During my college years I tried not to think about all the money I would owe as soon as I got my degree.
Ignorance is bliss when it comes to student loans – or so I thought. This sh*t won’t kick in for another couple of years, I’ve got nothing to worry about! WRONG – so so so wrong.
Preparing yourself for your student loans BEFORE you graduate is the best thing you can do.
Having the mentality that it’s a problem for your future self is unfortunately going to screw you over.
So what can you do during your college career that your future self will thank you for?
• Get a part time job. I know it might suck but even just picking up a couple of shifts a week can help you pay for rent, books, booze… (we are being realistic here!) Having that small amount of extra cash will make it so you don’t have to take out as many loans in the future. I waitressed throughout college and it was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. The hours sucked sometimes but I was averaging $35 to $40 an hour – making it so I was accumulating a lot of extra money with just a couple of shifts a week.
• Pay interest on your unsubsidized loans while you are in school. Your unsubsidized loans start accumulating interest the minute you open them – which by the time you finish school can add up to A LOT of money. By paying down some of that interest before your loans kick in, you will lower your principal balance once they kick in after graduation.
• Pay your loans AS SOON AS YOU GRADUATE. Getting that first paycheck is one of the most exciting things that will happen to you – especially when you have worked hard for 2+ years for your degree. But your 6 month grace period can give you a false sense of security. You start to get used to having a certain amount of money (probably more than you have ever had) and then all of a sudden you get hit with a huge minimum payment and all that money you “thought” you had is suddenly gone. Start paying them with your first paycheck and you will get used to having that amount of money right away – saving yourself the shock of a minimum payment later.
College is great – but it is outrageously expensive. If you are paying for your schooling with loans, do yourself a favor and prepare for the colossal amount of debt that is going to slap you in the face when you graduate.
It doesn’t need to be thousands of dollars you are saving or paying before you graduate. But believe me when I say that every little bit helps!