University students in Singapore often find themselves at a loss when it comes to how they will repay their university student loans once they graduate. Considering how low the starting salaries are in some industries (with COVID-19 worsening the current situation as well), it will indeed be difficult to pay off the loans fast enough to prevent interest from building up. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can try to pay off your student loans as soon as possible:
Invest your savings
As you save up from your internship or part-time jobs, you can invest your money wisely into low risk instruments, such as Robo Advisors or Blue Chip stocks. As with all investments, you have to consider the risks of the investment that you will be taking and how much risk you are willing to handle.
If you are planning to pay a higher monthly repayment, you can use some of the money you have for hobbies and savings, then use the remaining to pay off your student loan. While this may lead to you not having some shopping money or savings in the meantime, you can enjoy once your loan is fully paid for.
Making Lump Sum Payments
There are student loans that will allow you to make additional payments without worrying about penalties. If you manage to save up from your side hustle or get a bonus from your work, you can make lump sum payments to reduce your principal amount, thereby reducing the amounts of interest that you have to pay.
Keeping Track Of Your Loans
Even though loan packages have rather flexible repayment plans for students, it should always be your main priority to repay them as soon as possible. Always prioritise your loan repayments from your other expenses that you do not need to pay for immediately, such as going for a holiday trip or a concert. Once you completely pay off your education loan, you will be able to focus on other financial liabilities and get another step closer to having financial freedom.
Planning Out Your Starting Salary
For any repayment, you will need to figure out how much you are able to repay per month. After deducting your CPF contributions of 20% of your wages (assuming most fresh graduates belong to the 20% bracket), you will only have 80% of your salary left.
Once you are aware of the full take home pay amount, you can divide them through the 50-30-20 rule, with 50% being your needs, 30% to your investments or private spendings, and the remaining 20% as savings.
When you have sorted those points above, you can then compute the amount that you are able to comfortably pay for your student loans by deducting your monthly expenses from the amount that you have saved for your needs.
Use A Financial Tracking App
There are many different amazing financial tracking applications available for both iOS and Android phones that are designed to help you categorise all your financial activities.
Make it a point to always review and record your spendings on a weekly (or daily) basis to track your expenses and see what you can afford to avoid to help you save up for your loan repayment.
Giving Part-Time Home Tuition
As undergraduates or fresh undergraduates, our knowledge in preparation and the techniques of examinations are still fresh in our minds. This is when you can fetch a price with the knowledge that you have built over the years. It is rather easy for you to begin giving part-time tuition in Singapore, with hourly rates going as high as $100/h, depending on the level that you are capable of teaching.
If you are looking for a side hustle to build up your savings while studying in university, giving part-time tuition is your best bet. Not only is the barrier to entry low, the demand for tuition will always be there.
Repaying your student loans won’t be challenge if you manage to plan ahead before you graduate. With these steps above, it will hopefully help to drive you towards financial freedom. There will definitely be sacrifices made along the way, but it will be worth it once you have fully repaid your university loans before graduation.