When looking at your student loan debt, it can seem insurmountable; however, there are ways to chip away at your debt and make student loan repayment more than just a fantasy. While saving a few dollars here and there may not seem like a lot, it starts to add up and snowball. The snowball effect builds upon making small decisions that build upon each other and grow with each little decision to create a larger effect or a snowball.
The average college student graduates with about $30,000 in student loan debt. Let’s say you have a 6.8 percent interest rate and a 10-year student loan repayment period; then your monthly payment would be about $345 a month. Here are five ways to save a couple extra hundred dollars a month and create your own snowball effect.
The average college student graduates with about $30,000 in student loan debt.
- Coffee: On average, Americans spend $2.70 per cup of coffee, according to U.S. News & World Report. If you get a cup of coffee every day before work, that comes to $13.50 a week, or $54 a month. In contrast, if you make coffee at home, it costs about 18 cents per cup (not counting the machine), so you spend less than a dollar per week and only $3.60 per month on coffee.
NET SAVINGS: $50.40
- Gym Membership: A USA Today report found that the average gym membership costs about $60 per month and that 67 percent of those memberships go unused! With so many fitness videos available on YouTube and daily workout streaming services available for a fraction of the price (Daily Burn costs $13 a month), you may want to rethink your gym membership. Also, don’t forget the great outdoors is free!
NET SAVINGS: $110.40
- Happy Hour: Depending on where you live, happy hour drinks can cost a couple of bucks, but let’s use an average of $5 per drink in this scenario. If you go out once a week for happy hour and enjoy two drinks, that’s $40 a month you could save. Even going every other week or just getting one drink would still save you $20 a month.
NET SAVINGS: $150.40
- Eating Out: A 2016 Forbes report found that Millennials spend $2,921 annually eating out, which means if you go out once a week, that’s about $56 per meal. Eliminating eating out altogether would get you pretty close to your student loan repayment amount ($224 per month saved), but even just eliminating two meals out will save you $112 per month.
NET SAVINGS: $262.40
- Going to the Movies: In 2015, the average price of a movie ticket was $8.42. When you add in popcorn and a drink, you’re probably spending $15 for the outing. If you go out once or twice a month to the movies or some other equivalent activity, even cutting back to one trip would get you close to your goal.
NET SAVINGS: $277.40
There you go! You’ve saved up more than two-thirds of your monthly student loan repayment. At first, this may seem like a list of things you’re giving up, but think about everything you’ll gain as you pay off your student loan debt.Making a few of these changes can help you pay down your student debt faster (the snowball effect). Check out our resources and join the Club to learn more!