If you’ve ever had student loans, you know that repaying them is no joke. Not only do the payments seem never-ending, but their high interest rates can add up very quickly. We’re here to give you a few tips that we’ve learned over the years to make paying off your educational expenses as quick and painless as possible.
Pay More Than the Minimum
We know paying more than the minimum payment each month is easier said than done, but if you find yourself with a little extra cash sometimes, it is best used to pay off your current debts. Some months you may only be able to make the minimum payment, and that’s okay. Just keep in mind that if you continue to pay only the minimum amount needed, you will end up paying more interest in the long run.
Make Extra Payments
Similar to the above point, making extra payments throughout the year will ultimately help you pay off your student debt faster and accrue less interest. This can be as simple as making an extra payment once every 3 months, for a total of 4 per year. That will lower your debt by 33% each year, making you that much closer to being debt free. Once you start making a habit out of it, the extra payments won’t seem so “extra” at all and your bank account won’t suffer in the long run.
Pay off High-Interest Debt First
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is best to pay off loans with higher interest rates first to stop the “snowball effect” of accruing interest. It is most effective to pay off these high-interest loans with large lump sums, such as tax returns or holiday bonuses, to see the most return. When you pay off large amounts at a time, the interest can only be applied to the amount you still have left to pay, which will be quite a bit lower, depending on the amount of your lump sum payment.
Student loans are notorious for having sky-high interest rates that just seem to keep adding salt to the wound. HELOCs, on the other hand, have much lower interest rates, making the payments a bit more bearable. By paying off student loans by using a HELOC, you essentially swap out the interest rate for a lower one. For example, if your student loans have an interest rate of 8% and an RMLEFCU HELOC has a rate of 4.25%, by using the money from the HELOC to completely pay off the loan with an 8% rate, you now only have to make payments on the loan with the 4.25% interest rate. This means less of your hard-earned money is wasted on paying interest in the long run. We’d call that a win.
While there is no way to get out of paying your loans, by taking these tips into account, you can pay off your student debt as quickly and efficiently as possible. For questions about ways to pay off your student loans using a lower interest option, like a HELOC, visit our website or call a representative at 303-458-6660.