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The last thing any busy, hard-working nurse wants to think about is how to pay off student loan debt from nursing school. Unfortunately, you can’t wish it away no matter how hard you try. (Trust me, I’ve tried!)
Nursing school student loan debt will remain right where it is until you get aggressive and attack it. Don’t be the sucker who spends their entire life paying off student loans. They will NEVER go away if you don’t make them, even if you file for bankruptcy.
After I became a mother I realized that I needed to get smarter about where my hard-earned money was going. My nursing school debt needed to go. Years of making the minimum payment just wasn’t going to cut it anymore.
Motherhood also taught me something very valuable: being debt free AND having money in my bank account was way more important than spending money on stuff I didn’t need.
So I did everything I could think of to motivate myself to get rid of the almost $30,000 in student loan debt that I had. I began by listening to financial podcasts specifically focused on paying off debt. Then I took everything I had learned from those podcasts and formed my own simple yet aggressive payment plan.
My plan was easy to follow, yet aggressive: don’t spend any money on anything that is not an actual need. At that time, my true needs included grocery shopping, housing, pet food, and childcare. That’s it!
It took me close to a year to pay off almost $30,000 in debt from nursing school. I became debt free on November 1st 2016 and my savings has been steadily growing ever since!
There is no such thing as good debt. I don’t care if there is a 0% interest rate. Debt is debt. It is still a black cloud handing over your head that never goes away unless you force it to.
Take a look at your budget and be honest about what you actually need. You need clothes to wear, and I bet you probably already have plenty hanging in your closet. You may still want to shop for more clothes – but that is where the budget cut starts. If there is something you absolutely think you need, give yourself a week to think it over. You may forget you even thought you wanted it in the first place.
An easy way to start cutting your budget is to cook all of your meals at home and packing a lunch for work. You also may want to wait until you completely pay your loans off before planning any vacations.
Tip: Want to know a trick to how to pay off nursing school loans fast? Plan to give yourself a gift you really want after your payoff is complete!
In order to pay off your student loan debt fast you have to get aggressive. This means that you need to contribute the maximum possible amount that you can towards your nursing school loan debt.
Pick a date that you want to be completely debt free and figure out how much you need to pay each month to make that happen. You know what they say, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” Put your plan in writing and place a copy in several places – on the fridge, on your desk or in your wallet. Keep it close to you so you are constantly reminded of your payoff goals.
I listened to financial podcasts and read a ton of books to motivate myself during my student loan payoff. Some of the podcasts I listened to included The Money Guys, Stacking Benjamin’s and Dave Ramsey.
What will financially motivate you? Whatever it is, make sure you think about it everyday.
Work no less than 3 shifts a week, but try to work much more if you can. Overtime is golden if you are able to make time and-a-half or better yet, double time. It will be hard and you will be tired, but becoming debt free will make it all worthwhile.
Take a look at the things you can reasonably live without. Brand new clothes and expensive restaurant meals are not necessities. Try going for a run, instead of spending money on a gym. Learn to cook if you are used to ordering take-out. Make your coffee at home instead of getting your daily brew at Starbucks. Making a few sacrifices along your debt-free journey will help speed up your payoff time.
You may even surprise yourself. In some ways buying less stuff can make your life easier because you don’t have as many things cluttering your home.
Continue with the same motivation that you had during your payoff and keep saving for the future. Let your savings gap grow bigger each month. Lastly, vow not buy unnecessary stuff you don’t actually need that will probably end up in a dump in 5 years anyway.
Are you in the process of paying off your student loans? Do you have alternative advice regarding how to pay off nursing school loans fast? We always enjoy hearing from our readers. Share your tips with other readers.
Sarah Jividen is a registered nurse, blogger, writer, wife, and mother with an aspiration to empower nurses and moms to take better care of themselves. Sarah lives with her husband in a beach suburb outside of Los Angeles where they are raising their two-year-old daughter, newborn son and two rescue kitties. In a rare moment of free time you may find Sarah practicing yoga, socializing with friends, sampling dark beers or attending a local concert venue with her husband.