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How to Pay Off Your Student Loans While Searching For a Job

Whether you're in-between jobs, traveling, or still searching for the perfect career opportunity, continuing to make on-time student loan payments can seem like a burden. Thankfully there are many options available to help you manage your payments while you're not getting a paycheck.

BUILD A BUDGET (AND STICK TO IT!)

One of the most important factors of being a financially responsible adult is being able to budget your money effectively. If you're unemployed, the days of $7 coffee shop trips and $40 movie nights may need to shift aside and be replaced with less expensive alternatives.

Your budget while unemployed will be completely different than your employed budget - so immediately when you become unemployed, take the time to sit down and determine what spending items you can drop. Instead of Hulu and Netflix, pick one. Or get rid of both, and get a library card. Can you go without your gym membership (instead, taking up running or at-home workouts?) Go item-by-item and weigh the pros and cons. Even if the cost of an item seems small, it will add up in the long run.

Further reading: 3 Ways to Budget While Paying Off Your Student Loans

UTLIZE YOUR SAVINGS (THAT'S WHY THEY'RE THERE!)

If you've been financially responsible up until now, chances are you have some savings tucked away for emergencies. If you find yourself needing to pull from your savings while you're unemployed, that's ok. Just make sure to continue budgeting and keep your spending low. If you don't believe you'll have enough savings to cover you, start looking for employment opportunities or side hustles (more on that below!)

Further reading: 5 Habits of Financially Successful People

DISCOVER YOUR SIDE HUSTLE

While you're in between jobs, you might want to discover opportunities for fast cash. With a side hustle, you can typically make money on your own schedule.

Driving for a ride-share service such as Uber or Lyft can put money in your pocket - but don't forget about the cost of gas in your area, and the maintenance required on your car.

Have extra clothing laying around? Poshmark and ThredUp will turn your old clothing into cash - with prepaid shipping labels and direct deposit options.

Do odd jobs for others (like wall-painting, language lessons, or even standing in line) with TaskRabbit or Thumbtack.

FEDERAL LOANS: CONSIDER DEFERMENT OR FORBEARANCE

If your student loans are federal student loans, some circumstances allow for you to receive deferment or forbearance - where you can stop making your loan payments or reduce the monthly payment amount.

The first step to obtaining a deferment or forbearance is to contact your student loan servicer. They'll work with you to fill out the application and get started.

Deferment and forbearance are two different programs, and you'll need to determine which to apply for. To understand the differences between them, check out this article over at Student Loan Hero.

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