More than almost anything, I want to get out of student loan debt.
And I want to help you get out of student loan debt, too.
It’s a huge part of my mission on Financegirl. In fact, most readers who contact me are young, professional women who are drowning in student loan debt and it’s hindering them from doing something important (like get married or have kids).
If I could give you the magic potion that made your student loans vanish I would. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix. There are, however, tools that you can use to help you learn to manage your debt and get rid of it.
The first tool is yourself – specifically your mindset. Every email I get includes something to the effect of “honestly, I don’t know if I think I can get out of debt”. This is a mindset that you cannot afford to have (literally). The first tool you need to utilize is your mind. I have an entire post dedicated to teaching you how to believe you will get out of student loan debt. Read it! And when you’re done, read Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover to really start learning about money and getting out of debt.
Tuition.io is a really handy website that organizes you student loans all in one place (similar to Personal Capital, an online tool that organizes your finances, but it’s specifically for student loans). It offers charts and graphs that show you the effect of paying X number of dollars more per month over time. It’s really encouraging because you can see visually how much you will save in interest over time by paying an extra $100 this month. I love this tool.
Student loan calculators will show you exactly how long you’ll be paying your loans, how much interest you’ll pay, and the effect of paying off your debt faster. There are tons of calculators out there, but I personally like Student Loan Hero’s 7 calculators for your each and every student loan need (prepayment, refinancing, deferment, etc.).
4. Student Loan Blogs
More than anything, there is tremendous comfort in connecting with someone who has suffered similarly to you. That’s why it’s important for you to read student loan blogs and connect with other student loan suffers. It really does help. Here’s a short list of blogs dedicated to student loans: 1) The Student Loan Lawyer, 2) Six Figures Under, 3) Dear Debt, 4) Student Debt Survivor, and 5) No More Harvard Debt. There are also tons of great blogs that talk about student loans, including: 1) Money Under 30, 2) Nerd Wallet, and 3) Debt Roundup.
Websites that provide information about student loans can be critical to helping you create your own get out of debt plan. I like to think that blogs provide hope, inspiration, and comfort in this area, and websites provide the knowledge that will help you create your own plan. A few great student loan websites are: 1) the Federal Student Aid website, 2) Student Loan Borrower Assistance, 3) FinAid, 4) Student Loan Hero, and 5) Ready for Zero.
SponsorChange.org allows you to volunteer your time in exchange for donors sponsoring you and paying off your debt. It was founded my one of my friends in college, which is super duper cool – his name is Raymar Hampshire. I’m not sure if it’s available everywhere yet, but certainly worth knowing about and looking into.
Gradible is a website that allows you to perform certain online tasks in exchange for “LoanCreds”, which essentially is money that Gradible will put straight toward your student loan debt. Examples of things you can complete for LoanCreds include: surveys, research, and social media posting. The payout isn’t enormous, but hey – every little bit counts.
A Final Note!
There are many student loan resources out there that can help you tackle your debt. I suggest using this guide as a starting point and taking control of your financial future by creating a get out of student loan debt plan.
Whatever you do, make sure you believe in yourself and commit to becoming debt free. Without that, I think it’s near impossible to get out of debt — it’s the one thing that matters most for getting out of debt.