Paying Off Student Loans
“Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.
Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law” (New Living Translation, Romans 13:7-8).
I’m sure most of you scholarly women wish you could’ve graduated debt free. To those who have, congratulations! Unfortunately, though, the reality is that many women are haunted by their current school loan payments or the thought of having school loan payments in the future. For those who haven’t entered into a loan yet—DON’T, or try your hardest not to. There are ways around it. But in this article I would like to offer some tips for women who have already taken up a school loan.
Whether you’ve taken out a large amount of money to attend university or a small amount to attend a state college, this fact still remains—you’re in debt. But don’t get discouraged just yet. God would rather have us not be in debt, and that is seen in the scripture above. However, if we are in debt, our Creator wants us to be good stewards of that money and repay the amount faithfully and as quickly as possible. So here are a few suggestions for paying off your school loans as quickly as possible while maintaining dignity and integrity. Also, feel free to start NOW. Don’t think you have to wait until “6 months after graduation” to begin your journey towards a debt free life.
You may be thinking, “Ew, a budget? Only old people do that.” However, budgeting is a great habit to start getting into as early and as young as possible. What better motivation than paying off school loans?
To put it simply, budgeting is simply being in control of where your money is going. It’s having a plan each pay period for how much money gets put towards different categories. This is crucial for paying off student loans because you are intentionally setting aside a fixed amount every paycheck to pay off your debt. Without an organized plan, it is very easy to let your money “go with the flow.” If you go out a lot one week, then that’s where your money will go. If you go shopping a lot another week, then that’s where you’re money will go. With a disciplined budget, though, you are proactively deciding what you will spend and save.
For example, each paycheck can be divided up into separate categories all adding up to 100%. Each budget is different, so feel free to customize it according to your lifestyle! However, if you plan to pay off your student loans as quick as possible, it might be a good idea to dedicate more money towards this area of your budget.
P.S. A great way to keep track of your budgeting every pay period, is with a budgeting app called EveryDollar!
2) Minimize Spending
In the season of life where you are working on paying off your school loans, it’s a good idea to become a financial minimalist. Only spend money when you absolutely need it. Sacrificing extra spending for a period of time will help devote more of your money to paying off your debt much quicker.
I’m pretty sure you could do without that super cute shirt you’ve been wanting. And I’m almost positive that making lunch at home vs. going out for a meal won’t kill you either. This is the kind of mentality you want when you’re saving and paying off debt. Cut costs where you can and realize that long term benefits far outweigh short-term gain. It’s not wrong to go out with friends or treat your loved one out for a special date, but be intentional about it. Save up for it, and like we mentioned earlier, set aside a specific amount of money you can spend per pay period for leisure activities.
3) Don’t Lose Sight of Your True Source
“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (NLT, Philippians 4:19)
With all the tips and tricks that are out there to help you pay off your loans, there is nothing more effective than realizing your number source for all provision is God. It is important to be a good steward of what He has given you and always be on guard of not allowing your organizational skills to become what gets the glory. It is only God who allows you to handle well what is truly His. This is why it is so important to honor God with your finances by tithing off of your income (which is a whole other discussion).
In all this, remember that our main goal is not only to live debt free, but to a live life that points back to God in our faithfulness, stewardship, obedience, and love. This is true for more areas of your life than just one.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.