Student loan debt plagues many recent college graduates and working professionals. Although sometimes you can get through college without incurring student loan debt, most students aren’t so lucky. With at least two-thirds of all graduates leaving America’s colleges and universities carrying student loan debt, it’s no wonder why this nation is enduring a debt crisis. So if you have student loan debt, you’re obviously not alone, and there are plenty of options to relieve yourself from your debt.

Deferment or Forbearance

After you graduate or stop going to school you are usually give a 6-month grace period before you are required to make payments on your student loans. If you lose your job or are unable to secure a job or a steady income, you can always defer or postpone your student loan payments for a certain period of time.

If you don’t qualify for deferment, forbearance may be granted by your loan provider and it can reduce or postpone your payments for up to 12-months. Both of these options should be an absolute last resort since deferring your student loan payments will not make them go away. They will continue to accumulate interest and become more and more unmanageable as time goes on.

Student Loan Forgiveness/Consolidation

Student loan forgiveness sign with a woman reading itIf you have Federal loans, you may qualify for student loan forgiveness programs from the government. Click here to see if you qualify.

Consolidating your loans may not work for everyone, but it can increase the length of your repayment period and lower your monthly payment or allow you to utilize alternate payment plans.

On the downside, you could lose special borrower benefits offered with your original payment plan including lower interest rates and principal rebates.

Just Pay Them

Taking action quickly and paying off your student loans is the best way to go. By making payments as soon as you graduate or stop attending school, you’ll reduce the amount of interest you have to pay over time and become student loan debt free much quicker.

Student loan payment plans are not just black or white. You often have the option to choose different terms for your repayment ranging from 10 to 20+ years. Of course the longer your term, the lower and more manageable your payment will be but you will end up paying more in interest.

Student loan checkIf you choose a graduated payment plan, you can start out with low monthly payments that will increase over the years as your income increases. With a graduated payment plan, the idea is to start off with a low payment just as you are breaking into your professional field or in an entry level position, then put more toward your student loans as you progress in your industry and earn more.

I understand that paying off your loans is much easier said than done, but if you have any stream of income whatsoever – even if it’s only a part-time job for the time being – you should make it a priority to make payments toward your student loans. There are several ways you can free up money to make student loan payments:

  • Move back in with parents or relatives
  • Create a budget to include student loan payments
  • Limit dining out and walk/bike more often to save on fuel expenses
  • Start a second job or side hustle to increase your income
  • Reduce your principal balance with Gradible credits

Gradible Helps You Kick Student Loans to the Curb

Gradible is a New York based-startup company that helps people pay down their student loans. It’s a free service that you can sign up for and complete different tasks to earn credits. Tasks range from editing and sharing links on Facebook and taking surveys to completing small writing tasks and posting ads on Craigslist.

Most tasks take around 15 minutes to complete and others take a bit more time. Once you complete each task, you earn credits that you can transfer into money to pay toward your student loans. You can also shop through Gradible and earn 2-5% back in ‘loan credits’ on online purchases through major retailers. It’s very similar to rewards websites like Swagbucks but you just put the earnings toward your student loans and your earning potential is pretty much unlimited.

I’ve been using Gradible for a few weeks and it’s really a low effort way for me to make some headway on my student loans. Currently I can only pay a little more than the minimum balance on my student loans and while I’m looking to change that soon, I’m grateful that it’s very simple to rack up your first $25 on Gradible quickly by only spending a few minutes a day on the site.

Gradible is a great option to consider when the student loan payments are due but money is tight and you don’t qualify for forbearance or deferment. The best way to handle any kind of debt is not to put it off in the hopes that it will go away. You won’t get peace-of-mind that way and you will only be relieved for a short period of time. The best way to tackle debt, especially student loan debt, is to budget accordingly, gather up your resources, and devise a game plan to become debt free.

If you spend a decent amount of time on the computer any way, this is a great way for you to rack up some funds to pay on your loans. And let’s be real, when it comes to making debt payments, something is always better than nothing.

Registration for Gradible is not always open to new users so while it currently is, I’d encourage you to head on over to the site for more information and to sign up by clicking here.

Do you make student loan debt a priority? What methods are you using to pay back your student loans?

Chonce Maddox

Chonce is a freelance writer who’s obsessed with frugality and passionate about helping others increase their savings rate, eliminate debt, and work toward financial stability. She chronicles her journey to becoming debt-free on her blog, mydebtepiphany.com.

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