How to deal with student loan stress
Updated on January 6, 2020
Paying off your student loans can be very stressful, particularly if you are just out of college and living on a limited budget. Debt related stress can feel very overwhelming at times, but with some planning, you can stay on top of that stress and make progress towards paying down your debt. Here are some ways to deal with student debt stress.
Look into debt forgiveness
Depending on what type of loans you have and what type of work you do, you may qualify for some form of student loan forgiveness. If you have federal student loans, you can qualify for student loan forgiveness by going into certain public service professions, such as teaching. It’s worth checking to see if you fit the criteria for student loan forgiveness, as it can significantly lower the amount of money you pay in the long run.
Renegotiate your monthly payments
If your student loan payments are drastically eating into your budget, you may want to renegotiate the amount of money you pay each month. This won’t be an option for every loan, but it’s worth asking your loan provider if you can lower your monthly payment amount slightly. Sure, it will take longer to pay the loan off, but it also means that you’ll be able to manage a more realistic budget each month. You can always increase your monthly payment amount later if your income increases.
When you have extra money, put some of it towards your loans
A good way to feel a little more in control is to take any little bit of extra money you get and put it towards your student loans. Say you earn $30 dog-sitting for a friend – instead of spending it all on food, take half and add it to your student loan payment that month. Over time, these little bits can really add up.
Don’t deprive yourself
When you feel like you’re drowning in debt, it can seem like the only solution is to cut out ‘frivolous’ expenses. And while it’s important to cut back, you shouldn’t completely cut out the things that make you happy. If you love to go out to eat with friends and you completely stop, you might start feeling more stressed. Instead, look for more affordable substitutes, like having a dinner party at home or going to an affordable happy hour instead of a trendy new restaurant.