Should I Pay Off My Student Loans Now?
Am I the only one that put my student loan payments on pause for a second? Before I start this, I want y'all to know that I have full intentions on paying back my debts. Just not at this exact moment. Upon graduation I had a balance at my university, medical bills, and a credit card that I needed to clear. So my first priority went to those, because I wanted to get those off my credit report. These loans/balances were going to take a lot less time to settle than my school loans.
"Even if you can only make the minimum payment, it's the responsible thing to do. My monthly payment is equivalent to about two new pairs of shoes a month and it hurts but it’s worth it." - Imani, Detroit
I approach my credit summary a bit differently. I attack balances that I know I can clear quickly. I paid off my medical bills, university balance, and credit card balance in a years time. I communicate with my student loan agencies, and we both are on the same page about my student loan repayment plan. Often time, student loans situations get messy when you ignore it. Be honest with yourself, your budget, and your loan agency. Create a financial plan, and work it! I plan to start paying back my loans January of 2017, according to my "financial management plan". But trust me, I'm not in any rush!
Am I the only one who feels like paying on your student loans makes budgeting your money that much more stressful? It's one of those adult responsibilities that we all have to do but hate doing. Every month after I budget my money and pay all of my bills I instantly cringe at the thought of still having to also set money aside for my loan payments. Honestly, I'm trying to change the world and I can't do that if I'm low on cash! Still, we all know how imperative it is to keep up with those payments. Here are a few techniques that have helped me keep my debt low and stay on track with my payments:
Make Payments While You Are Still In Academia. Whether it's a subsidized or unsubsidized loan, making payments while you are in school will help lower your total debt before you graduate. Even if it's just $30 or $50 a month, every little bit counts. I made payments during my grad program and it helped lower my total debt before I graduated, which is when my loan would begin to gain interest. That made a big difference in the amount that I now owe.
"It's damn near forever debt but paying on it doesn't mess up your credit. I would stop spending money on less important things just to be sure that my student loans are paid." - Ali, D.C.
Request Income Based Payment. When the time comes for you to start making payments on your loan, your loan officer will send you a suggested amount for your monthly payment. If that amount is not feasible for your budget you can always request an income based schedule, where you can make payments based on your current salary/income.
Pay What You Can. I've heard from numerous sources that your loan officer will accept any amount of payment you are able to make. If it's been a tight month financially, explain that to your loan officer and let them know that you are unable to make your usual amount but you are willing to submit what you can. Student loans can be a debt that lasts a long time and it doesn't help if your stressing about making a payment, so pay what you can.
How do you make paying on your loans easier?