$28,400 is the average amount of debt racked up by college graduates, according to a study from lendedu.com. Student debt is a major burden for young professionals. Whether you recently received your master’s degree, or are still paying off your bachelor’s degree from years ago, here are four different strategies to help reduce your debt burden.
1. Make Your Payments Twice a Month
If you get paid every other week, set aside a little cash from each paycheck to go towards your student debt. You can make two half payments to equal one full monthly payment. This will make paying off your debt less of a burden as you’ll be contributing to it throughout the month, not just when all of your other bills are due.
2. Enroll in an IBR Program
If you owe mostly federal student loan payments, then this option is for you. An Income Based Repayment (IBR) program allows you to make payments based on your current income. Qualifications are based on your outstanding loan amount, your current income, and family size. The Department of Education has a tool where you can add your own variables to see if you qualify.
3. Take on Volunteer Opportunities
If you are not currently employed in a full-time job, some organizations may offer volunteers some student loan forgiveness. SponsorChange allows you to look for organizations based on a specific cause, and allows you to search for opportunities and see upfront how much student loan pay is available.
4. Look at Your Current Cost of Living
While you should be able to treat yourself to the things you like every once in awhile, are you treating yourself a little too much? For example, if you buy a gourmet coffee that costs $3 every day on your way to work, that’s $15 a week. This would cost you around $780 a year. See where you are spending too much money, and look at ways you can cut back to pay off your debt.
One last tip: If you are currently a student, look at all options when searching for a loan. You’ll want to look for one that has options for deferments after you graduate, along with a payment option that will work for you.