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Best Ways to Pay Off Student Loans – Top Six Ways to Payoff Student Loans

I paid off $55,000 across 13 different student loans by combining two of these strategies.
Updated: How to Pay off Student Loans

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Looking to pay off your students loans? These are the top six ways to pay off your student loans.

I remember when I graduated from college. I wasn’t even caring or thinking about student loan debt. Then, the thirty different invoices came pouring in. I didn’t really have a financial plan for college. I took advantage of every single loan option to graduate – to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.

When I graduated from college, I left with $55,739 in student loan debt. I had paid $6,251 towards the principal before I finally consolidated my student loan into two loans.

The average college student in the U.S graduates college with $35,359 in debt. This is more than a 25% increase over the last five years. It’s no wonder graduates everywhere are frantically looking for ways to get out of student loan debt.

Student loan debt takes away your ability to live your best life after college. Money that could be used for a nicer, newer car, a nicer apartment or first home, or affording to have kids is being siphoned off your income to pay off your college debt.

I was desperate to find a way to pay off this debt; so I used a combination of student consolidation along with my side hustles to pay my loans off within two years.

That’s right. $55,739 in student loan debt paid off in 2 years.

If you’re looking to combine all your loan payments into one, then, I recommend getting a “super loan” at a lower interest rate. Click here to find your best loan and lower your interest rate.

Without complete student loan forgiveness, it’s imperative you find simple, lower-cost ways to pay your loans off faster so that you can move onto reaching other financial goals.

Check out the top 6 methods of student loan payoff below.

Make Biweekly Payments to Pay Down Your Student Loan Faster

This is one of the simplest methods to implement right now. You don’t need a higher income, to get a second job, or to adjust your budget.

How Bi-Weekly Payments Works:

Divide your student loan payment in half. Make one half payment every two weeks. At the end of the month, you still pay the same amount. But, if you do the math, you’ll see that you make 13 payments throughout the year rather than 12 because there are 52 weeks in a year and 52 divided by 2 is 13 – so you make 13 payments.

For example, if you have a $20,000 student loan at a 7% interest rate and you make bi-weekly payments, you’ll be out of debt 13 months faster and save almost $1,000 in interest.

Pay More Than the Minimum Payment to Pay Down Student Loans Quicker

If you do have extra money each month, even just $50 or $100, pay it toward your student loans. Just make sure you do it the right way.

How it Works:

You are free to prepay your college loans whenever you want – there is no penalty. While you probably don’t have the $30,000 lying around, even an extra $50 will help.

When you make your payment, add the extra $50 or any other amount you can afford to the payment. Make a note on your payment coupon or online that the extra funds are for the principal. If you don’t make this note, your servicer may simply apply the payment to next month’s payment which will not help you pay the balance down faster or get out of debt faster.

Set up Autopay to Lower Interest Rates on Student Loans

Even if you aren’t the forgetful type, there’s a benefit to signing up for autopay. Most lenders will knock your interest rate down by 0.5% just for the reassurance that you’ll always make your payment on time.

How it Works:

Opt-in to the autopay program with your servicer. Make sure you ask about their procedure so that you get the interest rate discount. Even though 0.5% doesn’t sound like much, it could save you a few hundred dollars over the life of the loan. If you use this method in conjunction with other methods, you’ll compound your savings.

Use the Debt Snowball Method to Accelerate the Student Loan Payoff

If you want to get serious about getting out of student loan debt, you need a specific plan to follow. The snowball method is a great choice. It’s easy to understand and implement with any budget.

How the Debt Snowball Method Work:

List your student loans (and other debts if you wish) in order of current balance from lowest to highest. Note the required payment for each loan and make those payments on time each month. See Also Debt Snowball Method

Next, take any ‘extra’ money you have each month and pay it toward the loan with the smallest balance. This is in addition to your minimum required payment. Again, let your servicer know the extra payment should go toward your principal.

Keep doing this until you pay the first loan off in full.

Here’s the key: Many people will use the money they were paying to a paid off loan to increase their personal expenses – like food, clothing, or entertainment. Instead, you want to use this now freed-up money and use it to pay off the next loan on your list.

You’ll take that payment amount from your paid-off loan and apply it to the next loan in line, paying this new amount PLUS the required minimum payment.

Do you see the snowball that starts growing? With this extra payment, you’ll knock that debt out faster than you thought possible.

When your second loan is paid off, you’ll now use the combined money from your first and second paid off loans and apply it to your next loan on the list. This doesn’t take any additional money. You’re just using money you’d set aside to pay off one bill to pay off the next one once your previous bill is paid off.

I like this method the best (after loan consolidation) because you get a few small wins when you start paying off the smaller loans. Small wins create momentum and this momentum fuels you to pay more and more each month.

Use the Debt Avalanche Method to Pay Off Student Loans

If a snowball isn’t big enough for you, check out the debt avalanche method. It requires a little more dedication, but it promises big results.

Related Article: Get Out of Debt Guide

How the Debt Avalanche Works:

Place your student loans (and other debts if you wish) in order of annual percentage page/APR (not balance), highest to lowest. Yes, this sounds backward, but keep reading. You’re going to use the same method as in the debt snowball method, but you’ll attack the debt with the largest interest rate first. In other words, you get yourself out of that crazy high-interest rate faster.

Again, make the required payments for each loan, and only pay any ‘extra’ money you have toward the first loan in line. Keep paying that loan until it’s zeroed out. It may take a while, again because it’s the loan with the highest APR. However, you’ll be saving the most when it’s paid off – because this high-interest loan is costing you the most.

Once it’s paid off, take that same payment and apply it to the next loan in line. You’ll quickly knock out the crazy interest payments, saving yourself quite a bit of money as you knock those debts out. Keep going and you’ll get yourself out of student loan debt in no time flat. Also, check out our paid off guide – how to get out of debt in 2020.

Student Loan Refinance Options

Let’s be honest: Student loans suck. I came out ahead because when I exhausted my student loans, my school awarded me scholarships and grants each semester. That’s free money I received every single semester for school.

If you can somehow pay off your loans each semester, then THIS is the best way to get your college education. I decided to work odd jobs WHILE going to school WHILE taking full advantage of student loans AND getting grants & scholarships.

After I graduated, I couldn’t believe 13 different loan invoices from 13 different loans that I took out over 4 1/2 years all came due at once. I thought, “What in the hell am I going to do?”

That’s why I was desperate to combine all the loans into one. The answer: CONSOLIDATE!

Resources:

  1. Student Loan Refinance
  2. Credit Card Consolidation

At the time, I was ONLY thinking about getting some relief – not payoff. At this point, my only strategy was to consolidate my multiple loans into a lower monthly payment.

So I consolidated one year after graduating college.

How Student Loan Refinance Works:

Find a lender that offers a low interest rate and attractive terms. Make sure you’ll save money on interest and you aren’t just lengthening the term as that can be deceiving. Don’t focus on the lower payment – look at the total cost of interest over the life of the loan.

For example, if you have $20,000 in student debt at 7% for 10 years and you refinance it into a 15-year term loan at 7.5%, it looks like you save $47 per month; however, it costs you $5,500 more in interest over the life of the loan to stretch it out five years. If you refinance, do it for a shorter term and better interest rate for maximum savings.

Student loan payoff isn’t as overwhelming or impossible as it seems. With the right mindset and proper methods in place, you can say goodbye to your pesky student loans and hello to new and fun adventures and investments in your life.

Related Budgeting Articles:

Unique Ways to Pay Off Student Loans that No One Mentions

Ready to pay off your student loans? There are a few other ways that I can think of, but they involve taking bigger risks to get bigger paydays.

For me, I had over $55,000 in student loans. Wouldn’t it be nice to get $55,000 dropped in your lap for a full payoff? Here’s how that can happen.

Flip Real Estate for Bigger Paydays

If you can find an investor to help you get houses on the cheap, then flipping real estate is the fastest way to get BIG paydays that you can use to pay off your student loan.

My friend started posting real estate deals that he saw online and through wholesale lists. No big deal, right? Well, investors started contacting him and now he owns over $55,000,000 in real estate. The monthly payments get divided up between himself and his 18 investors.

He now manages the apartment complexes that he owns, all because he took action to talk about his goals and future plans.

Related Ways to Make Extra Money:

Also, instead of paying down your student loan faster, buy a quadplex that allows you to live rent-free & take that profit to pay down your loans. When the value of the quadplex reaches a point that allows you to be debt-free, sell it and pay off your loans.

You could also buy the cheapest house in the most expensive neighborhood and then, spend a few years living in it and fixing it up. Then, after a few years – take the profit and pay everything off.

When I talk about paying off my student loans, this is the technique I used. I consolidated my debt one year after college. Then, I worked for three years saving for a down payment on a house.

After I had enough for a down payment, I bought a cheap house in a nice neighborhood and lived in it for two years. During those two years, I did a paint job here and there. I remodeled a bathroom one weekend. I got the landscaping going and sold the house two years later. My profit: $76,000.

GOODBYE STUDENT LOANS! GOOD RIDDANCE…

Once your student loans are paid off, follow these 7 baby steps to financial freedom.

Certain Disabilities Qualify for Complete Student Loan Discharge

Lastly, if you have a disability then certain states will erase all your student loan debt. My neighbor has severe autism that has kept him from holding down a job. In 2007, they passed a law that if you are disabled, the Department of Education will erase your student loans.

My other neighbor is a disabled veteran. He qualifies for the Total & Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge. The TPD discharge for your student loans can be used by providing documentation from the VA.

To Qualify for the TPD Discharge, you must:

  1. Have a service-connected disability that is 100% disabling.
  2. Are totally disabled based on an individual unemployable rating.

Click Here for More Information on TPD Discharge

Want to know more about how these methods work in detail?

Check out our next post in the series.

Share and Conquer,

How to Pay Off Student Loans

Kit Elliott
Founder, I Love Making Money Dot Com

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