If you took out student loans while you were in college, you may think that you have to live like a pauper after graduation to repay them. Even with low monthly payments, it can be difficult to squeeze in a new financial obligation as a new college graduate. The following are some practical tips to make paying your monthly student loan bill easier. If you are really motivated, you may even be able to pay it off early.
Start by Looking at the Non-Essentials
Before your first student loan payment is due, sit down and create a list of expenses in your life that are expendable. In this age of downloadable movies and $1.00 movie rentals, cable TV is an expense that often can’t be justified in a tight budget. You may be able to uncover other unnecessary monthly expenditures just by walking around your home. After jotting down a few ideas, take a look at your billing history for the past several months. Does the cost doesn’t justify the benefits, consider eliminating these household expenses from your budget.
Eating Out: The Biggest Budget Killer
With the average fast-food meal costing $10.00, going out to lunch can quickly become expensive. Instead of handing over your hard-earned money for food that is likely to be unhealthy, spend 10 minutes each evening packing a lunch for the next workday instead. Your wallet and your waistline will be healthier as the result.
To save even more money, you may want to try growing some of your own food and using grocery store coupons whenever possible. It doesn’t take much more than a small garden plot to grow fresh vegetables for healthy and inexpensive eating. As for coupons, there are numerous online websites where you can download the coupons you want for free. The Sunday paper is another excellent resource.
Consider What You Spend on New Clothes
You can trim your clothing budget considerably by shopping at thrift stores or upscale boutiques instead of automatically buying new every time. Often times, the clothes donated to these stores are either overstocks that have not been worn at all or have only been worn a few times. Another option is to try buying clothes out of season when retail stores dramatically reduce the prices during clearance sales.
Making Savings a Part of Your Everyday Lifestyle
While food, clothing and household utility bills make up a good portion of your budget, you should make it a point to look for ways to save daily. Whether that is checking out a book at the library instead of buying it or taking the bus to avoid parking fees, savings opportunities are all around you.
Keep the Benefits in Mind
By following these tips, you will have extra money available to repay your student loan faster. Soon enough, your loan will be repaid and you can enjoy the small luxuries in life again. You may also find that you enjoy being thrifty so much that you are unable to return to your previous way of life.