Minimize Expenses and Maximize Income

It almost goes without saying, but the less money you spend on things you don’t need, the more cash you’ll have leftover to pay toward your loan. So whether it’s canceling that gym membership you’re not using, or cutting back on how many times you eat out each week, saving a few bucks here and there can shave years off your loan repayment. Budgeting apps help identify areas where you might be over-spending. And seeing how those caramel macchiatos add up over time can change your habits in a heartbeat.

In addition to cutting back on your expenses, look for other areas of your life where you could earn some extra dough. Maybe you can convert a hobby into a small side business, or perhaps there’s something you can do at work to pad your paycheck. In any case, just be sure to put your extra income toward your loan before thinking about ways to spend it.

Automate Your Payments

From dinging your credit score to increasing the amount of interest you owe, missing a loan payment doesn’t have many upsides. By automating your payments ahead of time, you won’t ever have to worry about getting off track. If you’re not already doing so, use a bill-pay service to determine which day of the month you’d like funds deducted from your account. Just “set it and forget it,” so you’ll never miss a payment.

Also, if you haven’t already done so, make sure you check your credit score so that you know where you currently stand.

Refinance Your Loan

If you’ve established a respectable credit record after a few years of paying down your student loan, there’s a good chance you could refinance your balance for a lower interest rate. Not only will this save you money in the long run, but you’d be able to pay off your debt faster too. So even if you don’t currently have the credit score needed to get a reduced rate, knowing that this option exists is a good incentive to make sure you don’t miss any payments. And if you’re already a few years into your repayment plan, check out Mint’s new Loan Center for student refinancing options that might be perfect for you.

Having a plan to pay off your loans will help you breathe easier and could save you a mountain of money in the long run. So why put it off? See your student debt disappear by following these tips to eliminating what you owe.