3 steps I used to pay off almost $70,000 of student loans in 7 years – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

3 steps I used to pay off almost $70,000 of student loans in 7 years

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Jennifer Streaks.

Jennifer Streaks/Insider

I had my own student loan repayment journey after amassing nearly $70,000 in student loan debt.
After making monthly payments for a few years, I decided pay the debt off as quickly as I could.
To pay it off, I doubled my payments, scrutinized my financial choices, and prioritized getting rid of the debt.

Student loan payments are scheduled to resume on October 1, 2023. If you are one of the many not looking forward to this, start preparing for this now by including the payments in your budget.

But if you are one of those people who wants to get rid of the debt once and for all, you might be wondering how to just pay it all off — or if that’s an impossible task. I remember my own student loan repayment journey and the seven years it took to pay it off, but I still say it was one of the smartest things I ever did with my money

I wanted to aggressively pay off this debt that I thought was standing between me and my life goals.

I thought about minimizing my debt from the beginning

I am from Charleston, South Carolina and I went to the College of Charleston, a great school. I got an education while enjoying the beaches, sun, and beauty of Charleston. But more importantly, I was an in-state student, so my tuition was a mere fraction of what out-of-state students paid and significantly less than what I would have paid if I had attended a school out-of-state.

A constant refrain in my financial advice is to attend a good in-state school. That will cut your student loan debt greatly. There is nothing wrong with Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, or all of the other big-name schools you can attend, but if you have to do it with student loans, schools that easily run $50,000 or more a year may not be your best option. 

Once I was finished with my education — college and grad school — I had nearly $70,000 in loan debt. Yikes! At that time, my monthly payment was around $450 a month. Most people might think: “This is great, I can afford my payment,” and leave it at that. But that wasn’t good enough for me. I felt like that amount was just looming over me, not to mention the interest I was paying. 

I finally decided to pay my student loans off when I wanted to purchase a condo and I learned that condominiums came with condo fees to take care of common areas and maintenance and upkeep. I realized that my student loan payment amount could be used to pay my condo fees on a home that I owned and in which I was building equity. That sealed my decision to get rid of my debt.

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3 steps I took to pay off $70,000 in student loan debt

1. I chose to double my payments

My student loan payment was $450 and I doubled it every month. I looked at the bigger picture and decided to pay $900 a month to clear the way for my financial future. It took some serious belt-tightening, but I did it. I keep seeing the benefits of that decision over and over in my life to this day. Even when I decided to move to New York, I did not have any financial impediments — I was able to just do it. 

You may need to increase the amount you are paying on the debt if you want to pay it off quickly. 

2. I put paying my debt first

Paying off your debt, student loan or otherwise, has to be in the forefront of your financial decisions. Incorporate it into your budget and look for places where you can cut spending and put more money towards the debt. Be prepared to sacrifice now so that you can be debt-free later. 

For me, that turned into scrutinizing every financial decision. If it could interfere with paying $900 a month toward my student loan debt, I didn’t do it. 

Paying off my student loan debt was hard. There were times when I had to make real financial choices and forego things I wanted to do or buy to stay focused on my goal of paying off my student loans. 

3. I prepared for my payments in advance

When I decided that I was going to pay my debt off, there were things that I did to prepare for how that would impact my finances. I used my yearly bonus to pay my car insurance for the year all at once instead of making monthly payments. I started doing freelance work on the side to bring in more income when I started doubling the payments. 

If you resolve to pay off the debt, prepare ahead of time for the payments to resume, bring in more money, and make it a part of your budget and financial decisions, you can get it done and it will be worth it. 

Read the original article on Business Insider
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