Getting a college education is quite the experience and opportunity. However a college is an expensive proposition and for most of us mere mortals it means taking out quite hefty student loans. Many college graduates get good jobs straight out of college, but six months after graduation the grace period is over, and interest payments along with loan repayments become obligatory. Most smart college graduates put off extra expenditures in order to repay student loans as fast as possible. So when living frugally, how can one dream of giving into wanderlust? Well it may come as surprise but it is possible to live your travelling dream while still repaying your student loans. Let us discuss some tips on how to travel with student loans.
- Look your loan right in the eye
That’s right look them right in the eye and see them for what they are. They are a loan, which entails monthly payments just like an electricity bill. They may be huge and may take time to be completely paid off, but they have to be paid month by month. So just worry about the monthly payments. Leave all your regrets like not choosing a cheaper college or not trying to lower student loan while studying etc.
Do not let the lump sum figure of the student loan cripple you. Overcome your fear of it and accept it. Once you accept it and drop your regrets and fear you will notice yourself finding ways to overcome the loan figure.
Once you have realized that it is monthly bill, you need to start budgeting. For example, if your monthly payments come to USD 600 then you have to plan out your income and what savings do you have available. Before travelling, ensure that you have enough savings to cover several months on student loan payments. This is because you may plan to work while travelling but such jobs often do not pay enough or you might go through the unemployment stint longer than you expected.
- Take on extra jobs
Travelling is expensive no doubt about it. But anything worth doing is never easy. Saving is great but saving a sufficient amount takes quite a lot of time. So you should consider taking on side jobs to supplement your income. One good way would be considering freelancing, especially if you have some marketable skills.
So if you are a good photographer or even a writer or you know how to build websites, then start doing that as a freelancer alongside your day job. And the money you get from your side gigs, put it all towards your travel plans.
- Keep an eye out for credit card points
Many credit cards give you a lot of points when you sign up and then spend a certain amount within the first three months. And there are times when banks give excellent promotion offers like doubling up the sign-up bonus.
These points can easily get you a free round trip airline ticket in the best case possible.
- Cut down unnecessary expenditure
Living frugally is the vaguest advice one can give. What you should do is spend on the essential but cut back on the unnecessary items. Let me give you an example.
Spend on healthy foods and meaningful activities. So do pay your gym fees (don’t splurge on unnecessary expensive designer gyms) and buy lots of veggies, fruits, nuts and healthy meats.
What you should restrict is dining out. Dining out is expensive ,and more so when you tend to choose healthy options, tends to be expensive. Make a habit of cooking your own meals. Also cut back on the drinking. Drinking in pubs tends to be expensive and not very good for your health.
Do not go for shopping until you need to. And even when you do, make a list beforehand and stick to it so you do not impulse shopping.
These small habits over time lead to good savings. Plus they help you stay disciplined and fit.