If you’re currently in college, chances are that you’re accumulating student loan debt. While student loan debt may be the furthest thing from your mind while attending college, once you graduate and those student loans become a reality, student loan debt will likely be something that you think about much more often. For most of students, student loan debt is a necessary evil… but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be doing everything in your power to borrow responsibly, and minimize the impact of our student loan debt. Below are 5 simple tips to help minimize your student loan debt.
1. Save Your Money
This is the oldest one in the book, but is often the most overlooked. If you know that you will be wanting to attend college, start socking it away as soon as you can! You may not be able to pay for your college tuition in full, but every little bit you have saved, is money you do not have to borrow and pay back with interest. There are a range of different ways to save and invest money for college.
2. Get to Work
Any college undergrad program is generally never too demanding to not have a part-time job. In fact, many students hold down full-time jobs while attending college. There are some exceptions for med school, and certain graduate level programs, but aside from those, there really is no reason to not work while attending college.
3. Utilize Free Money Options
If you are not taking advantage of scholarships or grants, or have yet to even apply for any, you could be missing out on free money for your college education. Some students think that they will not qualify for any scholarships, or that the amount awarded is too little to make it worth the time, but the truth is, it’s very worth it. There are so many different scholarships out there, you are bound to find a few that you can apply for. The money you receive from scholarships is free money, you didn’t have to work for it, and you don’t have to pay it back.
4. Federal Loans over Private Loans
If you have to take out student loans, why not take out the least expensive student loans? Every year many college students obtain private student loans before even filing FAFSA. If you do not file FAFSA, you cannot receive federal student loans. Federal student loans offer better terms, rates, and repayment options (compared to private student loans), so make certain to file a FAFSA.
5. Borrow and Spend Responsibly
Only borrow what you absolutely need, and do not spend money on things you cannot afford. Money that you take out in the form of student loans will have to be paid back with interest, so do not take out a huge private student loan and spend it recklessly. Borrow only what you need for college expenses and not a penny more, this is such a simple way to reduce your student loan debt. Refrain from using credit cards while in college. Fund your extra curricular activities with money you earn from a pat-time job. Credit card debt will only get in the way of paying down what student loan debt you do accumulate.