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21 ‘Large-Leap’ Tactics to Help You Clear Your Student Loans Within a Few Years

Tackle student loan debt with these effective strategies. From the tried-and-true methods to the innovative and occasionally unorthodox, these diverse tactics promise to accelerate your journey to financial freedom.

Refinance Your Loans

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Refinancing your student loans can lead to a lower interest rate and shorter payment terms. This means you pay less over time and clear your debt faster. It’s essential to shop around for the best rates and terms. Be sure to understand the impact on federal loan benefits if you refinance.

Bi-Weekly Payments

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Instead of monthly payments, switch to bi-weekly. This strategy results in one extra payment each year, subtly reducing your principal and interest. It’s a manageable way to pay off your loans faster without a significant financial strain. Check with your lender to ensure they accept bi-weekly payments without penalties.

Round-Up Payments

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Round up your monthly payment to the nearest hundred. This simple trick can shave months or even years off your loan term. It reduces the principal faster, thus decreasing the total interest. Consider it a small step with a significant impact on your long-term debt.

Extra Income Allocation

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Allocate any extra income, like bonuses or tax refunds, directly to your student loans. Treat these as opportunities to cut down your principal balance. This approach can significantly accelerate your debt repayment timeline. Even small amounts can make a big difference over time.

Budgeting for Loan Repayment

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Create a budget focused on loan repayment. Identify areas where you can cut expenses and redirect that money to your loans. Consistency is key in this strategy. A dedicated budget can help you pay off loans systematically and faster.

Debt Snowball Method

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Start by paying off the smallest loan first while maintaining minimum payments on others. Once the smallest loan is paid, focus on the next smallest. This method creates a motivational snowball effect. It’s psychologically rewarding and helps maintain momentum in your repayment journey.

Debt Avalanche Method

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Prioritize loans with the highest interest rates. Paying these off first saves you money in the long run. While it requires discipline, it’s an efficient way to minimize interest payments. This method is ideal for those focused on the financial aspect of loan repayment.

Automate Payments

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Set up automatic payments to ensure you never miss a payment. Some lenders offer interest rate deductions for autopay. It’s a hassle-free way to stay consistent. Plus, it can slightly reduce the overall loan cost.

Loan Forgiveness Programs

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Investigate loan forgiveness programs, especially if you work in public service or education. These programs can forgive a portion or all of your loans after a certain period. It requires strict adherence to their guidelines. This could be a game-changer for those who qualify.

Side Hustles

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Consider starting a side hustle. The extra income can be directed towards your student loans. It’s also an opportunity to explore your passions or develop new skills. Every extra dollar earned and contributed to your debt makes a difference.

Reduce Living Expenses

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Lower your living expenses and channel the savings towards your loans. This might mean downsizing your living space or cutting back on luxury items to prioritize debt repayment over short-term comforts. Sacrifices now can lead to financial freedom sooner.

Educational Grants and Scholarships

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Even after graduating, look for educational grants and scholarships. Some programs offer to pay off parts of your loan in exchange for certain commitments, which effectively reduces your debt. It’s worth exploring all the options available.

Financial Windfalls

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Use financial windfalls, like inheritances or lottery winnings, to pay a substantial part of your loans. While these events are rare, they can significantly reduce your debt burden. Consider them as unexpected opportunities to get ahead on your loan repayment.

Interest Rate Reduction Incentives

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Check if your lender offers interest rate reductions for certain behaviors, like on-time payments or financial education courses. These incentives, while small, can add up over time. They reduce the cost of your loan and encourage responsible financial behavior.

Consult a Financial Advisor

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Seek professional advice from a financial advisor. They can provide personalized strategies based on your financial situation. An advisor can help you navigate complex financial decisions and find efficient ways to pay off your loans. It’s an investment in your financial health.

Student Loan Counseling

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Explore student loan counseling services. These services offer guidance and strategies tailored to your unique situation. They can help you understand the nuances of your loans and develop a clear repayment plan. Sometimes, expert advice can make all the difference.

Increase Your Income

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Work towards a higher-paying job or ask for a raise. Increasing your income gives you more financial flexibility to pay off your loans. It’s a direct approach that requires career growth and negotiation skills. Higher-income means more money can go towards your debt.

Loan Payment Matching

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Some employers offer loan payment matching as a benefit, which can double the impact of your payments. Always check your employee benefits and take advantage of them if available. It’s an excellent way to accelerate loan repayment without affecting your budget.

Avoid New Debt

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Resist the temptation to incur new debt. Focus on paying off your existing student loans first. New loans or credit card debt can complicate your financial situation. It’s essential to maintain financial discipline during your repayment period.

Flexible Repayment Plans

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If you’re struggling, consider flexible repayment plans. These plans adjust payments based on your income. While they can extend the loan term, they provide temporary relief. Always remember the goal of paying off your loans as quickly as possible.

Stay Informed and Adjust Strategies

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Stay informed about changes in student loan policies and interest rates. Be flexible and ready to adjust your repayment strategy accordingly. Being proactive can help you find better ways to repay your loans faster.

Josh Dudick

Josh is a financial expert with over 15 years of experience on Wall Street as a senior market strategist and trader. His career has spanned from working on the New York Stock Exchange floor to investment management and portfolio trading at Citibank, Chicago Trading Company, and Flow Traders.

Josh graduated from Cornell University with a degree from the Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management at the SC Johnson College of Business. He has held multiple professional licenses during his career, including FINRA Series 3, 7, 24, 55, Nasdaq OMX, Xetra & Eurex (German), and SIX (Swiss) trading licenses. Josh served as a senior trader and strategist, business partner, and head of futures in his former roles on Wall Street.

Josh's work and authoritative advice have appeared in major publications like Nasdaq, Forbes, The Sun, Yahoo! Finance, CBS News, Fortune, The Street, MSN Money, and Go Banking Rates. Josh currently holds areas of expertise in investing, wealth management, capital markets, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and personal finance.

Josh currently runs a wealth management business and investment firm. Additionally, he is the founder and CEO of Top Dollar, where he teaches others how to build 6-figure passive income with smart money strategies that he uses professionally.