things to do to keep student loans in check

One of the most asked questions we receive is “what would you have done differently with your student loans if you could do school over?” This is a post attempting to answer that. Basically, we would have tried even harder to keep our student loan debt in check as best we could while in school.

There are a number of reasons why you might have to take out student loans. But there are also a number of ways you can keep those student loans in check while you are in school. You can certainly live off of student loans in a smart way.

      1. Get a job

        Almost all schools have a break at some point. Even if it is only for two weeks. Use your time wisely. You can use a temp agency to help you find a few jobs that you can do here or there. If your schedule allows while you are in school, you can get or keep a job while you are in school. Try to pick something where you can work on your school work or something that will otherwise help you in your career search once school is over (like a research or teaching assistant on campus). A lot of students think they can’t handle a job while they are in school. Some schools (especially when you are earning a professional degree) will even discourage you from working. But do your best to not justify not having a job. Use your school breaks, evenings, and weekends wisely. You won’t regret it.

      2. Don’t take out the maximum amount of student loans available to you

        One of the easiest ways to keep your student loan balance in check while you are in school is to not accept the full amount of money available to you. The amount you qualify for is usually more than you will ever need while you are in school. Understandably, it might be difficult to guess how much money you will need to accept for living expenses, but this can be easily be remedied by tracking your past spending and creating a budget (more on how to create a budget here). Once you have an idea of how much money you will need to make rent, keep yourself fed and clothed, it makes it a lot easier to know exactly how much money you will need to take out.  Just because you are offered a certain amount of money, doesn’t mean you need to accept it. That is not advisable.

      3. Make payments during school

        Use any extra money that you get your hands on while you are still in school to put towards student loans. Remember that every day (if your loans are unsubsidized) your loans are accruing interest, costing you more and more money. Any gifts you receive (for a birthday or holiday) or money earned from a job can be applied towards your loans. It may seem like a sacrifice now, but when you are able to pay off your student loans much faster than your peers, you will be grateful.

      4. Live like a student.

        It might be tempting when you are in school to live the way you intend to live in your upcoming profession. Just because you are *going* to be a doctor (or lawyer, dentist, teacher, accountant, whatever your chosen field) — you aren’t one yet. Do yourself a favor and live as frugally as possible while you are still in school. With any luck, that frugal mind set will stick and you will still live frugally when you are making more money– that way you can make and meet lots of exciting financial goals. So while you are in school, don’t buy the nicest car that you think you will be able to afford when you graduate. Use coupons and rebates to do your grocery shopping. Take advantage of the “student discount” — most places like movie theaters and restaurants offer great deals for students. Live with a family member or get a roommate(s) at an affordable apartment. Use promo codes for shopping online (Honey scans the internet for valid promo codes for you!)

What things did you do/wish you did in school to keep your student loans in check? Comment below! 

Want even more money saving hacks to help you pay off debt? Subscribe to our newsletter. We share our debt update each month and all of the tips and tricks we are using to pay off more than $600k of student loan debt. 


Leave a Reply