What To Do If You Just Can’t Pay Your Student Loans

student loans advice

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You know what’s worse than having student loans? Not being able to pay them because life smacked you in the face really hard. Think being laid off from your job, your car’s engine unexpectedly failing or a family member needing financial assistance. Life doesn’t just move out of your way if you have to pay student loans, and sometimes, you have to stop paying them for a while. But it’s not the end of the world — there are options for you guys, too.

Let’s go through every option you should consider if you’re not currently able to pay those loans.

1. Cut as many costs as possible.

We know — if you’re already in such a tight spot that you can’t pay your student loans, how could you possibly save money? The key is to think micro. For example, what subscription plans are you a part of, and what can you pause for a few months? Streaming subscriptions like Netflix and Hulu aren’t necessary to survival, as incredible as they may be, nor is your daily latte obsession or regular mani-pedi appointment. If you have to, consider moving to a lower-cost apartment or getting a roommate. Basically, get to a place where you prioritize paying student loans regularly over all your little luxuries.

2. Do what you can to earn extra income.

Even if you don’t have a ton of time on your hands, there are ways to make some extra cash. Whether you want to go the full-blown freelance route or do a project here and there in the comfort of your own home, there’s always an opportunity to make an additional dollar or two. Some other easy ideas? Selling your clothes or any unused items, renting out your apartment on Airbnb on the weekends, adjusting your tax withholding so you get more each paycheck instead of a big return and even using your credit cards smartly to earn maximum cash back.

3. Consolidate your loans.

If you have a handful of different loans, you can opt into consolidation, which may or may not work with your particular loan types. Basically, consolidating your loans combines them all into one loan. If you’re able to successfully do that, your loan payments may be less each month, but keep in mind that your interest rates may be higher and the amount of time before you pay off that loan could be longer. That said, you may want to prioritize getting back on a payment schedule just so that your credit doesn’t suffer.

4. Restructure your payment plan.

You may think that whatever you and your lender agreed upon regarding student loan payments is a forever deal, but you can actually negotiate a restructuring of those payment plans. That means that you could potentially lower some loan payments, making them easier to keep up with each month.


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