interest rates, deadlines, and minimum monthly payments.
You can get your debt details in a few ways:
- Log into your lender’s online account management system.
- Find your most recent account statements.
- Contact your lender by phone.
If you feel like you have lost track of all your loans, get to work to find them. Get your free credit report, then check for debts and accounts you might have missed. You can also visit the National Student Loan Data System to find any student loans that have fallen off your radar.
Download this student loan organizer sheet I created for you Here.
This is one that we both can relate, saying we are going to take care of this tomorrow but we never do it.
Never delay actions on paying your debt, if we keep saying tomorrow chances are we will end up with a bigger debt more difficult to keep up.
Once you set your goal to pay off your student loans work on it now and not later.
3. Spending Time With The Wrong People
We know the saying “keep your circle small” sometimes it’s necessary to ask yourself if the people you spend time are helping you bring the best of you or they are just bringing out your worst tendencies.
For example, if you have a goal to pay off a student loan in the next couple of months and your friends keep telling you to go out and party with them, is this going to help you? No, it will just make you overspend and not allowing you to pay that extra money you were thinking of paying on your next monthly payment.
4. Lazy to Research
If you have a federal student loan, you can read on the different income-based repayment plans the Department of Education offers to help determine which student loan repayment option is right for you depending on your financial situation.
If you have a private student loan, then you need to know who owns your debt right as of today. Oftentimes you take out a loan with a large private student loan servicer such as Navient or National Collegiate Student Loan Trust and they later hand that debt over to another entity to collect on the debt. Problems arise when you ignore letters or bills from this new entity, as you do still owe the student loan debt.
Set up an automatic direct debit from your checking account to make the monthly payments on your loans. Borrowers with auto-debit are much less likely to miss a payment.
Many lenders offer discounts for borrowers who set up auto-debit. Federal loans offer a 0.25% interest rate reduction while private student loans often offer a 0.25% or 0.50% interest rate reduction for the remainder of the repayment period. Some lenders will require electronic billing to get the discount.
Student loans do not have prepayment penalties. (You are not penalized if you pay off your student loan in one large lump sum or make more than the minimum payment) Making an extra payment can save you money. After you make the required payments, direct any extra money toward accelerating repayment of the most expensive debt first.
The most expensive debt is the debt with the highest interest rate, not the lowest monthly payment. Usually, this is credit card debt and private student loans. Paying an extra $100 on a 10% loan is like earning 10% interest, tax-free, and may save you more than $200 over the life of the loan depending on the type of loan.
Refinance, for many graduates, refinancing can be a great opportunity to help with loan payments. First, you have to ask yourself why you are refinancing. Do you want to lower your interest rate, or would you like a longer term to lower your payments?
Once you have determined why you want to refinance, I would recommend reviewing your credit report. You can get your credit report for free by using Credit Sesame. If there are any discrepancies in the report, dispute them. This could improve your score and, in turn, improve the terms of the loan.
5. Giving Up
Don’t give up I know it feels like a long journey at some point we create this idea of not caring about this like is whatever I just forget about it and continue with my life anyways I will not need my credit.
This idea can set you up in a bigger trap, wage garnishment dealing with debt collectors calls. So, don’t give up take immediate action to lower your living expense, so you have more money to put towards your student loan payments.