Student loans are hard to avoid if you want to get an education. But they also can hold you back for years by putting a strain on your finances. In fact, in 2018 more than 44 million Americans are burdened with student loan debt.

While earning a college degree is a great achievement, knowing you’ll be faced with thousands in student loans after you leave school makes it hard to get too excited. After all, if you don’t get serious in paying off your student loan debt right after college, it can significantly impact your financial well-being.

Managing student loans

Do you find yourself struggling to pay off your student loans? Here are some of the do’s and don’ts you should consider in managing your student loan debt.

1. Do prioritize paying your student loan balance.

Once you graduate from college, begin looking for a job as quickly as possible. When you get a job, don’t be tempted to splurge on unnecessary items. Focus on paying off your student loan debt. Also, when it comes to your debt, don’t just settle on paying the minimum amount.  If you can pay more each month or make extra payments, then do so. You might need to sacrifice and do a lot of budgeting now, but you will absolutely thank yourself later.

2. Do understand the terms involved in your student loan.

Be sure that you fully understand the terms associated with your student loans. This can help you with your debt management. Take time to research unfamiliar jargon or technical terms. Arming yourself with sufficient knowledge can help you avoid trouble later on.

3. Do have a payment strategy.

Develop a plan to make it easier for you to pay off your student loans. Research payment options and find the best strategy that will work for you. Having a solid plan is crucial so you can determine your best course of action – and keep you motivated as you move towards your goal of freedom from student loans.

4. Don’t neglect checking your loan information and credit report.

Spend time checking your loan status on your credit report to make sure there are no discrepancies or errors on record. If you do spot erroneous information regarding a missed payment or other inaccurate information, dispute them with the responsible parties as soon as possible.