Sick of cutting down on things you love to afford your student loan payments? Feel like you’re not making progress on your debt? It’s easy to feel stuck dealing with the same student loan debt payment month after month – a couple hundred bucks out of your checking account, and only a couple hundred bucks less in debt. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re willing to exercise a little creativity, you can cut down your debt much faster without living off ramen noodles.
Here are a few unconventional strategies that can help you pay back and manage your student loans:
1) Do some good
If you’re interested in serving others, you may consider a career in public service – a job choice that could help you get your student loans forgiven. Federal student loan borrowers with public sector jobs could have a lot of debt wiped away through the Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. If you’re a full-time public service employee (think government, non-profit or military) you may be able to qualify for forgiveness. This can include jobs in law enforcement, public school administration and public health.
2) Get your employer to foot the bill
More and more employers are recognizing the impact that student loans have on their young employees. Consider asking your employer if they would be willing to include student loan repayment reimbursement as part of your benefits package. They may be willing to reimburse your student loan debt in exchange for other professional development funds that you have access to. Even if your employer doesn’t offer you a tuition reimbursement program, consider using extra money from your job – like bonuses or raises – toward paying back your student loan debt faster.
3) Pick jobs that are in demand and that will help you pay down your debt
Some jobs are better than others, especially when it comes to your student loans. For example, professions like nurses and teachers may be able to take advantage of special state student loan forgiveness programs. Governments and states want to attract candidates for jobs that are in-demand, so they may have programs that will let you follow the career of your dreams without as much debt.
4) Move somewhere cheap
One of the biggest expenses you have in your post-college life? Rent. While it may seem tempting to spend your paycheck on a big place of your own, living frugally and somewhere affordable is the best way to save money – money that could be directed to paying off your student loans. Consider getting a roommate or moving further from the city to save money.
5) Take advantage at tax time
If you’re paying back student loans, you’re also paying back a portion of the interest that’s accumulated on your loans – and that means you can get a pretty nice tax break from the Federal Government. When you file your taxes, you’ll be able to deduct the interest you’ve paid on qualified student loans – up to $4,000 for tuition and other related fees. The American Opportunity Tax Credit also lets you claim up to $2,500 for qualified higher education expenses.
6) Use a student loan payment tracker, like Student Loan Hero
If you’re serious about repaying your student loan debt, you’ll need to track your progress. Websites like Student Loan Hero not only let you track your progress and motivate you to pay off your debt, but they can help you find repayment plans, such as private and federal student loan refinancing that could save you money in the long run, too.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 17, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/17/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.49% effective March 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.50% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 7.12%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.81% – 8.79%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.55% – 7.12%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.00% – 9.74%6||Undergrad & Graduate|