In 2018, there were somewhere around 44.5 million student loan borrowers in the United States and collectively they owed $1.5 trillion in March of that year.

After graduating, most people make it their top priority to pay off their loans.

However, what people don’t realize is that life is known for throwing curveballs at us when we least expect it. And when this happens, we generally need to reevaluate our priorities. Occasionally, paying off your outstanding college debt can be passed over and end up at the rock bottom of people’s to-do lists. Just know that Ignoring your debts is virtually the single-most worst thing you can do to yourself financially. Interest rates that may have once been affordable expenses have now somehow snowballed into a terrifyingly haunting sum. So what is the best way to go about paying back your student loans in a manageable way?

5 Simple Tips To Quickly Pay Back Your Student Loans

1. Pay More Than You Owe Each Month

One of the best things you can do when looking at a large debt to pay off is to pay more than the required monthly minimum. This is by far the easiest way to lower the total amount of time you will be paying the loan back and by doing this, you will accumulate less interest. The more you can afford to put towards your loan each month the better. Because the faster you pay it back, means fewer payments and less time for interest to pile up. It may not be a viable option for your situation, but if you can swing it, this tip is a MUST DO.

2. Never Skip a Payment

You don’t need me to tell you that sometimes, life just happens. If you can’t afford to make your payments on time, the last thing you’re going to want to do is to skip them. A better idea would have you contact your lender and talk with them asap to discuss your options. Typically a lender will work with you and potentially allow you to lower your monthly payment for a while.

Dealing with federal student loans with specific circumstances, you can receive a forbearance or deferment. What this means is it allows you to temporarily stop making your payments in order to lower your loan payments. This will help you to prevent defaulting on your loan.

3. Structure Your Budget

It’s time to crunch the numbers and consider your spending habits, cutting them down where possible. Review your statements to figure out where you are spending the most and if there are any adjustments you can make to lower those numbers. For example, if you’re stopping at Mcdonald’s every morning on your way to work for coffee and a sandwich, by the end of the month, you’re looking at a fair amount of money spent. Things like this add up but with just a few adjustments, you’d be surprised with how much you can start saving up. It may be worthwhile for you to consider earning some extra income on the side. You can look online for current work-from-home jobs that are hiring, and they are a simple way to help increase your monthly income.

Frequent reviews of your money can show you exactly how much you are saving every day, week, or month and before you know it, you have enough banked up to make that extra payment on your loans.

4. Have an Emergency Fund

The biggest problem with unexpected problems is the fact that they are unexpected. Nothing can throw a wrench into the gears of all your careful planning and budgeting like an unforeseen issue. For example, having unexpected car trouble or being in an accident. Emergency funds put a little bit of safety and peace of mind between you and the unpredicted events that life likes to toss at us on occasion. Having these funds already a part of your budget will make it possible to keep up with your payments regardless of what comes up. This is why it’s my recommendation that you start an emergency fund as soon as you can.

5. Look Into Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

With a quick online search, you can find a bunch of federal student loan forgiveness programs as well as some state options that can help. To receive this type of assistance, you need to meet incredibly specific criteria. There are Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness programs and the eligibility for them is based on your types of employment. It’s worth pointing out that private student loans can’t be forgiven, but federal student loans can. If you fail to meet the requirements for student loan forgiveness, you can consider consolidating or refinancing your student loan at a lower rate or maybe even a longer term.