Flickr user Ken Wilcox

You may not be able to pay off your entire student loan while you are still in college, but if you start now you will be able to reduce your debt considerably by the time you graduate. That is incentive enough to make a few sacrifices and start paying off your student loans earlier rather than later. While you are still in college is a good time to start.

These 3 tips will help you.

1. Start Saving

It may seem like what you are able to save is a drop in the ocean and will hardly make a difference to your overall debt, but you will be surprised. When it comes to paying back student loans every little bit counts, and over a period of four years it can lower your debt substantially.

Food is one of the biggest expenses while you are away from home. Simply cooking at least a few meals yourself instead of eating out all the time will help you save a lot. And it’s healthier too.

Is every weekend party and pizza or movie and popcorn time? Cutting it down to once a week can make quite a difference to your savings. Also, take advantage of student discounts, or campus-hosted events—they are usually far cheaper.

Cut back on those shopping trips too and definitely resist any impulse-buys. Most of us end up never using the things we buy on impulse anyway.

While you are in college buy only what you need not what you want. Just doing this will save you more than you would believe possible.

2. Take Up A Campus Job

Can you take up a part-time job without compromising your course-work? If you can, you should consider it. Simply putting that income towards your loan payment every month will make a huge difference.

Working while in college also gives you other benefits that are so worth it. Not only will you grow and develop from the experience but it will also give you a tremendous advantage when you are looking for a job after you graduate. It’s always easier to find employment if you have some work experience and in most cases you will start off with a higher salary too.

3. Offer Your Services During The Breaks

Use your vacation as an opportunity to make some money that you can put towards paying back your loan. Before heading home during school break, put out the word to family and friends that you would like to offer your services during that time. Give details of your availability and the services you would like to offer. Some ideas of short-term services include tutoring, babysitting, pet walking, yard work, freelance writing, etc.

Another option is to look for short-term, part-time job openings. These may be a little more difficult to find as you will need to look for something that falls within your break time but it does not hurt to look. You may just get lucky.

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