(NewsSpace.com) – Millions of Americans struggle with student loan debt. Fortunately, there are ways to help lessen the burden on their budgets. Here are three ways to find some relief.
1. Make a Budget
To create a budget, you will need to first write down how much money you have coming in each month. Then, list every expense that you need to pay, even the small $4.99 subscriptions you might have.
Next, start a diary of all your spending. If you’re like most people, chances are you’ll identify a lot of ways you could save money. Are you spending $100 a month buying coffee on the way to work? How about buying a travel mug and filling it before you leave the house?
After you get a handle on your spending, you will know how much you can actually afford to pay on your loans every month. You can use that information to attempt to renegotiate your payments or use it to pay extra towards your balance.
2. Look For Help
Various organizations can help you reduce, reschedule, or even cancel your student debt. Research all the options and see what fits your circumstances and disposable income. For example, you might be able to defer your loans for a period of time if you are struggling financially.
The National Consumer Law Center has a resource page to help people find out what programs they’re eligible for and how to access them. Ask your employer, too; many now have programs to help.
3. Consider Refinancing
You might be able to save money by refinancing your student loan at a lower interest rate. This option isn’t for everyone, though. You’ll lose some federal benefits and protections if you move your debt to a private lender. But if you have a lot of debt, you could still come out ahead. Speak to an independent adviser to see if this option may be right for you.
The most important tip is to always communicate with your loan servicer to avoid default. Doing so will help you to avoid excessive penalties and the potential for more aggressive collections attempts.
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