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Smart Strategies for Paying Off Student Loans

With perseverance and ramen noodles you graduated from college. Now you are ready to apply everything you learned towards a bright financial future. Citizens Bank is here to help ensure student loans don’t weigh you down. Here are some tips to get you started.

Ask Questions

Learn everything you can about your repayment options. Sometimes borrowers are afraid to ask questions, especially if they find themselves in a tight spot and can’t make payments. Start with the Federal Student Aid website, where you can find multiple resources on where to begin with your repayment process. 

Make a Plan

It’s time to be strategic. Rank your loans according to interest rate and put extra money toward the highest-rate loans first. Choose the Standard Repayment Plan when you graduate to pay less over time, but only if you can afford the monthly payments. The federal government’s website has a loan simulator that shows you how much you’ll pay with each plan. Then create a budget according to your monthly payment amounts.

Start Paying Immediately

Start making payments before it’s required and during grace periods. Pay enough to cover the amount of interest you’re accruing each month. That way less interest will be added to your principal balance when you enter repayment. Remember, time is on your side when you are starting out.

Making Extra Payments

Just like you learned in Business 101, the more you pay toward your loans, the less interest you’ll owe. There is no penalty for paying student loans early. Each month, pay more than the minimum. Just make sure your loan servicer knows to apply the extra amount to your current balance. Otherwise, they might apply it to next month’s payment and advance your due date, which won’t help your cause.

Setup Autopay

Register for automatic payments through your student loan servicer to automatically deduct your student loan payment from your bank account each month. Not only will you always make payments on time, but some lenders may even offer an interest rate discount when you have payments automatically made. Contact your loan servicer for more information, or visit the “Make a Payment” section on the Federal Student Aid website. 

Find a Part-time Job

Start a side hustle to pay off your student loans faster. Use your skills to freelance, or find a part-time job that fits your schedule. Whether it’s dog-walking, graphic design, resume-writing, photography, or bartending – anything you can do to earn extra cash will get you out of debt faster.

Look into Loan Forgiveness or Assistance

You can have your federal student loan balance forgiven if you meet certain criteria. For details, visit the “Forgiveness Cancellation” section on the Federal Student Aid website. Research whether your employer offers repayment assistance for employees with student loans.

At Citizens Bank, we are committed to helping you reach your potential. If you have questions or would like help budgeting to pay back your student loans, don’t hesitate to contact us, or stop by your nearest Citizens Bank branch.

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