Advice For Paying Off Student Loans – From Someone Who’s Been There!

paying off student loans


There’s a vital but often overlooked strategy when it comes to paying off student loans – or any debt for that matter.

We all try to function within our salaries and budgets, but what if that number wasn’t as set in stone as you think? For most people there are opportunities to negotiate for a better salary – it’s not that we aren’t worth more, we just fail to ask!

Paying Off Student Loans

Graduating with student loans?

This is hands-down the most overlooked but most effective strategy when it comes to finding extra money to pay off debt. I always ask for more: a raise at work, a higher starting salary at a new job, and even fees on my credit card. Of course, I also spend hours researching and preparing my request with facts and figures. But more importantly, I went into these conversations with confidence. With just a few hours of research and some rehearsal in front of the bathroom mirror, I was able to get a significant raise at my previous job, negotiate my starting salary at my new job, and waive late charges, fines and annual fees from my credit cards and bank accounts.

How much did I earn just by asking over the last 4 years?


That is not an exaggeration. And this doesn’t even include the few hundred dollars I’ve saved in credit card and bank account fees. Can you imagine what you could do to your debt if you had an extra $13K? That’s a good feeling


Psychologically, this was my most important step. The biggest motivation for me came from publicly declaring my debt goal online. After posting a YouTube video about my debt story, I got comment after comment asking how I was doing and if I was debt free yet. I felt accountable to reach my goal, even to complete strangers!

So if you want to turn your finances around, find a way to declare your intentions and announce it to the world. Tell your family, friends and dog that you’re going to tackle your debt once and for all and you need their help staying accountable.

It also helped me to set a timeline. By announcing in March that I was going to pay off all of my debt by the end of the year, I knew I had to get an aggressive jump start on my payments.
– via The Empowered Dollar

Loan Repayment Tips

Ready to get a better handle on your loan repayment? It gets old fast, having student loans breathing down your neck, but the payment process doesn’t have to last as long as you might think. You can start getting real traction on paying off student loans with a little help from someone who has been there before and knows the way out.

The advice below comes from someone who understands the ins and outs of getting debt paid off faster and easier than the loan suppliers would like you to think. Each step is simple on its own, but these small changes can add up to a HUGE difference down the line.

When Matthew Burr finished his master’s degree in 2011, he figured he owed about $50,000.

But he was in for a surprise. “The number was almost $15,000 more than I’d previously estimated,” he remembers.

In 2012, he managed to repay more than $42,000. The next year he paid off nearly $27,000, and finally, this year, he paid back the remaining $5,000.

Matthew’s Tips

Don’t ignore the debt. “Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it will magically be repaid for you,” cautions Burr.

Read the fine print and know the repayment guidelines. “I read through my grad school loans after the fact and owed nearly $15,000 more than I expected,” he recalls. “You need to know when your payments are due, how much the minimum payment is, and how much you plan to pay each month before you sign.”

Start paying immediately. If you can, don’t wait for the six-month grace period to end to make payments, advises Burr. “As soon as I got my first check, I made a payment. You’ll pay less interest if you start making payments in a hurry, and it gets you into a routine. If you’re disciplined up front, you’ll be far ahead of everybody else.”

Live well below your means. “When I got out of grad school, I basically doubled my salary. I’d never had that kind of income before, but I put the extra towards my loans,” he says. “Debt is stress, and when you don’t have it, it’s one less thing you have to worry about.”

Don’t carry balances on credit cards. “The interest on credit cards will get you, too,” says Burr. “You need all your money to spend on student loans, so you shouldn’t be spending on credit card interest.”

Learn to negotiate. “This could mean salaries, sign on bonuses, relocation, or lower interest rates,” Burr says. “I negotiated my salary and sign on bonus and bumped them up a couple thousand dollars, then was able to put my bonus and relocation straight to my loans.”

Take advantage of discounts. There are potential discounts for repayment, automatic monthly deductions, and loan consolidation. “Simply signing up for automatic deductions — saying they could take the money straight from my bank account once a month — got me a discount of 0.25%,” Burr remembers.
– via Business Insider

How are you chipping away at your old student debt?

Leave a Comment