Graduation!... and Student Loans?!

In less than two months I will be graduating college! I can’t believe how fast time as gone. The thought of graduating is very ‘bittersweet.’ I think the ‘sweet’ part is to finally use the education and skills I have learned through those long hours of class and homework.

I am excited and earnest to head into the workforce and start to make a living. Yet, I also have a ‘bitter’ feeling as I will be leaving behind my flexible college schedule, social life, and most of all… I will have to start paying off my school loans.It was just the other day I was hit with the finally bill of my short four years of college. The initial response is shock of how much the bill can accumulate in four years. My emotions quickly changed to fear, “How am I going to pay this off?!”

Through conversations with others, I was reminded that I am not alone. There have been many before me and many after me who will go through the same process. Even though the paying off loans is somewhat painful, it is very doable. You just have to be mindful and commit yourself to paying them off as soon as you can. I actually came across 5 helpful tips to pay off those loans once you graduate. This may mean you have to limit yourself in other areas, but it’s for a short time and will be well worth it!

1.       Create a Budget!

It is so important to keep track of where you money is going. Reserve a slot of time every two weeks or for sure every month to check in on how you are doing with your budget. It is easy to lose track, but you will be grateful you stayed on top of it!

2.       Sell?

Yes, sell! It seems like at the end of each school year when it’s time to move again, you are amazing by how much have way more stuff you have compared to when you first moved in.  It is so easy to accumulate stuff over those four years. Take the time to go through it all and re-evaluate what things you actually need. Use Craig’s list, eBay, or bring your stuff into a consignment store. You may be surprised how much you can make by selling the stuff that is only taking up space.

3.       Don’t buy a new car

This one is a bit of a downer. After all that hard work of school you deserve a new car, I know! Yet, it is best to postpone it as long as you can. A new car means more monthly loan payments. The longer you can wait, the more money you can funnel towards your school loans, which results in getting those paid off faster. Less fun, but worth it!

4.       Always be on the lookout for ways to save

There are always ways to save money. As college students, we should already be pro’s at this. It is again about being mindful. Some examples would be carpooling, couponing, and eating more home cooked meals. This takes some effort, but each dollar saved gets you that much closer to being debit free.

5.       Stay Focused but Positive

In order to achieve your goal in the least amount of time possible, you will have to stay focused and limit yourself with some things. Yet, remember this is not forever! College is a good investment and it is worth the time to pay off the loans now. Keep looking to the end goal. Just think how great it will feel to be student debt free!