Today’s college graduate leaves school with student loan arrears of about $ 35,000. This is a heavy financial burden, especially in those first few years that do not attend school.
You may want to aggressively pay off your loans, but you do not want to celebrate your birthday with a cup of ramen noodles.
How do you keep the right balance between paying your debt and still living a full life?
Try these five tips to keep your sanity when paying off student loans.
1. Stay in balance
The key to managing your finances is learning how to balance the seemingly endless priorities competing for your limited income.
In the short term, you need to make sure that you are full, dressed and relatively happy. You may not be able to live a high life, but, at a minimum, you want life to be satisfactory and even a little fun (see Tip # 3).
Developing a monthly budget helps. First, write down how much you spend on essential items, such as rent, food, and utilities. Learn how to minimize these categories as much as possible (for example, take a roommate or unsubscribe from cable television).
Then add categories for long-term financial goals, such as accumulating emergency savings, saving for retirement, and paying off student loans. You may not be able to add a ton to these categories right now, but every little thing helps.
Finally, any remaining money can go to discretionary goods, such as restaurants, entertainment, and decorations.
It’s great to want to aggressively pay off your student loans. Creating a budget and then playing with numbers is a great way to make sure your money works as hard as possible.
2. Do not save on important things.
There is thrift, and then stinginess.
Sometimes the lowest price is not the best solution. For example, eating ramen noodles can be beneficial to your budget, but neglecting your health is a choice that can haunt you again, both physically and financially. Fresh fruits and vegetables can help you save on future medical bills. You will also have the energy to shine at your work and earn this boost.
The cheapest is not always the best. Saving on insurance, medical care and car repairs will hurt your budget (and you) in the long run. Be humble, but be wise in it.
3. Avoid all frugality and without pleasure.
Although, as a rule, it is better to make healthy choices, but sometimes you can “pamper” yourself to keep you motivated.
When you feel that you are depriving yourself, you are more likely to become frustrated, which can lead to a lot of ruin. Create a room in your budget for a mini spray.
Yes, you might want to reduce the number of meals to a minimum so you can spend more money on student loans, but you can afford to drink coffee from time to time or have lunch with friends. This can really help you stick to your budget in the long run.
4. Imagine the future
Despite the fact that you are still young and indifferent – no mortgage, no family to support you – you can live with a limited budget. However, further cost reductions may not be so easy.
The more you spend the student loan balance now, the more money you have to pay for such expensive things as a wedding or a down payment on a house.
Keep this motivation in mind when you make a financial choice. Of course, this luxury apartment now looks great, but moving to a smaller place can help you save a few hundred dollars every month. This can help you pay off your student loans a few years earlier and move on to other goals much faster.
If you start to feel frustrated with a modest life, paying loans, remember the big picture. Every dollar you can spend on student loans gives you more freedom in the future.
5. Protect your non-negotiable
However, do not live so far in the future that you neglect the present moment. Choose a few favorite activities that you include in your budget, regardless of the balance of your student loan.
Maybe you like to ski or snowboard. Several of your friends are organizing an annual trip to the mountains, which is one of your favorite memories. Do not sacrifice it on the student loan repayment altar. Enjoy these trips, even if it means that you can pay a minimum of your student loans for a month or two.
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