The American dream, as traditionally told, involved good schooling and a happy future. And, ostensibly, this is what is available to young Americans today. The pressure from the baby-boomers and Generation X on Millennials to attend college is tremendous. Sadly, the massive amounts of student debt that someone has after college makes many people resent ever having gone to college. And with their paychecks being poured straight back into repaying the debt, it can be a dispiriting time.
This article will be a rundown of some of the things to keep in mind if you’re in student debt.
First of all, make sure you know as much as you can about your loan type. Students get different kinds of loans with different kinds of post-college conditions. They may be something there that you can take advantage of. One that comes with many loan types in the grace period. After you graduate or stop attending college, a grace period will allow you some time in which you don’t have to pay back your student loan.
This sounds great, but you might not want to use it to sit back and pay nothing for a while. This break allows you time to come to grips with your loans and to make a long-term plan. If you can, you should start paying money towards that debt anyway. This reduces your loan, gets you off to a good start, and gets you into the habit you need. For example, if your grace period is a year and you loan payment will be $300 a month, then save that $300 every month. Use the $3600 you’ve accumulated at the end of the year to pay off some of your loan.
When you understand your loan, you’ll be better equipped to deal with it. You will know what your options are. If, in the long run, you find yourself struggling, then an understanding of your loan will help you get any relief or assistance you need. Things like Obama Student Loan Forgiveness may be right for you down the road. This is also known as the Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (or PAYE), a program that Barack Obama passed in December 2012.
In the meantime, you need to be extremely strict with yourself and your finances. Remember those college days where you would live off noodles and sleep on cheap furniture? People like to believe that once they’ve left college, the need for that lifestyle is over. Sadly, it’s not; you still have to be saving as much money as possible. That ascetic, frugal lifestyle is vital for now. We don’t want to encourage you to eat noodles only – fresh fruit and vegetables are also cheap! – but you may want to hold off of luxuries for the time being.
Once you’ve got a job, you have to go all in. Look for opportunities for overtime and extra shifts to get more money and experience, as well as a strong reputation with your employer. Always be on the lookout for higher paying jobs. Apply to them even if you’re not sure you’ll get them.
Don’t let yourself come to regret going to college. Get to grips with your debt and work at it as soon as you can.
Recommended reading: More tips about money matters