Your college education plays an impactful role in every aspect of your life. One of the biggest impacts it makes is on your financial life. A lot of times, it puts a damper on your good times. The same happened to me when I started college. I had big dreams and I wanted to enjoy my twenties to the fullest. However, it wasn’t as easy as it seemed. Having to pay the student loan on the top of other expenses made it difficult for me to save money, invest in a retirement plan or go on a vacation. Yes! You do need a degree to climb up the corporate ladder, but the cost makes it difficult to afford your normal living.
However, it didn’t stop me from setting financial goals and working toward achieving them. I had to get a job to make extra money and limit my expenses only to my basic necessities. I saved to travel and invest in a retirement plan. It did take a lot of effort but in the end, it was worth it. It made me realize with proper planning and a little devotion I can pay of my student loan debt while enjoying the things I love. So today I am going to discuss with you how I kept student loan from ruining my financial health. Let’s get into it.
Ways to successfully pay off your student loan while doing what you love
Managing your student loan is important to feel less stressed and organized. Take a look at the ways I followed to get back on track with my finances while trying to pay off my student loans.
1. Create a strict budget and stick to it
Three of the top categories responsible for causing the most of the financial stress include student loans, credit cards and housing expenses. For me, the first step to combating financial stress was to write down what I need to spend on a piece of paper. That took the majority of anxiety out of my financial life. I created a concrete budget and tried my very best to stick to it.
I understand the majority of the youngsters find budgeting bland and boring. However, it doesn’t have to be. You can choose a creative way to track your expenses and income. I personally prefer journaling. I create two columns to track my expenses and income. I used colored markers and stickers to track where all my money was going and which expenses are easy for me to cut back. It helped me to make better decisions and plan to save for my next vacation.
2. Be clear about your financial goals
Setting your financial goals is as important as creating your own budget. Honestly, in the beginning, I wasn’t sure where to start. A couple of YouTube tutorials later, I decided that I need to break my goals down into three categories namely annual goals, monthly goals, and weekly goals. I divided my annual goals into smaller goals to achieve them on a monthly and weekly basis.
I calculated my regular expense for the month to see what could be cut back. I decided on a budget and planned on not to exceed it. Once my budget was decided, I put aside the rest of my income to hit my goal every month.
3. Having an Accountability Partner helps
Accountability is important when it comes to managing your finances as a student. I found it hard to stick to my goals and needed someone to remind me not to overspend. I had a friend with similar goals as mine and we became each other’s, accountability partners. It helped both of us to adhere to healthy financial habits we had developed. While choosing an accountability partner, you need to look for someone you don’t have a problem sharing your financial history with. Choose someone you can trust. If you have some extra cash, you can always invest in a licensed money counselor or a budget coach for professional help. It will enable you to make better financial decisions.
4. Make a plan to pay off your debt
How long does it take for student loans to be paid off? For federal student loans, the traditional 10-year repayment plan works. However, for me, it didn’t. I choose other ways to pay off my student loan debt including:
- The debt avalanche or debt snowball method
- A debt consolidation loan
- Refinancing student loans
5. Keeping an eye out for discount offers
There are a few basic expenses that are inevitable. These include revamping your seasonal wardrobe. While I was a student, I relied heavily on coupons and promo codes to purchase my clothes and accessories for cheap. Coupons make student life easy. They helped me prepare for college with ease. I got everything I needed for my dorm at a discounted price. I learned shopping for college doesn’t have to be expensive. You just need to keep an eye out for the right options. Various brands offer exclusive student discount coupons. It made it cheap for me to shop for bedding, towels and appliances I needed for my dorm.
Student life is stressful and student loan debt makes it even harder. However, with careful planning from the very beginning, you cannot only pay off your debt, meet your regular expenses but what you can do when your student loan is paid off is live your life to the fullest. That’s my story about how I paid off my student debt without letting it ruin my financial health. I hope you find it helpful.