In the beginning, when you first took out student loans, you were like other borrowers who were likely feeling optimistic about their future college experience.
Today, the average graduate student has a loan debt of over $57,000. This number is only going to continue to rise as time goes on. The current system in place for loans is deeply flawed and presents many challenges for those trying to navigate it. These include things such as high-interest rates, difficult payment plans, and uncooperative lenders. The U.S. government even took things one step further by establishing an entire bureau that would provide aid to consumers striving for standard financial products.
Now is the time to take control of your student loans. You can change the way you repay your loans and even how much you pay each month. Follow these three steps to make sure that your student loan payments are totally under your control:
Change What You’ll Pay
You can alter how much you pay per month. You could receive a lower interest rate, for example, by refinancing and consolidating your loans. If you consolidate your loans, you’ll have one monthly bill instead of multiple bills, and you’ll be able to manage your loan payments more easily.
If you want to get a lower interest rate, shorter loan terms, or access cash equity from your home, refinancing may be the right move for you. Not only can you move from a variable to a fixed rate, but you can also secure a lower interest rate – both of which can have positive impacts on your finances.
By refinancing your 10-year, $57,000 loan from 7.24% to 6.24%, you can save more than $4,500 over the life of the loan–simply by lowering your rate by 1%. (Our calculator assumes that, as many people do, you have signed up for automatic loan payments. Doing this often lowers your rate by 25 points (0.25%).)
Change When You’ll Pay
Refinancing also allows you to reset your term length, which could mean lower monthly payments from a longer-term loan or less interest paid overall with a shorter-term one. If you have federal student loans, there are several repayment programs available to choose from, including options that base your monthly payments on your income.
Lengthening your loan term can save you money each month on payments. For example, if someone has a 10-year $57,000 loan at 6.74%. She will save about $150 each month after moving to a 15-year loan with the same 6.74% interest rate.
Balance Your Budget by Changing Your Spending Habits.
Although this may not be a new or innovative repayment option, it is crucial to monitor your budget if you want to achieve any financial goal. By taking a closer look at your spending and saving habits, you may find extra money to put toward your student loans. Tiny changes, such as cutting down on your daily coffee intake (which can amount to over $100 in New York per month), could mean the difference between a loan payment that’s manageable and one that’s impossible.
Although it may be scary to change your student loans after years of stability, the benefits will make it worth your while. Furthermore, when you are trying to decide between multiple lenders, always give customer service a call. If they can’t explain the refinancing process now, what makes you think they will be helpful later on?
With continuous innovation in the lending world, you’re guaranteed to find a method that works for you and helps take away your debt. For example, P2P lending is set to loan out $1 trillion by 2025.
This article was originally published on GoGirl Finance.