You’re ready to invest in your education, but you might be a little scared. The thought of student loan debt and having to pay them back after school might have you a little hesitant.

The good news is that you don’t have to start paying the loan back as soon as you get it when you get a student loan. Continue reading this article to learn the answer to your question, “when do you have to start paying back student loans?” so you can put your mind at ease.

The 411 – When Do You Have to Start Paying Back Student Loans?

Whether you’re thinking about student loans for bad credit or if you have good credit, there are some important things you need to consider when you’re getting a loan and planning to pay it back.

Almost all student loans have a six month grace period after you finish school. The clock on this six months starts when you graduate, drop below half-time status or drop out of school.

What to Do Once the Clock Starts Ticking

When you see the deadline approaching, you’re likely feeling the pressure that comes with paying back these loans. The good news is that you can start preparing right away, so when it comes time to start paying, you’re prepared.

1. Look for Repayment Options

When the clock starts ticking, and you only have six months before you have to start paying, you can use this time to figure out the best loan repayment options for you.

Some private student loans give you the six-month grace period, but they may not so make sure to check before you don’t pay for six months and are in default.

Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans and subsidized and unsubsidized federal Stafford loans have the six-month grace period. The six months go by quickly, so make sure you’re prepared when the time comes.

2. Create a Budget

Look at how much money you’ll need to pay down your student loans each month. Look at the current budget you have for your monthly bills and start factoring the student loans repayments into your budget.

3. Prioritize

Don’t put student loans on the back burner. Failing to pay student loans may mean wage garnishments and liens if things get out of hand.

4. Speak with Your Lender

Keep in communication with your lender, so you have a good relationship with them. If you’re paying on time, you don’t have much to worry about, but if something happens in the future, you want to be on their good side in case you have a favor to ask.

5. Set Your Payments to Automatic

Missing payments is bad, but missing payments on the accident are painful. You meant to pay, you had the money to pay — but you forgot.

6. Do NOT Default

In case you didn’t get the drift above — don’t default. Do whatever you have to do to stay out of default with student loans. That might mean asking a parent for a loan or possibly refinancing your student loans but stay out of default.

7. Give Yourself a Target Date for Paying Off the Debt

When you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it makes the day-to-day much easier. Give yourself an exact date when you expect to have the debt off your plate and the extra money in your wallet each month.

How to Pay Down Your Student Loans Quickly

If you don’t want to pay your loans for years and years, you may be looking for ways to get rid of student loans quicker. There are some simple things you can do to make sure you get the debt off your plate sooner than later.

1. Make More than the Minimum Payment

When you’re serious about paying down your student debt — paying more than the minimum payment is the number one best way to chip away at this debt.

Whatever extra money you put toward the payment will go straight to the principal of the loan. One of the easiest and least painful ways to do this is to set an automatic payment with the extra money included in that automatic payment.

2. Use Your Raises to Increase Your Repayment Amount

If you get a raise, instead of giving yourself a lifestyle increase, put that money toward the repayment of your student loans. You can always increase your lifestyle after your loan is paid off.

3. Use Extra Cash Toward Your Student Loans

Birthday cash, inheritance, and other unexpected cash is another great way to put extra money toward your loan. Since you didn’t expect it, you won’t even feel the pain when it leaves your bank and goes to your loan repayment.

4. Get a Side Gig to Repay Your Loan

You’re just starting a new job, but getting a second job might be what it takes to start paying down those student loans. Many side gigs are very flexible and won’t interfere with your primary job. You might consider being an Uber or Lyft driver, delivering groceries for a local store or even becoming a dog walker.

Learn More About Getting the Education You Need

Now that you know the answer to “When do you have to start paying back student loans?”, why stop learning there? We have many helpful articles that will allow you to make the best plan for your education.

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