Most articles about eliminating student debt are written for people that aren’t students anymore. College graduates and young professionals are often searching for practical tips on how they can reduce their student debt and on advice regarding student debt consolidation.

Thankfully, plenty of current college students follow this blog. This is why I wanted to help this intelligent bunch become proactive and focus on paying down student loans before the first day of the “real world” begins. Let’s look at how college students can begin killing their student debt right now…

Focus when you “shouldn’t.”

I know, I know. It’s summer time and student loans is the last thing that you should focus on. However, a little bit of thought right now can save you lots of hassle (and money!) down the road. Okay instead of giving you empty theory, allow me to share some ideas for what you can do to work on your student loans at this very moment:

  • Look over your balance. Figure out exactly how much money you owe at this very moment. I know that this will be fairly depressing the first time around. But like they say in the movies, “the truth will piss you off, and then it will set you free.” Figure out how much it is exactly that you owe and then consider how you’ll pay this off and how long it’ll take you.
  • Calculate possibilities. Run a few numbers. One calculation I like to run is the “what if? calculation.” I run some numbers and I check out how much money I would save if a “what if?” scenario were to arise. For example, what if I stay in this weekend? It usually equates to savings of at least $50. That’s an extra 50 bucks in my savings account or towards my credit card. Now I know that it’s difficult to stay in when it’s a hot summer night. Consider “what if?” calculations in other areas of your life. Eventually, you’ll find a scenario where you can save extra money to put towards your student loans.

Paid internships.

Internships are often seen as free labor. Most students are very hesitant to volunteer in exchange for experience. I understand that. However, most programs do offer paid internships. My business program administration worked to help me find a paid internship. Fortunately, I found a job on my own. Do whatever you can to find out if your program offers paid work terms. Speak with your professors, go to the program office, and check the college’s website. Some internship programs look for you. Others you have to find them. Your goal should be to find a paid internship where you’ll become more valuable in your field when you graduate.

Summer work.

Most of you reading this have obviously about this. It’s either you have a summer job or you’re in the process of looking for summer work. Either way, I’m sure I don’t need to stress the importance of working during the summer months for you guys.

Work during the school year.

Everyone hates this one. The thing is that we all have some free time during the school year that we can put in to work a few hours. The best part is that most student jobs offer flexible hours (bartending) and decent experience (tutoring/school admin work). If it wasn’t for working during the school year, I would probably be in the red right now.

(Note: If your program is absolutely rigorous, don’t yell at me. You can still apply the other concepts in this article.)

Realistic lifestyle.

Always remember that you’re still a college student. The bottle service and Gucci shoes may be enticing, but how will you pay for it? Who will you impress? How will you keep up with the professionals earning 6 figures? Are you willing to start your career in the negatives?– Or do you want to have fun in college (on a budget) and start your working life with strong financial fundamentals?

Are you ready to start killing off your student loans right now?

image source: jadefrog_01

Martin Dasko

Martin Dasko